Woman dies after Sydney music festival


She said she wanted to look for every opportunity to reduce deaths from drugs, but worried that “something like pill testing could have the opposite effect”.

“As many experts have said, in the absence of evidence, we need to keep sending out the strongest message that taking illicit drugs … kills young ones,” she said. “We ask young people not to do it.”

The Central Coast teenager was attending the over-18s event at Parramatta Park when she collapsed around 6pm on Saturday. She is the fifth young person to die at a music festival in recent months.

Police have confirmed emergency services attended the woman almost immediately, taking her to nearby Westmead Hospital, where she later died.

The 19-year-old is yet to be identified, however her family has been notified. It is understood police have spoken to some of her friends, but they are yet to collect full statements.

The circumstances of her death are being investigated and police are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

An estimated 11,387 attended FOMO, with officers searching 146 people and finding 54 of them with drugs.

Another 23 were ejected, mostly for intoxication, while 28 were refused entry, police said.

It is understood at least nine people received medical assistance for a range of symptoms, including dehydration, nausea and heat exhausation.

The maximum temperature reached 35.5 degrees in Parramatta on Saturday.

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FOMO festival will have its final single-stage show in Melbourne from 11.30am on Sunday at Flemington Racecourse, after already touring in Auckland, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide.

The woman’s death takes the number of recent drug-related deaths at NSW music festivals to five, following the death of Brisbane man Josh Tam, 22, who died after taking a substance at the Lost Paradise festival on the Central Coast on December 29.

FOMO has been contacted for comment.

The death comes amid a mounting debate over the introduction of pill testing at large-scale music events.

Last week the newly formed Australian Festival Association penned an open letter to state and territory leaders, calling on governments to reconsider “out-of-touch” legislation that was putting young lives at risk.

The new coalition of the state’s biggest music festival organisers, including representatives from Falls Festival and Splendour in the Grass, said while pill testing was not the only answer, it was a “crucial part of a broader harm reduction strategy that prioritises people’s health and safety, over criminality or laws”.

A protest calling for the introduction of pill testing in NSW is set to be staged in front of the Sydney Town Hall on January 19.

Police are expected to address the media about the woman’s death later on Sunday.

On Sunday Ms Berejiklian said a key recommendation from an expert panel late last year was to improve education and health warnings, which was now a key focus for the government.

“We hope young people hear the message, especially where to know where to seek medical attention if they are at these events [and] what signs to look out for,” she said.

– with Angus Thompson

Lucy Cormack is a crime reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald.

Matt O’Sullivan is the Transport Reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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