Following a stabbing death last year, Sydney's Royal Easter Show has banned rap music from the event and increased safety measures to deter criminal youth groups.
Ride operators have been instructed not to play rap music and to turn the volume "right down" ahead of this year's event. Along with the music ban, organisers have provided extra lighting, widened aisles, and enforced a strict closing time of 9.30 pm for the carnival area. Metal detectors will also be used at the front gate and random bag searches will be conducted.
The decision was made as part of a joint safety effort by show organisers and the NSW Police, who will have up to 60 officers at the show each day. According to the general manager of the show, Murray Wilton, rap music was banned due to its psychological effects on behaviour.
"There will be no music played that is rapper music, or has swearing words through it, or has any offensive language," he said. "I don’t think it’s racist. We are determining the type of music and the type of genre that we do and do not want acceptable at the Easter Show."
In addition to the ban on rap music, 36 public safety orders have been issued by the NSW Police ahead of the event to ban potential risks to the public. Those who breach the order face up to five years in jail. Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith said that 30 orders have already been handed out, with six still to be issued. "We’ve made it very clear to youth gangs: you are not welcome," he said.
The decision to ban rap music comes after the stabbing death of Uati "Pele" Faletolu, 17, at the show last year. He was on a break from working on one of the carnival rides when a brawl broke out between two youth gangs. He died at the scene, and two 18-year-old men and a 14-year-old boy were charged over the alleged murder. Police believe the incident occurred between two rival youth gangs relating to the city’s postcode wars.
The ban on rap music has been met with criticism, with some arguing that it unfairly targets a specific genre of music and is discriminatory towards certain groups. However, show organisers maintain that the decision was made in the interest of public safety and to deter criminal youth groups from attending the event.