Rainbow Serpent, the annual event in Lexton, Victoria, has copped a conceivable amount of flack for its amount of ‘drug drivers’ leaving the event this year (40 drivers testing positive to roadside drug tests, 4 arrests). The head of the festival itself, Tim Harvey, however, says this is barely a crisis in comparison to larger events like the AFL Grand Final.
Stoney Roads recently published an article where Victorian Police Commissioner Graham Ashton remarked that he is considering shutting down Rainbow Serpents, as a result of local police becoming “fed up” with the anti-social behaviour arising from the event.
Harvey, however, insists that the overwhelming majority at the festival behaved in an acceptable manner, and that those arrested represent a small percentage that should not reflect the overall atmosphere during the endurance festival. Harvey went on to highlight the double standard between music festivals and sport events, like those of the AFL Grand Final:
“Police have advised us, through the media, that approximately one in eight drivers out of over 300 leaving the festival returned positive drug results”
“It’s a matter of public record that police roadside testing around Melbourne over the Grand Final weekend returned similar results. In fact, one in three drivers in just one suburb alone were found to be impaired that weekend but no one is calling for the Grand Final to be banned.”
Luckily, the promoters words are not falling on deaf ears, as the Pyrenees Shire mayor Michael O’Connor has insisted that Rainbow Serpent’s future is not in jeopardy:
“From the council’s point of view… there is nothing I have seen at this stage that would indicate the future of the festival to be in doubt.”
So what do you think? Is the pressure from the police more harsh on those from the arts, as opposed to regular societal events? Let us know!