Drugs are becoming an increasing problem at music festivals.
Drugs are becoming an increasing problem at music festivals.

Big thing festival whingers are missing

OPINION

From the number of overdoses and arrests at events across NSW this festival season, it's clear festival-goers are determined to continue to take drugs to live music events.

Five people have died of suspected drug overdoses at music festivals since September. Hundreds more have been charged or arrested for possession or dealing.

Music festivals have become crime scenes for the self-indulgent who can't seem to accept that drug-induced deaths at live events have become an epidemic.

 

Thousands gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park for the Don’t Kill Live Music rally to protest the NSW Government’s live music regulations.
Thousands gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park for the Don’t Kill Live Music rally to protest the NSW Government’s live music regulations.

More and more frequently, vocal activists are protesting what they see as the massive disservice the NSW Government is doing to the live music industry so many people not only love but rely on as a means to make a living.

But this whinge-fest ignores the real issue - the drug users who aren't willing to give up the thrill for the sake of the music industry.

The government isn't killing festivals and live music, drug use is.

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The state government has been slammed for waging war on music festivals, but it would be irresponsible if it turned a blind eye to what was happening inside them.

 

Signs warning revellers of the police presence at the Secret Garden music festival. Picture: David Swift
Signs warning revellers of the police presence at the Secret Garden music festival. Picture: David Swift

It's the drug users who need change, not the regulations.

You have to wonder what exactly festival-goers are doing to make a bad situation good. They aren't showing any signs of giving up on taking drugs to festivals. It's almost as if events have become the safest place to play pill roulette with hundreds of ambulance attendants on standby.

But with thousands of ardent punters supporting the Don't Kill Live Music cause, the NSW Government introducing flawed licensing schemes and festival organisers caught in the crossfire, the real victims - artists - are being forgotten.

 

A woman seen in handcuffs outside the Ultra Australia festival. Picture: Damian Shaw
A woman seen in handcuffs outside the Ultra Australia festival. Picture: Damian Shaw

Having attended a number of festivals, exposure to drugs is inevitable. The stuff is everywhere. It's easy to spot who's on and who's not.

Not only is this confronting and distracting, but when you see people being arrested or carted off on a stretcher it takes away from the main spectacle - the bands.

With police fiercely descending on festivals, it's a wonder why people still take the risk.

Which is why the argument that's fronting the fight is growing more and more frustrating. Lay off the government because there is no way it will ever allow drug use.

 

A man as he is detained by police outside the main entrance to the Ultra Australia festival. Picture: Damian Shaw
A man as he is detained by police outside the main entrance to the Ultra Australia festival. Picture: Damian Shaw

If festival drug users are so willing to storm Sydney's Hyde Park professing their love for live music, why aren't they showing any willingness to stop taking pills to festivals?

It's not the bands they're fighting for.

 

 

Police were checking cars and people at the Secret Garden music festival for drugs. Picture: David Swift.
Police were checking cars and people at the Secret Garden music festival for drugs. Picture: David Swift.

Fighting the rules that led to the naming and shaming of "high risk" festivals without consultation is a worthy cause.

But how many people protesting were only making an appearance to fight for their right to take drugs?

 

Protesters hold signs during the Don’t Kill Live Music Rally in Sydney last month.
Protesters hold signs during the Don’t Kill Live Music Rally in Sydney last month.

 

The music drug users are so passionate about saving is under siege by nobody but themselves. Saving live music isn't what these people care about - it's saving their ability to take drugs. And right now it's overwhelming the right for artists and bands to make a living.


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