Festival booze: Australia’s most expensive drug
On a simple buzz-for-bucks basis, booze on sale at the wildly popular Summafieldayze festival is the most expensive drug on the Australian market.
Single cans of mid-strength Smirnoff vodka and lemonade were going for the ridiculous sum of $10.50; a captive market of 30,000 punters (each shelling out $140 for a ticket) was caught in the net.
For the cost of three or four festival drinks and a couple of phone calls, any half-connected ticketholder could instead score himself a measure of illicit drugs sure to get them far closer to “the happy place” place than a few pre-mixed cans ever could.
This situation puts a new duty of care on festival licensees. Their loyal patrons deserve more than the responsible service of alcohol, they deserve the responsible pricing of alcohol.
Queensland’s Summafieldayze is known interstate as Summadayze or Field Day, all essentially the same annual roadshow co-promoted around the country by Future Entertainment and Fuzzy, with Cross Promotions pitching in to stage the Gold Coast leg.
The simple fact that vodkas are $10.50 and beers are eight bucks a pop is evidence of pretty serious price gouging, particularly as Smirnoff and beermaker Pure Blonde are top-tier sponsors of the event and competing brands are shut out.
But that’s all a side issue. The real double-edged Catch-22 lies at the point where a $10.50 drink overlaps with Australia’s head vs. brick wall drug policy and the music festival demographic.
The cops are hip enough to know that a big portion of the crowd at outdoor parties such as Summafieldayze are either off their heads or intending to get that way.
That’s why police go to the trouble of deploying drug sniffer dogs at these events and patrol the grounds with their eyes peeled for awkward, lingering handshakes.
Summafieldazye is an outdoor dance party advertised online and in the street press to kids, not on the back cover of the Robb Report to fat cats.
Put $10.50 on a drink and you’ve got a perfect storm of cash-poor young punters looking for a good time, legal booze at ridiculously “uncompetitive” prices and illicit options offering more fun for less money… and possibly a fine or criminal record.
The authorities want kids off drugs while allowing the legal alternative to be sold at much higher prices. Clearly there’s a big incompatibility here between the sweetness of the carrot and the sharpness of the stick.
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