Meredith Music Festival organisers cracking down on trespassers

ORGANISERS of the Meredith Music Festival are cracking down on criminal behaviour in the lead-up to next weekend’s event.

A recent letter from Aunty Meredith to festival-goers outlined the ongoing problem of scammers, scalpers and trespassers.

As a result, the festival this year introduced the Aunty’s Waitlist service in a bid to prevent inflated tickets being sold by scammers through unauthorised means.

“We know how angry Meredith-goers get when they see thieves and scalpers trying to rob and scam people for tickets through sites like eBay and Gumtree (recently one of these scammers received a three-month jail sentence),” the letter reads.

Meredith organisers also emphasised the festival’s zero tolerance approach to trespassing, using the support of the local community, Victoria Police and other festival-goers.

This comes after 18 people appeared in court last month charged with trespass in relation to the festival.

“The maximum penalty is approximately $2750 or six months imprisonment. There are also other ramifications – I can tell you that some people who have been caught trespassing have begged not to be charged, as a criminal conviction would wipe out their employment prospects and in many cases means being removed from current employment,” the letter states.

“Attempting to get into the festival without a valid ticket is not a harmless bit of fun – it has serious consequences.”

Meredith is known for its deliberate capping on the amount of tickets sold every year in order to stop over-crowding and efficiently manage safety.

Western Victoria MP David O’Brien this week called for an investigation into possible legal actions against scalpers targeting the upcoming festival.

He said only sporting events such as the AFL grand final were protected from unscrupulous scalpers under the Victorian legislation.

“This is a great regional event and is consciously planned by the organisers to ensure a quality experience,” Mr O’Brien said.

“New South Wales have proposed laws to combat music event scalping and I would like to see these examined in Victoria.”

dellaram.vreeland@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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