Festival goers attend Budapest's Sziget Festival on an island in the Danube River August 11, 2011.
Festival goers attend Budapest's Sziget Festival on an island in the Danube River August 11, 2011. Reuters/Bernadett Szabo

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has vowed to shut down Defqon.1 after two people died in suspected drug overdose on Saturday. A 23-year-old man from western Sydney and a 21-year-old woman from Victoria have died at a hospital after collapsing at the Penrith music festival.

Another 26-year-old woman from Jamisontown was also taken to Napean Hospital in Sydney. She remains in a critical condition. A 19-year-old man is also in a critical condition and is in intensive care after he was airlifted from the event to Westmead Hospital. A third person, age unknown, was taken to Liverpool Hospital and is also in a critical condition, 9News reports.

Sydney Police North West Metropolitan Region Commander Acting Assistant Commissioner Allan Sicard said the deceased victims were not known to each other. He also couldn’t say what type of drugs they had taken at this stage.

Ms Berejiklian described the deaths as “absolute tragedy,” telling the media that she would close down the festival as it has been deemed “unsafe.”

“I never want to see this event held in Sydney or New South Wales ever again —we will do everything we can to shut this down,” she said. “I don’t want to see this ever happen again —young lives lost for no reason. I understand there were some deaths in the past, but to have at least two on one night when every assurance was given to those attending that it was a safe event — clearly it wasn’t when so many people have succumbed.”

She also dismissed pill-testing as a solution to protecting festival-goers, saying it would just mean making drugs legal. “There is no such thing as a safe drug and, unfortunately, when young people think there is, it has tragic consequences.”

She added on Twitter:

Defqon.1 Weekend Festival is an annual music festival held in Australia and the Netherlands that plays hardstyle techno, house and trance music. On its website, it had warned ticketholders that drugs would be strictly prohibited.
“If drugs are found, you will be handed over to the police,” the festival said in a statement on its website. It has since offered its “thoughts and prayers” to the suspected drug victims.

“We are disappointed at the number of reported drug-related incidents; we have a zero-tolerance policy in relation to drug use at the festival. Festival organisers are working closely with the authorities regarding the fatalities and the number of medical presentations made during the evening, a full investigation is currently underway.”