Premier vows action as two die at festival
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has vowed to shut down Sydney music festival Defqon.1 after a series of suspected drug overdoses left two people dead and another three fighting for their lives.
A Victorian woman, 21, and a Sydney man, 23, died after collapsing at the event at Penrith on Saturday.
Three people are critically ill in hospital while 700 of the 30,000 attendees were treated by medical staff, police said.
“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,” Ms Berejiklian said yesterday.
“This is an unsafe event and I’ll be doing everything I can to make sure it never happens again.”
Police said a woman, 26, was in a critical condition while a 19-yearold man was in intensive care.
A Newcastle man is also critically ill, while more than a dozen people were treated at Nepean hospital for drug-related issues. Toxicology reports are expected within a week to uncover exactly what drugs were taken by those who became ill.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Allan Sicard said 180 police were at the event and had worked with organisers to try to keep revellers safe.
“What we can’t do is be in people’s heads, be in people’s decisionmaking processes when they decide to take illicit drugs,” he said.
Greens MP David Shoebridge said the police presence at the festival was aggressive and called for festivals to introduce pill-testing and amnesty bins.
Defqon.1 organisers, having dealt with multiple deaths in the event’s 10-year history, warned ticket holders the festival’s drug policy was zero tolerance.
Police said 10 people were charged with drug supplying offences, including two 17-year-old girls who allegedly carried 120 capsules “internally” into the venue.