Shambhala Music Festival
The organizers at Shambhala have turned some heads by not trying to deny that drug use happens at their event. The security manager for Shambhala, Shaun Wilson, wisely admits that “we’re not here to crash parties, we’re here to help people party safe,” a completely different approach than what we’re used to when it comes to security, especially given the fact that Shambhala is one of the few festivals that doesn’t allow alcohol anywhere on its grounds.
Wilson says that it’s completely unrealistic to try to prevent every single drug from entering the premises, a philosophy that led to a mere 7(!) hospital trips to go with zero deaths over the 5 days Shambhala took place this year.
We’re not able, in our searches, to go through everybody’s jar of peanut butter and their prescription bottles to see what’s a controlled substance and what’s not.
Having this attitude towards drug use at the festival also allows an organization called “ANKORS” (AIDS Network Kootenay Outreach and Support Society) to perform on site drug testing. People can openly come to the tent and have their drugs tested to make sure that they have received what they paid for, with no fear of ramifications. Cloe Sage is a volunteer with ANKORS and said that the thing she has noticed is that people are being sold bad drugs by unscrupulous drug dealers. Most notably the drugs they are concerned about are the ones that we mentioned on the last page.
It’s like their thermostat breaks and they keep heating from the inside like a microwave. People have dropped dead from it; that’s why it [PMMA] stopped being popular
ANKORS performed thousands of tests over the weekend and threw out hundreds of drugs. To make things more uneasy, they even found 91 samples of “mystery substances”. When they were identified, they would put a sign out to let people know which ones they were by identifying marks like “Bag with clubs on it – sold as E – unknown.” or “Green playboy bunny baggie – sold as ketamine – actually methoxetamine.”
These measures have lead people to be safe by doing only the drugs they actually wanted to do and provided them a safe environment to do so. USC Events is striving to make their events as safe as possible while still operating within the laws of the United States that limit organizations like ANKORS from setting up at our festivals. You can read about that on the next page.
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