Two Dead After Nearly 3 Million Attend UK Live Events Over Bank Holiday Weekend


August 30, 2022

Police investigations have been launched after the suspected drug-related death of a 16-year-old boy at Leeds Festival (cap. 75,000) and the death of a 21-year-old man who was stabbed at the Notting Hill Carnival.

The tragic deaths occurred during one of the year’s biggest weekends for the live events industry, with an estimated 2.7m people having attended major outdoor events during the bank holiday weekend.

The Metropolitan Police is carrying out a murder investigation after a man was stabbed in Ladbroke Grove, London. It said there had been “a number of violent incidents and serious stabbings” at the Notting Hill Carnival, with 209 arrests having been made over the weekend.

Following the death of the 16-year-old at the Festival Republic-promoted Leeds Festival, a spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police said, “While the exact cause of his death is yet to be established, one line of inquiry is that he had taken a particular type of ecstasy (MDMA) tablet, which was described as a grey or black oblong shape.”

Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn said, “We are truly saddened about this tragedy and our sincerest thoughts are with the family at this time. We are working closely with West Yorkshire Police to assist with their investigation and take all reports of incidents where drug use is suspected seriously. The safety and wellbeing of all our festival goers is always our absolute priority and we remind all festival goers that there is no safe way to take prohibited drugs and there are no safe prohibited drugs.”

Security at both Festival Republic’s simultaneous Leeds and Reading (105,000) festivals has been criticised by attendees who reported tents being burned and violent behaviour at the event sites. Thames Valley Police said there were some fires in the Reading Festival campsite on Sunday but festival security had water pumps and extinguished them within minutes.

It said, “There was some disorder in the campsite at about 4.30pm on Sunday, but this was dealt with within minutes by festival security and about fifty people were ejected from the site. Those ejected were safeguarded by the festival organisers, Thames Valley Police, and British Transport Police to ensure they could get home safely.”

West Yorkshire Police said that while some reports of anti-social behaviour at the Leeds event were received, it did not receive reports regarding any “serious disorder” at the festival during the final night.

It said, “We are aware of sporadic tent fires which were dealt with by fire marshals on site, with persons then ejected. Police assistance was not required.”

Close to 3 million people attended major live outdoor events during the bank holiday weekend, with an estimated 2 million having attended the Notting Hill Carnival, nearly 200,000 at the Leeds and Reading festivals and further major festivals across the UK including Creamfields (70,000) in Cheshire, Portsmouth’s Victorious (80,000), three 40,000-capacity events as part of AEG Presents’ 40,000-capacity All Points East in London, The Big Feastival (25,000) and Towersey Festival (50,000) in Oxfordshire and numerous other major events including Manchester Pride Festival (10,000).

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