New drug and alcohol awareness campaign 'Look Out For Each Other' to be launched at Leeds Festival 2021 following death of teen

A new awareness campaign based around 10 animations warning of drug and alcohol misuse is set to be launched at Leeds Festival 2021 following the tragic death of a teenager in 2019.

Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 4:45 am

The 'Look Out For Each Other' campaign was revealed at a Licensing Committee meeting held in Leeds on Tuesday morning (August 10).

As is customary, the council met to analyse final preparations for the event, which takes place over the bank holiday weekend, with organiser Festival Republic.

However, the festival has had to show changes to its event management plan following recommendations from a coroner after the death of 17-year-old Anya Buckley in Bramham Park in August 2019.

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Leeds Festival 2021 is set to be held at Bramham Park from August 27 to August 29. Tom Maddick/SWNS

The event - with a capacity of 89,999 people - will also be the first Leeds Festival to take place since the outbreak of Covid 19, following its cancellation in 2020.

An inquest took place in January 2021 into the death of Anya Buckley at the 2019 Festival.

During the conclusion of the inquest, Leeds City Council was served with a Regulation 28 Report to prevent future deaths by the senior coroner for West Yorkshire.

At the meeting held on Tuesday morning, Dan Burn - Drugs, alcohol, tobacco and gambling lead at Leeds City Council - revealed the steps taking in reaction to the report.

A series of animated slides have been created by the 'Festival Advice and Campaigns Team' in collaboration with the council, police and Festival Republic.

Messages displayed on the animations include 'know your limits', 'your tolerance levels have changed' and 'leave the mixing to the DJ'.

The campaign is set to be displayed across the Leeds Festival social media accounts and on the big screens at main stages of the arena at Bramham Park.

Members of the FACT team had met with focus groups and discussed the campaign with drug experts before finalising the slides, Mr Burn told the committee.

Speaking to the committee, Mr Burn described the new launch as a "drug, alcohol and related health and well being campaign".

He added: "It is part of the response to the Regulation 28 report to prevent further deaths at the festival that was served on Leeds City Council following the coroner inquest into the drug related death of a 17-year-old female at the festival in 2019.

"Following the report, the licencing committee set up a working group with key stakeholders.

"One of the measures requested in that report was raising awareness of drugs and alcohol and related health and well being issues."

Mr Burn said the campaign was in collaboration with many partners including police, experts and Festival Republic.

He said the idea had been 'floated in 2019' but was 'parked' due to the Covid pandemic and the cancellation of the festival in 2020.

Mr Burn talked the committee through a number of the animation slides set to be featured within the campaign.

However, the campaign was slammed as a "soft touch" by Councillor Andy Hutchinson from Morley North.

In reaction to the slide presentation, Cllr Hutchinson said: "I think it is good we are trying to do something but I think it seems quite soft touch in relation to the fact that we are dealing with someone that died at a festival.

"We know there are other issues around that, it is not just a case of someone died from a drug overdose.

"But I think it is quite a soft touch and the message doesn't seem strong around the drug and alcohol side.

"That is just my personal comments."

Mr Burn said the campaign had been tested with experts who felt the pitch of the campaign "was right".

He said "just say no" campaigns and "scare tactics don't work".

Mr Burn added: "It is about bringing a campaign that helps people look after themselves and each other."

Later in the meeting, Melvin Benn - Managing Director of Festival Republic which organises the festival - presented a range of new safety features set to be implemented at the event in 2021 following the inquest findings.

New measures revealed include a welfare tent situated within the arena - in addition to the usual 'village' tent.

Brook - the only national charity to offer both clinical sexual health services and education and wellbeing services for young people - will also be on site this year, Mr Benn said.

A standalone drugs advisory board will also be set up within the arena.

Mr Benn confirmed the usual safety elements of the festival - including the main hospital in the village area of the campsite - would be in operation.

Discussing the hospital area, he said: "It is a full field hospital.

"We have delivered babies there, we have saved lives as well as unfortunately lost a couple.

"It is staffed by doctors, GPs, A and E specialists and paramedics."

Additional late night presence of medical officers would also be used as a safety tactic at the festival in 2021, it was announced.

Issues including parking and traffic management were also discussed in the meeting held on Tuesday morning.

Leeds Festival 2021 is set to be held at Bramham Park from August 27 to August 29.