The owner of New South Wales’ Lost Paradise festival has issued an open letter on Facebook, discussing the death of a 22-year-old patron at festival’s most recent edition.
On December 30th, news broke that a 22-year-old attendee of the Lost Paradise festival had passed away after taking an “unknown substance”. The individual was later identified as Brisbane man Joshua Tam, and while two further people were taken to hospital, three were charged with drug supply offences.
Lost Paradise’s organisers acknowledged the tragedy soon after it happened, calling the death “distressing”, and noting on their official channels that Lost Paradise is a “drug-free event”.
Now, Lost Paradise owner Simon Beckingham has taken to Facebook to open up about Tam’s death, while also thanking medical officials and security personnel for their work in keeping patrons safe.
“Tragically, a young man did pass away after attending the festival. It was a very distressing incident and a hugely emotional time for our entire team,” Beckingham began. “Our sincerest thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends.”
“I have so much respect for our medical team, NSW Ambulances, NSW fire and rescue, Red Dawn security and DanceWize who worked under very stressful conditions to keep our patrons safe.”
“I can only hope that we, as an industry and wider community, are able to reflect and learn from this tragic incident and continue to work together to improve harm reduction measures at future festivals and events.”
In the days immediately after the tragic incident at Lost Paradise, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian again addressed pill-testing, seemingly changing her mind in regards to the apparently controversial topic.
“If there was a way in which we could ensure that lives were saved through pill testing we would consider it – but there is no evidence provided to the government on that,” Berejiklian said, while reiterating that pill testing gave drug users “a false sense of security.”
NSW Opposition Leader Michael Daley also joined the discussion, stating that pill testing “should not be off the table”, while former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Palmer has urged state politicians to have a rethink.
However, the Victorian Government have maintained that they have no plans at this point to start implementing pill-testing at festivals.
“Advice from Victoria Police tells us it can give people a false and potentially fatal sense of security about illicit drugs,” a spokesman for the Victorian government explained.
The first pill testing trial took place last April at the Groovin the Moo festival in Canberra, where two potentially deadly samples were discovered and half the drugs tested were found to contain no psychoactive substances.