The report card is in from the first weekend of this year’s Listen Out festival, and police have given it the equivalent of a C-minus.
Police say they’re “disappointed” with the number of punters caught with illegal drugs at the Melbourne leg of the 2017 bash, which took place in St Kilda on Saturday, despite the numbers being firmly on the low end of the spectrum.
Of the thousands in attendance at the festival, 19 people copped drug diversions after getting pinned with illicit substances like amphetamines, MDMA, speed and ketamine, while three others were hit with cannabis cautions.
Two men were also taken into custody after the first allegedly tried to drunkenly jump the fence to sneak into the festival, before the second allegedly hurled beer cans at police as they were trying to arrest the first man.
WA Police has also given Music Feeds the rundown on Sunday’s Perth leg, saying they laid 11 charges against a total of nine people, for crimes including disorderly behaviour, drug possession and breach of move on notice. They issued a total of 61 move-on notices at the event, and also reported multiple incidents of attempted fence-jumpers and trespassers.
To put all of that into perspective, while Listen Out is smaller than some of Australia’s biggest festivals, more than 200 punters were arrested for drug possession and supply at Sydney’s Field Day this year, with almost 300 charged up at Splendour In The Grass.
The stats out of Listen Out come after police ramped up security at this year’s Melbourne event, following the death of a woman from a suspected overdose at last year’s event.
“Drugs have the potential to cause harm every time they are consumed which is why we run these operations aimed at reducing that risk,” says Victoria Police Acting Inspector Stuart Bailey.
“It was no secret that police were going to be present on Saturday and it was therefore disappointing that so many people were detected with drugs.
“People may think they are able to come up with methods to mask the presence of drugs but these dogs are highly trained to be able to detect substances in spite of attempts to put them off the scent.”
No word on what “methods” sneaky revellers have been employing to mask their drugs, but we know that Vegemite definitely doesn’t work — a French man tasted justice’s yeasty tang after trying and failing to smuggle drugs smeared with Vegemite into Melbourne’s Electric Parade festival earlier this year.
Listen Out continues in Sydney and Brisbane this weekend. If you’re heading along, get prepped with the festival’s full lineup and set times right here.
UPDATE 25/09/17 5:45pm
One of the men caught with drugs was found with Vegemite-covered MDMA strapped to his penis.