That’s the tally I heard on the Sunday afternoon of the Rainbow Serpent festival. The death was confirmed on Saturday afternoon at the opening ceremony – a mother of two had died of an asthma attack. The words were delivered in the most sensitive and understanding way that this kind of news can be delivered.
I have no details of the overdoses although since posting this, I’ve had a number of people say that the 75 number was vastly exaggerated. I have no reason to doubt them.
My personal experience through the weekend was that I’d noticed that ambulances coming back and forth a few times and on Monday evening, two ambulances came to take away a man. I recognised him from the dancefloor and had actually pointed him out earlier to a friend as a person who had obviously lost their mind. To the credit of the organisers and the skills of the people involved, security and first aid behaved compassionately and sensitively. A small unobtrusive cordon of plain clothes security (who occassionally danced to the music) directed people away from where a single security person sat with the man and talked him into going with one of the ambulances.
This was not my weekend at rainbow but I felt that this sequence of entries needed to start in this way, that festivals of this size (this year’s festival clocked over 6500 people) no matter how enjoyable for most often contain tragedy in them for some.
I will be posting more about the festival later.