The rampant drug use at Defqon.1 Festival in Sydney this year left two dead, three in critical condition, several more hospitalized, and 700 others who sought medical assistance on site.
The event has been plagued with overdoses for years, but the numbers from this year’s installment were truly staggering. The NSW Government and Premier Gladys Berejiklian have since been doing everything in their power to shut down the controversial hardstyle festival for good.
Meanwhile, a group of 60 Australian musicians, festivals, industry figures, and health personnel got together and wrote up a proposal to start an “open dialogue” instead of shutting down such events. Offering experience, skills and research, the open letter called for further discussion.
On top of it all, a father who lost his son during Defqon.1 three years ago spoke on the matter. “Don’t stop the festival,” he said. “This is normal for kids to get together. Get rid of the dealers. When these guys commit several murders, it’s mass murder. They should get life.”
Relocate to Canberra?
In midst of the debate, ACT Greens member Shane Rattenbury has come forward, offering to bring the embattled festival to Canberra. It’s there the politician says Defqon.1 Festival could work to “minimize drug harm for festival patrons” through testing.
The letter addressed to festival organizers Q-Dance asks them to consider a new home for the festival in the nation’s capital.
“As you are undoubtedly aware, the ACT hosted Australia’s first pill testing trial at the Groovin the Moo festival in April,” he writes. “This marked a significant step forward in drug law reform efforts to minimize harm for recreational drug use.”
“We hope that you are encouraged by the success of Canberra’s initial trial, and we look forward to working with you in bringing Defcon.1 to the ACT.”
Q-Dance has yet to respond to Rattenbury’s letter.