Boomtown to provide drug testing and trained counsellors for all attendees

Photo credit: George Harrison

UK: Boomtown has announced that it will take an ‘all-encompassing’ approach to drugs policy at this year’s event, which takes place from August 10 – 13 at the Matterley Estate in Hampshire. The sold out 60,000 capacity festival will aim to increase drug awareness and promote harm reduction through a variety of methods, including substance testing with The Loop, the provision of trained drug counsellors at each of the campsite hubs, and pre-event awareness campaigns.

After making its debut last year at Kendal Calling and Secret Garden Party, 2017 has seen The Loop invited to many more festivals, with Boomtown joining a full roster of other events for the 2017 season.

Professor Fiona Measham, founder of The Loop, said:: “We are delighted to be able to work in partnership with Boomtown this year to help reduce drug-related harm on-site. We will be providing our free, anonymous, drug safety testing – MAST – for the first time at Boomtown this year and hope that this will help inform all services on-site, as well as festival-goers, who may encounter substances of concern.”

On top of the harm reduction aspects of the drugs policy, Boomtown Fair, Hampshire Constabulary and the on-site security teams will be working even harder to keep drugs out of the festival, with increased security searches, amnesty bins at the gates, and immediate eviction for those caught attempting to get drugs into the festival.

As part of the pre-event awareness and education Boomtown has a dedicated page on its website highlighting a selection of current dangerous drug trends at festivals and events in the UK. The three main topics discussed are: the severe dangers of drug misuse; effects of mixing drugs, including prescription drugs; and increased strength of ecstasy / MDMA. The festival aims to offer non-judgemental facts and links in order to support and help people before, during and after the festival.

The organisers of Boomtown stated: “After the truly heartbreaking experience of too many young people dying across the country at events, night clubs and town centres through drug related incidents, we want to have an open and honest discussion to make sure we are doing everything in our power to educate, protect and prevent similar incidents occurring at the festival and beyond. There appears to be lack of education when it comes to drug use that, hopefully, with the help of The Loop and the other drug awareness measures we are implementing this year, we can at least make a start on changing the conversation to help better prepare people for the real dangers that drug experimentation poses.”

Going into its ninth year, headliners include The Specials, M.I.A., Cypress Hill, Sublime with Rome, Arrested Development, Toots and the Maytals, The Original Blues Brothers Band, Ziggy Marley, Frank Turner and hundreds more.

The Loop