Île Soniq: 47 arrested for drugs on EDM festival's 1st day
Electronic dance music festival sees 8 EDM fans treated for drug intoxication
Electronic dance music festival Île Soniq at Montreal's Parc Jean-Drapeau is only halfway through its first edition, but already police have arrested 47 people on drug-related charges.
The festival, which began on Friday and wraps up Saturday night, has a strong police presence in response to the deaths of two EDM festival-goers in Toronto earlier this month. Dozens of others became ill at Veld Music Festival because of what police later described as "party drugs."
The Montreal festival's promoter, Evenko, hired an additional 14 police officers on top of the contingent supplied by the city.
Caroline Audet, the public relations manager for Evenko, said a number of people were refused entry on Friday because they had prohibited items in their possession or because security suspected they were already intoxicated.
Audet said Evenko was very sensitive to events like the deaths at Veld Music Festival, and said fans' safety and security were the promotion company's priorities.
Still, two attendees said they weren't sure exactly what having more police officers would accomplish, considering there are more than 30,000 festival-goers, and the pills are tiny.
"People are pretty creative with how to smuggle in," said Brandon Schneiderman.
"There is no way to let in this many people and check effectively at the same time," said Ameen Alshaibani.
Jean-Sébastien Fallu is the founder of GRIP, a non-profit group that works to reduce harm associated with drug use. He said no matter how many officers are there, people will find a way to bring in drugs.
"The only way to avoid risk is to stay free from drugs. But we know many many people will take them, so we are going a step further and telling them some tips to reduce the risks they are taking," Fallu said.
Six GRIP counsellors are on site.
Île Soniq wraps up tonight with performances by Laidback Luke, Caspa and Infected Mushroom.