Smokers welcome at the Laneway Festival, brought to you by Quit Victoria?!

Here’s a tip – if you’re the organiser of a (nominally) smoke free event sponsored by Quit Victoria, it’s probably best not to smoke on the night. Oh, and your staff should probably be trained to be able to give people prompt first aid assistance when required.

The Age ran a story today about disgruntled patrons complaining about the lack of organisation of Melbourne’s Laneway Festival. But I’m surprised it didn’t pick up the smoking angle.  One unhappy punter, jametheil-bane,  posted to the Melbourne Maniacs online community today,  saying that he (I’m assuming gender here) had an asthma attack because so many people were smoking in full sight of security guards.  Worse, he was stuffed around by event staff when trying to find first aid. You can see jametheil-bane’s post about the event here.

The post is a copy of the letter of complaint sent to the Festival organisers and includes the following little gem:

The guard came back and told us that he couldn’t ask the third gentleman to put his cigarette out as the third gentleman was one of the event organizers. Lighting up at a non-smoking event, not 5 metres away from the first aid tent.

Assuming this is true, I’m sure Quit Victoria will be thrilled to hear that.

Update: Ugh, I just had another look at the Laneway website, which proudly proclaims “Leave your lighter at home for Australia’s first smokefree music festival. I think every nonsmoker who attended should ask for their $99 back.

Update 2: The Enthusiast published a detailed story about all the other organisational stuffups patrons experienced at the Laneway Festival including queues and overcrowding. Apparently there’s a petition and a Facebook group for disgruntled patrons to demand a refund. Thanks Angus!

Update 3: Thanks Jason for the link to this awesome Tunebinder photo showing the horrendous queue waiting to see the headline act, Girl Talk. You can read the Tunebinder story here.


  1. Angus Said,

    February 2, 2009 @ 4:42 pm

    Sounds like a complete balls-up all round! See also:

  2. Jason Said,

    February 2, 2009 @ 5:07 pm

    I think the smoking issues were the last thing the organisers were worried about. Nice photo of the line for Girl Talk at

  3. sarah Said,

    February 2, 2009 @ 5:17 pm

    Oouch, awesome photo.
    Even apart from the smoking issue itself, the health and safety stuff is fairly serious. One volunteer said they received no training at all

    It’s just not on for festival organisers to leave punters high and dry on things like access to first aid. But yeah, I take your point that crowd control is important.

  4. Fiona Said,

    February 4, 2009 @ 11:44 am

    I walked past the event, not immediately realising what it was… interesting to be able to be that close to the stages and hear the music without actually being inside. I could have gotten in at the smaller ones I’m sure if I’d tried.

  5. chris in nola Said,

    February 10, 2009 @ 2:50 pm

    I hate militant nonsmokers. Stay home if you don’t like smoke.

  6. sarah Said,

    February 10, 2009 @ 3:05 pm

    Many nonsmokers do stay home to avoid smoke. In this case, the Laneway Festival can’t fall back on the ‘stay home’ argument since they deliberately advertised to attract non-smokers.