Canada’s Evolve Music Festival is set to offer festival-goers free drug testing in order to ensure that their pills are pure, in a bid to hopefully reduce the likelihood of punters overdosing.
As CBC News reports, Evolve organisers will offer the service when the three-day event kicks off in Nova Scotia this Friday.
Attendees can hand over a small sample of their stash, and festival staff will give them a breakdown of its chemical makeup. The tests are capable of analysing LSD, MDMA and speed, and staff are reportedly only meant to provide facts and not make personal recommendations.
Evolve Festival producer Jonas Colter says that drugs are expected, and giving punters the chance to know what they’re taking is part of a harm reduction process.
“Last year we had, over three days, six ambulances were sent — about two per day. Three of them were kids who had done a drug that wasn’t the drug that they thought that it was,” Colter says.
“I’m assuming that if they bring it themselves, hopefully they’re getting the drugs from someone they semi-trust. When you’re buying it at a festival, from a stranger, you really don’t know what you’re getting.”
As CBC News also reports, Evolve Festival is now in jeopardy because the event’s liability insurance was pulled by its underwriter, Wynward Insurance Group, after it decided to offer free drug testing.
However, Colter has posted a video to YouTube titled “The Show Must Go On!” (below), in which he says, “It seems that we have an insurance provider, we’ll know 100 per cent tomorrow. I’ve been guaranteed though, I feel very confident. Evolve is not cancelled, Evolve is going on.”
Earlier this year, a team of Australian experts called for pill testing to be put in place at Aussie festivals after a 19-year-old man died and a 20-year-old man was left in a critical condition after attending Sydney’s A State Of Trance festival, where they allegedly took part in a game to see who could take the most drugs.
The 19-year-old’s death came just three months after fellow 19-year-old Georgina Bartter died after reportedly taking ecstasy at Sydney’s Harbourlife festival.
Evolve Festival is set to run from the 9th to 12th July.
Watch: Evolve Festival UPDATE – The Show Must Go On!