Police are considering whether or not Rainbow Serpent Festival in Lexton should continue to go ahead after they attended to a large number of drug-related cases over the weekend.
The statistics in regards to drug-related activity are alarming for police who caught 45 drivers under the influence of drugs driving away from the festival and arrested five people for drug trafficking. In addition to that police attended to four reports of sexual assault plus three cases of theft at the festival.
“Every year we see the event take place, every year we raise our concerns and every year we are left picking up the pieces,” Police Inspector Bruce Thomas said in a Victoria Police statement.
“It’s painfully obvious that there are huge direct and indirect risks to the community as a result of the behaviour that takes place at the festival. It was a miracle that no one was killed on our roads given the number of drug drivers departing from the festival.”
While Thomas sees that there are “obvious economic benefits” to having the festival in Lexton, they need to consider whether the economic benefits outweigh public safety.
“Something has to change,” he said.
“We intend to raise this discussion with both local government members and festival organisers at the annual event debrief.”
Rainbow Serpent organiser Tim Harvey told The Courier Mail that majority of their festival-goers did the right thing saying, “crowd behaviour in general this year was wonderful with the vast majority of our 16,000 strong Rainbow community contributing to a very special international gathering.”
Organisers have since taken to the event page on Facebook, posting The Courier Mail article and inviting people to have their say in the comments section on the website.
“While there is always room for improvement and we abhor the terrible isolated cases of assault at Rainbow this year the vast majority of you were wonderful human beings,” they wrote.
“Unfortunately it looks like some police feel Rainbow shouldn’t continue because we face the exact same challenges the rest of society is facing.”
The festival took place in Lexton from 22nd January to 25th January and features sets by John Digweed, Hernan Cattaneo and Ace Ventura.