Do you worry about drug use at your events?

On the back of the awful news coming out of Mutiny Festival, how do members running @Festivals and music events deal with drug use? Should organisers be taking steps to improve safety by providing on-site drug testing, like Secret Garden Party does?

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Yes, I think it should be a standard practice for events especially festivals and concerts. However it can be quite a challenge. It can be gradually implemented by a more thorough search before accessing the venue space and proper briefs to the security team to be on the lookout for any. Also as a festival organizer make sure the dead/lonely areas around the site have a security presence. These are hot spot areas for drug users.

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I’ve seen sniffer dogs at festivals before, checking people out as they go in. Seems like a good idea, although I wonder if they can detect all dangerous substances or are just trained to detect cocaine/mdma etc? I think the main problem is drugs being sold that are not ‘traditional’ but are concoctions of all sorts of chemicals, hence testing might be the safer option?

From experience, i think its probably widespread but certain sectors/verticals are probably going to cross paths with drugs (and sex!) more often and not just the music sector or festivals. I’ve run conferences where while not sold or distributed during events (at least to my knowledge), speaker behaviours suggests there has been assistance. I’m not sure what the solution is …

Really? I guess that’s one way to deal with nerves. Have you ever said anything afterwards or just don’t book them again?

The drug test you’ve mentioned could be easily passed by every junky. They just buy synthetic urine, like this one

Hi Mark, synthetic urine - interesting! We were actually talking about testing the drugs themselves to check they’re safe. It’s becoming an accepted strategy for minimising drug-related casualties at festivals. I think it’s a great idea.