Defqon.1 has been invited to hold future events in Canberra, after New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian declared the hardstyle music festival won’t be allowed to return to Sydney following the suspected overdose deaths of two people at the event last month.
Fairfax Media reports that ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury extended the invitation in a letter to Defqon.1 organisers Q-Dance on Friday, claiming the territory government may allow for pill testing to take place.
Part of Mr Rattenbury’s letter reads, “I would like to encourage you to consider relocating future festivals and events to Canberra where a pill testing facility may be established to minimise drug harm for festival patrons.
“The Greens want to do our best to ensure festival-goers have a good time in the safest ways possible, rather than taking avoidable risks.”
Mr Rattenbury also reportedly said he hoped Q-Dance would be “encouraged” by an Australian-first pill testing trial which took place at the Canberra leg of Groovin The Moo in April. The trial was deemed an “overwhelming success” after it discovered some disturbing details about the contents of people’s drugs.
Music Feeds has contacted Q-Dance for comment.
The Groovin The Moo trial took place after a pill testing trial scheduled to take place at 2017’s Spilt Milk festival was cancelled shortly before the event took place, following pressure from the National Capital Authority.
Mr Rattenbury has suggested that Spilt Milk could still host a pill testing trial this year, if a testing facility was established just outside the festival grounds.
Last month, a group of over 60 Australian festivals, musicians, health specialists and industry figures issued an open letter urging Gladys Berejiklian to begin an “open dialogue” instead of shutting down music events.
In August, a $100,000 fundraiser was launched to help support the roll out of pill testing programs at more Australian music festivals.