Splendour in the Grass 2015.  Photo: Nolan Verheij-Full / Northern Star
Splendour in the Grass 2015. Photo: Nolan Verheij-Full / Northern Star Nolan Verheij-Full

Splendour internship questioned over duration and commitment

CRITICISM about the upskilling component of an internship program run by Splendour in the Grass have surfaced online.

The internship runs for six months from February to August 2016, with a minimum of three days a week, and based in Byron Bay.

Professor Andrew Stewart from Adelaide University Law School told website BuzzFeed News the internship appears to contravene guidelines.

Mr Stewart was the co-author of the Experience or Exploitation? report for the Fair Work Ombudsman in July.

"Given its duration, the commitment expected, and the fact that it seems to require productive work that the organisation would otherwise need to pay someone to do, it certainly looks like employment, not work experience," he said.

"If the internship is formally linked to an education or training course, then it's OK for the work to be unpaid," he said.

"But I couldn't see any mention of that."

The role

The announcement by Splendour detailed that the successful applicant will need to have intermediate administrative skills "with key responsibilities and participation in the following areas of the business:

• Assisting festival and office staff in various duties before, during and after the festival

• An interest in social media with a good working knowledge and understanding of all social

media platforms

• General office admin tasks

• Oversee basic databases, collate guest and ticketing lists

• Meet and greet visitors at the front desk

• Assist staff within our various other companies - Falls Festival, Secret Sounds Touring, Village Sounds, Secret Sounds Connect."

The posting online also detailed that the successful candidate should possess "excellent attention to detail, a flexible availability of a minimum three days a week, excellent writing, spelling and grammar skills, proficient with Mac and Microsoft Office - Word, Excel, Powerpoint and email program, a keen interest in live music and a desire to pursue a career within the music industry, must be hardworking, dedicated with a 'can do' approach."

The intern will also need to live in or relocate to the Byron Bay region.

The role offers an unpaid internship within Splendour in the Grass, designed to give the applicant exposure to the music industry.

"The internship has been specifically designed with Fair Work Guidelines in mind," the document read.

"Aside from the experience you'll receive being part of a world class event such as Splendour in the Grass, you will also get to go along to other shows that our group may present.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for a highly motivated, enthusiastic, ambitious music lover, wanting

to gain valuable experience in this exciting industry with a view to becoming part of the team!"

Applications closed last Friday, December 4.

Splendour denies wrongdoing

A Splendour in the Grass management spokesperson emphasised that the internship offered by the festival complies with Fair Work guidelines.

"We would like to make it very clear that the internship offered complies with Fair Work Guidelines and strictly operates within these guidelines, and also under the watchful eye of our legal counsel, to ensure that good practice is adhered to," the spokesperson said. 

"Our current staffing levels meet the requirements of our business, therefore there is not a need for any additional employees at this time.

"However, we appreciate that there are many benefits attached to an internship or work experience program, so we have chosen to offer this opportunity, not to fill a paid role, nor to exploit an individual in any way, but to provide a valuable learning experience to somebody interested in working in the music industry. 

"The intern / work experience participant will garner skills that will first and foremost provide them with extensive learnings in the organisation of a large scale music festival, but will also provide them with exposure to other areas of the organisation that may ultimately become of interest to them in pursuing a career in the industry.

"They will learn other important general skills to help them in the workforce such as working within a team, time management, networking, people skills, values and business practices to name but a few.

"We can unequivocally state that in at least 90% of instances where internships have been offered across our various businesses, these interns have continued on with our organisation in paid roles, and we remain committed to their continued success and growth in our business.

"A number of other music and entertainment businesses, as well as many other industries, offer unpaid internships, so it is disappointing that Splendour is being singled out," the spokesperson said on behalf of Splendour in the Grass. 



'This incident caused great concern': Commission boss

'This incident caused great concern': Commission boss

Investigations continue into violent arrest of 16-year-old

Desperate, sick criminals fall through cracks

Desperate, sick criminals fall through cracks

Justice, health systems fail those who need support, says magistrate

Parents' guide to surviving NAPLAN exams

Parents' guide to surviving NAPLAN exams

Is your child sitting the exams? Here's what you need to know

Local Partners