Festival X: Grieving parents say name ‘screams take drugs’
Grief-stricken parents of children who died of ecstasy overdoses have attacked tomorrow's major dance event Festival X, claiming the provocative name "screams come on and take drugs".
Previously known as Stereosonic, the massive festival has been rebranded since it was last held under its old name in 2015, when Sydney woman Sylvia Choi died after taking an ecstasy tablet.
"All the kids know the symbol 'X' is slang and code for ecstasy," said anti-drugs campaigner Tony Wood, whose 15-year-old daughter Anna died from the drug in 1995.
"It's insensitive to use that symbol as a marketing tool aimed at young people … it screams come on and take drugs."
Cong Pham, whose son Joseph died from an overdose at the Defqon. 1 festival in 2018, also said he found the use of the letter disturbing.
"I am against these festivals and the use of the X is totally inappropriate," he said.
Jennie Ross-King also asked why the "X" was needed to promote the event.
"I wonder what they were thinking. It's not a good look for the industry but there are bigger issues like trying to keep young people safe," she said.
Her daughter Alex was 19 when she died at a festival in Sydney in January this year.
"To anyone going I just want you to make sure you stay safe. Keep an eye on your friends and if you see anything that worries you, go and seek help straight away," she said.
Parents can go to a number of websites promoted by NSW Health and St Vincent's Hospital so they can have a conversation with their children.
More than 45,000 people will attend tomorrow's event at the Sydney Showground in Olympic Park. Police will continue to operate with high visibility, sniffer dogs and searches when they believe necessary.
They will also continue to trial the use of fines instead of criminal charges for people found with just a few tablets in a bid to try and stop revellers' "panic ingestion" of pills.
However, suppliers will still be dealt with criminally.
Festival organisers failed to answer requests for comment.