UK festival mainstay Bestival has announced that it will have drug-testing facilities on site for the first time ever in its history. It is hoping that this will lead to a safer event with less hospitalizations and fatalities, after in 2017 when a 25-year-old woman died of drug-related complications.
“In the interests of public safety, Bestival has always strongly advised festivalgoers to avoid taking any illegal substances,” a Bestival spokesperson told The Independent.
“However, harm reduction and customer welfare are our priorities, so we are working with agencies to explore all public health options to ensure audience choice and safety.”
The four-day festival brings in over 50,000 people who will be offered the ability to test their drugs without fear of being arrested.
The move comes as increased scrutiny has been placed on festivals over drug deaths in the UK. Two attendees died at Mutiny Festival in May.
Bestival follows other festivals like Boomtown, Secret Garden Party and Love Saves The Day who have adopted drug testing on their grounds. They have credited testing with reducing drug-related hospitalizations considerably. Secret Garden saying it lowered hospitalizations by 95%.
Bestival will take place at Lulworth Estate in Dorset, England with names like London Grammar, First Aid Kit, Silk City, M.I.A., Grace Jones and Plan B among the headliners.