It is Bestival policy that illegal drugs and banned substances are not allowed on site. We in no way encourage the use of drugs at our event and have strict measures in place to discourage festivalgoers from bringing these substances on site, including amnesty bins and thorough searches. Anyone caught attempting to bring drugs on to the Bestival site will be refused entry and reported to the police.
We are, however, aware that no matter how stringent our measures illegal substances can still make it into the festival and some festivalgoers may experiment with them. As part of our responsibility to Bestival-goers we have agreed to have The Loop on site to undertake multi-agency safety testing (MAST) and one-to-one drug consultations. The Loop will be situated next to Welfare (opposite the Disco Ball) and will be open 11am-7pm daily.
MAST is a form of drug testing, whereby individual service users submit samples for analysis and receive their results as part of a confidential, individually tailored harm reduction package delivered by experienced substance misuse practitioners.
The Loop works closely with police, public health and local authorities to develop its testing programme and comes on site with the full support of the police. The Loop operates fully within the law at all times and explicitly does not endorse, condone or encourage illegal drug use.
Aims of on-site drug safety testing:
• To help identify trends in the drug market and drug use;
• To identify substances of concern that may put users at a greater level of risk;
• To identify the contents of substances that are already a cause for concern, for example causing problems for customers presenting to medical and welfare staff;
• To provide information to those charged with the treatment of drug-related incidents, so that medical and welfare services provide informed and targeted treatment;
• To link harm reduction advice directly with forensic testing of individual contents which research shows to be more effective;
• To provide an opportunity to engage with hidden and hard to reach user populations who are predominantly not in touch with drugs services and who are unlikely to get the opportunity to have any other advice or brief interventions;
• To identify substances that have been mis-sold to users by unscrupulous dealers and are causing medical/welfare problems including adulterants and contaminants (e.g. methoxetamine mis-sold as ketamine, PMMA mis-sold as ecstasy);
• To provide information that can be sent out via social media, other media channels and information points relating to particular substances, in consultation with police and medical services, to reduce drug related harm on site and to minimise the possibility of a major public safety incident (e.g. if PMMA pills such as the Red Superman pills were circulating on site).