Sydney’s Defqon.1 faces shut-down calls after two dead, 13 hospitalised: “I don’t want to see this event happen again”
Western Sydney’s Defqon.1 festival is facing the heat after two patrons died, and three remain on the critical list.
13 attendees were hospitalised for suspected drug overdoses, and 700 needed medical attention on the weekend.
NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has vowed to shut down the festival altogether.
The Sydney International Regatta Centre, the EDM festival’s home since 2010, will no longer host the dance party.
A total of 30,000 people came out to see a bill that included TNT, The Defqon.1 Legends, Sub Zero Project, Da Tweekaz, Coone, Headhunterz and The Endshow.
Police said that a 23-year-old man and 21-year-old woman who collapsed at the site on Saturday night died in Nepean Hospital.
A 26-year-old woman, a 19-year-old man and a second man are in intensive care in, respectively, Nepean, Westmead and Liverpool hospitals.
Defqon.1 promoters released a statement yesterday:
“The organisers of Defqon.1 Australia are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of two of their patrons at Nepean Hospital after attending the festival last night and would like to convey their sincerest condolences to their families and friends.
“Thoughts and prayers are also with the young man and woman who are still in a critical condition.
“We are disappointed at the number of reported drug-related incidents, we have a zero-tolerance policy in relation to drug use at the festival.”
The policy was emphasised on the festival website, with the warning that those who infringed it would be handed over to the police.
Premier Berejiklian said yesterday morning, “We will do everything we can to shut this down, I don’t want to see this event happen again.
“I’m absolutely aghast at what’s occurred. I don’t want any family to go through the tragedy that some families are waking up to this morning, it’s just horrible to think about.”
She restated the NSW government’s stance against pill testing at festivals even though its advocates have argued they may have saved the two lives.
Berejiklian commented, “Anyone who advocates pill-testing is giving the green light to drugs.
“There is no such thing as a safe drug and unfortunately when young people think there is, it has tragic consequences.”
NSW Greens politician David Shoebridge has voiced his disappointment at the state government’s stance against pill testing:
Tragic news that 2 people lost their lives last night at Defqon.1 – repeated failures of the aggressive police drug dog presence at festivals and nothing changes – pill testing and amnesty bins now https://t.co/DSP8v1xUYV
— David Shoebridge (@ShoebridgeMLC) 16 September 2018
Out of 355 drug searches conducted, police reported that 69 patrons were found with drugs. Ten were charged with supplying.
One allegedly had 300 pills in their possession, and two 17-year old females brought in 120 capsules “internally”.
NSW police had 20 officers at the site. A new strike force, called Highworth, has been set up to investigate the two deaths.
The department of health is today investigating if the same drug caused the two deaths.
A 26-year-old man, Nigel Pauljevic, died at Defqon. 1 in 2015.