Led by promoters from Splendour In The Grass, Listen Out, Laneway and more, the Australian Festival Association has published an open letter that urges state and territory governments to amend policies and strategies following recent festival deaths.
The letter states that current policies and strategies are “needlessly endangering lives”, while requesting governing bodies “work with health, festival and drug experts to develop pill-testing trials”.
“[Pill testing] is a crucial part of a broader harm reduction strategy that prioritises people’s health and safety, over criminality or laws,” Australian Festival Association said.
“Encouraging drug abstinence instead of education is out-of-touch, proven to be ineffective and unnecessarily risking lives. Young people deserve better. Older people deserve better. Families deserve better.
“We implore Premier Berejiklian, Premier Andrews, Premier Marshall, Premier McGowan, Premier Palaszczuk, Premier Hodgman, Chief Minister Gunner and Chief Minister Barr to be open to better ideas and to work with experts on making festivals safer for everyone.”
They also want to see on-going state-based Music Festival Regulation Roundtables, a national drug summit and more.
“As festival promoters, the last thing we want is someone to be hurt under our care,” the letter reads.
“We need to be able to legally implement preventative strategies, not just reactive ones, and include any harm minimisation tools that are available.
“We believe, and have evidence to support, that a combination of robust harm minimisation strategies will help Australians make safer choices and reduce the harmful impacts of drug use on festival-goers and the broader community.”
The new push follows the death of a 22-year-old man at Lost Paradise festival in NSW and 20-year-old male at Beyond The Valley festival in Lardner.
Head to the Australian Festivals Association website for more details.