The co-founder of Manchester’s Parklife festival and Warehouse Project, Sacha Lord, announced yesterday that he will seek legal action against the UK government if a license requirement for on-site drug testing at British festivals is not overturned.
Lord wants a judicial review of the decision by the UK’s Home Office—the British government’s executive branch—to force UK festivals to obtain a £3,000 permit to offer drug testing services on site.
“The industry works tirelessly to ensure we do everything possible to safeguard the public,” Lord said. “If the Home Office continues not to support us in this vital work, we will be left with no other choice but to call for a full investigation and consultation.”
The license also requires that Home Office officials check drug-testing premises weeks in advance, but most drug-testing facilities at festivals are built just a few days before the event in temporary structures.
As reported by The Guardian, it can take more than three months for the testing license to be granted.
Home Office officials say that the license requirement is not new, and has instead been unenforced until last month.
The Loop—a drug safety charity and testing provider—was informed that they could not test at Parklife 2023 due to the permit requirement, just two days before the event began.
The Loop works with police and festival security to test confiscated substances and volunteered drugs. If tests indicate that the substances are a threat to health, push notification warnings are sent to festival goers.
Last week, high-profile figures including Fatboy Slim, Billy Bragg, and over 30 MPs signed a letter alongside Lord that urged Home Secretary Suella Braverman to undo the decision.
The new enforcement brings doubts if on-site testing and safety groups will be allowed to operate at upcoming festivals like Reading and Creamfields.
Featured image from Parklife festival. Credit: Daisy Denham.