In the past 12 months alone there has been 6 festival related deaths in Australia. The question must be asked: are festival organisers competent and skilled enough to deal with a crisis like excessive drug use? Or should they be doing more to combat and aide the police in minimising drug use at festivals?
After two people died at separate Stereosonic festivals, organisers Totem OneLove Group released a statement on their Facebook account placing the onus on festival goers to not bring drugs into the festival. After the statement was released, Stefan Woodward, 19, died at the Adelaide festival, whilst hundreds of others were arrested for drug possession or taken to hospital for suspected overdoses.
There is no doubt that social media is an effective tool when trying to communicate a message to the masses, however when your reputation as a festival has been severely tarnished by drug use, placing responsibility only on festival goers is detrimental.
In light of such a crisis, Totem OneLove decided to release little information to the public through the media or to festival goers. No warnings were released about a potential bad batch of ecstasy pills even though the police had released information prior to one of the events. Staff and independent contractors were also banned from speaking to any media.
Leaving the public and festival goers in the dark during a time of crisis, demonstrates that Totem OneLove were inept in managing such a crisis for their brand and the culture of the festival.
As reports of drugs being readily available at the Stereosonic events emerge, there have been calls to ban the festivals all together or for festival organisers to introduce additional measures to ensure the safety of their patrons.