While Splendour In The Grass attendees had few reasons to be disappointed in last weekend’s Byron Bay music festival (save the inclement weather and perhaps Azealia Banks’ brief, 25min set), law enforcers are in turn disappointed with the behaviour of Splendour attendees, and more so it’s organisers and staff, after more than 400 people were reportedly busted for possession of illicit substances.
The Music reports that despite the success of the four-day live music event, that Police today have state that they are “disappointed” with the outcome of the 20,000-strong attendance record.
“Over 400 people were found in possession of prohibited drugs,” said Superintendent Stuart Wilkins, the Commander for the Tweed/Byron Local Area, “that is simply unacceptable. This culture of drug-taking at music events needs to stop.”
According to police figures, 421 people were found in possession of illegal substances such as amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine, ecstacy and LSD; with assitance from the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing body, employing the use of sniffer dogs to target alcohol, drugs and anti-social behaviour offences.
192 people will appear in court over charges of supply and/or possession, who went to “extreme measures to get drugs and alcohol into the festival,” says Wilkins. Among them, one Splendour festival “employee who was allegedly detected trying to bring liquor and drugs into the event,” scorned Wilkins.
The Police Commander also noted that the charges were drawn from 730 person searches and 30 vehicle searches, while 154 cannabis caution notices were served over the duration of the festival.
“We also had a 29-year-old woman attempt to smuggle spirits into the festival by hiding containers underneath her top,” added the Superintendent, telling the ABC: “It’s also about the drugs we didn’t seize… people who were clearly under the influence of drugs, the medical tent being absolutely flat out, police being called to assist with people who were suffering the effects of drugs and being violent or being unable to care for themselves.”
“Police were there to ensure public safety, not spoil the party but some people were unable to control themselves,” said Wilkins.