Police investigate two deaths at T in the Park festival
Deaths of man and woman at Scotland’s biggest music festival being treated as separate and unexplained
Police are investigating the possibly drug-related deaths of two teenagers at the T in the Park music festival in Perthshire.
Police Scotland confirmed on Friday afternoon that investigations were ongoing into the deaths of a 17-year-old male from the west of Scotland and a 17-year-old female from the north of England.
The deaths are not thought to be linked and at this stage are not believed to be suspicious. Relatives have been informed.
Police Scotland’s gold commander for the festival, Ch Supt Angela McLaren, said: “We are continuing to investigate these deaths and are following lines of enquiry, including the possibility that they may be drug related. I would remind all persons attending the festival that there is no safe way of taking drugs.”
T in the Park director Geoff Ellis said organisers were shocked and saddened by the news. “Our thoughts are with the families and friends at this time. We are offering our full support and assistance,” he said.
Earlier on Friday afternoon, T in the Park’s official Twitter account had warned festival-goers not to risk taking illegal substances, to report suspicious behaviour to stewards and police officers and to seek help immediately should they feel unwell after taking drugs.
— TITPinfo (@TITPinfo) July 8, 2016
Campers began arriving on Thursday for the three-day event at Strathallan Castle, which will see the Stone Roses headline on Friday.
Besides the two deaths, police are also believed to be investigating a video that appears to show a mass brawl on Thursday afternoon, less than two hours after gates were opened. The brief clip, which was posted on social media, shows a number of bare-chested young men punching each other to the sounds of screams from onlookers.
In a separate incident, police have appealed for witnesses following the theft of an ATM from the main arena area at the festival. The ATM contained a “significant amount of cash” and was taken between midnight and 7am on Friday.
T in the Park is Scotland’s biggest music festival, and is expected to attract more than 80,000 revellers over the weekend. Jamie xx, Disclosure and the Courteeners are also scheduled to perform on Friday, before Calvin Harris and the Red Hot Chili Peppers headline on Saturday and Sunday.
The annual event, which has been a key fixture of Scotland’s festival calendar since 1994, was forced last year to move from its traditional site at Balado park after 18 years because of health and safety concerns over an oil pipe system running under the site.
Last year’s festival at the Strathallan site was plagued with problems, including complaints about crowd safety, chaotic traffic arrangements and antisocial behaviour. During the weekend, the body of a 36-year-old man was discovered in toilets. Police did not treat the death as suspicious.
Despite the difficulties caused by the Strathallan site, the number of arrests were reduced to 44, compared with 52 arrests in 2014, while the number incidents dealt with the Scottish ambulance service were also down to 606 compared with 858 the previous year.
Ellis said in an interview with BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat earlier this week that he had learned “massive lessons” from the event in 2015.
“Moving a festival, that’s one of the biggest in the world, is a difficult feat,” he told the programme. “We listened to all the customer comments. We got a lot of them and we’ve acted on what people told us.”
He explained that the main stage had been moved to a more accessible location this year and that site planning aimed to reduce bottlenecks.