Woman Dies At Australia’s Stereosonic Festival

A 25-year-old woman died and a 22-year-old was put in induced coma following the Nov. 28 Sydney stop of the Australian Stereosonic dance festival.

A crowd of 48,000 came for a bill headlined by Armin van BuurenDJ Snake and Major Lazer at Sydney Olympic Park. Police expressed “alarm and disappointment” that 69 members of the 48,000-strong crowd were hit with drug charges and a further 23 issued with cannabis cautions.

The woman was Sylvia Choi, a pharmacist who collapsed after reportedly mixing ecstasy, alcohol and MDMA. Dozens were treated onsite for overdoses. The 22-year-old, a British tourist, was released from hospital Nov. 29.

This was the fifth drug-related death at a New South Wales festival in the past 12 months. The latest tragedy sparked calls from doctors and politicians to introduce drug test labs at festivals.

In August, a “60 Minutes Australia” report had Dutch drug-testing expert Ninette Van Hasselt remarking that Australian festivalgoers are “not very much concerned with what they take. They don’t have an idea of the real contents of what they’re taking.” Promoter Totem Onelove expressed its “deepest condolences” to Choi’s family and friends.

“As it is a matter with the NSW Police and Coroner we cannot make any further statements or comment. We appeal to our audience that they stay safe and look out for each other.”

Totem Onelove had a few days earlier issued a statement expressing “disappointment” that two men had been apprehended a week before trying to stash drugs on the site before the security fences went up. The two, who face court in February, have been banned from its future festivals.