It’s time to get realistic about safety at music festivals, fans say

By Nikola Cameron

Oct 7, 2015

Shawn McDonald thinks it’s time for people to get real when it comes to drugs and safety at music festivals.

With the death of a local islander following the Annual Evolve music festival in Antigonish, N.S. this summer, McDonald thinks the organizers need to be doing more to keep it’s attenders safe, such as providing more water.

“It gets hot over there and people get dehydrated and dehydration can cause a lot of bad stuff, like heat stokes.”

The festival does offer one free meal for everyone, during one of the nights, but McDonald would like to see more free food available.

Many people have already spent $200 on admission tickets, alcohol and other substances, and many people will not have enough money left over for food, he said.

“I think they need to concentrate more on making sure people eat and hydrate.”

The organizers were planning on having free drug testing kits available, but the insurance company threatened to back out, so the festival cancelled the testing.

It would have been safer, had they have provided the drug testing kits, said Aaron Reilly.

“It’s the better, safer alternative and I think it’s outrageous they went against it.”

Reilly has been to the Evolve Festival three times.

“If people knew what they were buying is bad, then they know not take it and find safer drugs elsewhere.”

It’s more realistic, said Mahdrid James.

“People are going to do what they want to do weather they are allowed to or not.”

McDonald agrees.

“Old school thoughts, like grandpa thoughts. They don’t understand the concept of harm reduction.”

Still, there is more to Evolve then drug use, said James.

“Honestly, anybody who is against anything to do with Evolve, haven’t gone, and they have no idea what the experience is like.”

Reilly is optimistic the festival will continue for many years to come.

“It’s been going on for 16 years. Why stop now? It’s a place to go and be free and to be yourself, with thousands of people getting together to experience some of the best things in life here at the Maritimes. You can’t get that anywhere else.