Splendour in the Grass Festival will not be exempt from police sniffer dog patrols and people found with drugs can expect the full force of the law. That was the message from Tweed/Byron Local Area Command yesterday.
Earlier in the week, Art vs Science vocalist Daniel Macnamee republished on the band’s Facebook page a letter he had written to Ballina MP Don Page asking for a trial removal of drug detection dogs from the festival.
The crux of Mr Manamee’s argument was that the presence of the dogs encourages festivalgoers to take all their drugs at once, rather than be caught, which in turn leads to a spike in ill effects and hospital admissions.
‘I suggested trialling a year in which sniffer dogs were absent from the festival and comparing the number of hospitalisations that occur due to drug overdoses (specifically panic-induced overdoses and “pre game” overdoses),’ he said.
‘Mr Page wrote back to me and has said he’ll forward my comments on to the relevant ministers,’ Mr Macnamee added.
In his letter to the MP, the rock star said, ‘I personally think it would be wonderful if we enjoyed music and socialised without drugs – alcohol included – but we cannot change people’s minds about drugs through fear alone. The record shows. It doesn’t work. But it does make the setting so much more dangerous for our children.’
But Don Page has said he would not be taking up the musician’s challenge.
‘I think personally it’s better to send a message that illicit drug use is harmful and dangerous and if you want to engage in illegal activity at Splendour, chances are you will be caught,’ he told APN Media yesterday.
And a Tweed/Byron LAC duty officer has reiterated the dogs will be out in full force at Splendour.
‘We’ll be checking people coming in in cars, people walking in, checking bags. So many people that come to these events are the same people – they know the police are going to be there, they know the dogs will be there,’ Inspector Gary Cohen told ABC this morning.