Punters to lose their Splendour tickets, police warn

Inspector Gary Cowan says police will be out in full force at this week’s Splendour in the Grass festival.
Inspector Gary Cowan says police will be out in full force at this week’s Splendour in the Grass festival. John Gass /TWE131212police

TWEED Byron LAC police are warning they will rip up the tickets of any punter caught with illicit substances at the Splendour on the Grass music festival kicking off this Friday night at North Byron Parklands.

The firm "zero tolerance" message on drug-use came today as Chief Inspector Gary Cowan announced the command's plans to police the three-day event expecting its biggest crowd yet, with up to 35,000 ticket holders daily.

Chief Insp Cowan said a high visibility police operation at the sell-out event would include 120 officers from Tweed and Richmond areas, in addition to 10 horses from the Public Order and Riot Squad as well as six dogs from the Dog Unit.


He said both uniformed and plain-clothed police officers would patrol the site, targeting illegal drug use and supply, alcohol-fuelled violence, anti-social behaviour and fence-jumping.

"Police are not just there to protect the community from drugs or alcohol-fuelled violence, we are also there to make sure people can have a good time safely," Chief Insp Cowan said.

Chief Insp Cowan said police were not in support of pill-testing kits at music festivals and in response to questions over the recent overdose of a North Coast festival goer in a vehicle he urged revellers to look out for their friends.

"The message is for people to look after each other, if anyone of your friends is missing let police know straight away," he said.

Chief Insp Cowan said police had been working closely with organisers since April to coordinate crime prevention efforts, with promoters footing the bill for all services through a user-pay arrangement.


Tweed Byron Local Area Command new Commander: Superintendent Wayne Starling
Tweed Byron Local Area Command new Commander: Superintendent Wayne Starling Scott Powick

Tweed Byron LAC Detective Superintendent Wayne Starling said Splendour was the biggest winter event of its kind in Australia, and anyone caught with drugs would loose their ticket and be removed.

"Participants caught in possession of illegal drugs can also expect to be removed from the site by event organisers and anyone who attends the festival affected by drugs or alcohol may be refused entry," Det Supt Starling said.

"Not only are recreational drugs illegal, they are dangerous and potentially life-threatening, especially when combined with alcohol."

Det Supt Starling urged punters to seek medical attention if they are feeling unwell and to look out for their friends at the festival.

"If you believe the health of another festival-goer may be affected by drugs, alcohol, or any other factor, please tell someone immediately and seek professional medical assistance," Det Supt Starling said.

Additional officers will also be deployed to target speeding, drink-and-drug-driving and other dangerous driver behaviour, with officers to conduct regular roadside drug and alcohol testing.

Camping ticket holders are expected to start arriving at the festival site, which sits on the Tweed-Byron border from 10am tomorrow, with the festival officially kicking off on Friday and concluding on Sunday, July 24.

In addition, there will be pre-festival entertainment on Thursday night for campers and three-day ticketholders.

Important event information, including items banned from the festival and campgrounds, can be found at: Splendour On The Grass website

Topics:  drugs mdma music festival tweed byron lac police

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