Police have wrapped up their first ever drug operation at Burning Seed festival — Australia’s version of Burning Man — charging 17 punters with drug offences.
Cops with sniffer dogs set up a roadblock at the entrance to the ‘deep space’ themed music festival, which is currently underway at ‘Red Earth City’ in the Matong Forest, west of Wagga Wagga, seizing “a large variety of drugs” including cannabis, mushrooms, cocaine and ketamine.
“Police are very concerned with the amount of drugs that people are trying to take into the festival and the danger to their health and safety,” Acting Inspector Maggie Deall from Wagga Wagga police station tells the ABC.
While a dude named Rodney, who volunteers as second-in-command on the festival’s front gate, argues that the majority of the event’s attendees were ex-hippies who aren’t even that into drugs.
“I’m 35 and I’m one of the younger ones there really,” he says. “It’s not a drug-fuelled music festival. You can lose yourself without having to get inebriated.”
Punters angry about the police presence at this year’s festival have flooded the Burning Seed Facebook page, calling for the event to be shunted interstate where drug detection isn’t as tough.
A man from Canberra — where the government has just given the green light to pill-testing measures — writes: “I advocate for not holding it in NSW or even VIC going forward given how both those State Governments are treating festivals of late like this, come to the ACT where we don’t go hard on those responsibly having a good time.”
Like Burning Man, Burning Seed culminates with the burning of a wooden temple and a 13-metre effigy.
The five-day festival is now in its seventh year, and is due to wrap up on Monday.
It comes after the tragic death of a man at this year’s flagship Burning Man event in Nevada, after he ran into the flaming effigy.