Hardcore festival with a murky history
FOUNDED in Holland in 2003, Defqon.1 is no stranger to controversy.
Run by Dutch festival organiser QDance, it is an annual event — featuring hardcore techno, house and trance music, and dubbed by organisers as “the world’s largest harder styles festival” — that has attracted massive crowds around the world, from the Netherlands to Chile and Australia.
And since the festival came to Australia in 2009, people — many of them either outrageously clad or in fancy dress — have travelled from far and wide to the event at Penrith’s International Regatta Centre.
Featuring some of the biggest-name DJs in the hard dance music world, including Holland’s Headhunterz, it is an 18+ event and says it maintains a zerotolerance drug policy. The festival’s website clearly warns that “if drugs are found, you will be handed over to the police”.
But despite this it has made unwanted headlines for drug-related incidents and deaths. In 2013, 23-year-old James Munroe died from a suspected overdose, suffering a series of cardiac arrests after disclosing to paramedics that he had consumed three “pills”. And in 2015 Nigel Pauljevic, 26, was found unconscious in a tent and later died in Nepean Hospital.
The festival is known for outlandish dress.