Research project DR/85 (Research action DR)
When compared to their peers, festival attendees were shown to use illicit drugs, tobacco, and alcohol more commonly than their peers and also new onset of substance use was indicated as a customary phenomenon among festival attendees. Accordingly, on-site health care services are required to tackle a wide range of drug-related harms, such as illnesses, injuries, intoxications and mental health presentations, at higher incidence rates than at other kinds of mass gatherings. To deal with substance use at the festivals, a wide range of prevention, harm reduction, care, and authoritative strategies are usually put into service. However, substance use and its related issues strongly vary between individual festivals, as such complicating the implemented drug related services. Needless to say, the types of associated substances evolve as well, as new drugs - especially synthetic - are emerging perpetually (cf. NPS).
Strategies to reduce harm from substance use have not always been demonstrated to be effective. Street-level policing (e.g., high visibility policing, riot policing, policing with drug detection dogs, ...), for instance, has been proven insufficient at deterring drug offending at music festivals. Moreover, it has shown to encourage some perverse impacts such as drug consumers opting to buy drugs within festival grounds (main site and/or camping site) rather than bring it to the festival themselves, as such expanding dealing opportunities. In the last decade, peer-to-peer strategies (e.g., Safe 'n Sound, Modus Fiesta) are being employed more frequently, mainly targeted at preventing and reducing excessive and harmful consumption. However, it still remains to be investigated how this approach is perceived and whether it obtains the intended effects.
Objectives & methods
The research group aims to obtain a comprehensive understanding of how festival attendees and festival stakeholders perceive drug related interventions implemented at music festivals - including their perception of substance use (norms) at music festivals. The study focuses on the music festival scene in Flanders, Brussels, and Wallonia.
The first part of the study focuses on the perceptions of prevention, harm reduction, care, and law enforcement strategies and perceptions of substance use (norms) by festival attendees. Through an innovative real-time procedure (Experience Sampling Method), festival attendees will be questioned and also in-depth interviews will be used to obtain more detailed feedback by the respondents. In addition, on-the-spot observations will be conducted to study whether festival attendees’ perceptions of substance use related measures at music festivals correspond with those actually present at the targeted festivals.
The second part of the study focuses on the same topic, yet now through the eyes of the stakeholders from prevention, harm reduction, care, and law enforcement strategies. Additionally, other festival stakeholders who have direct contact with festival attendees will be implemented in this part, such as festival promoters, bouncers, bar- and toilet staff. Based on the research results, conclusions and recommendations will be formulated.
The research team intends to identify possible gaps and as such 1) provide recommendations to bridge the gap between what is presumed and what is actually practiced; 2) create an opportunity to connect and interact with all stakeholders; 3) discover possible gaps between stakeholders’ goals and their actual strategies/policies; 4) and stimulate open and researched-based communication among all stakeholders, as such increasing efficiency on all operational levels.
Drugs at the festivals: Perceptions of prevention, harm reduction, care, and law enforcement strategies (POPHARS) : final report
Hauspie, Bert - Van Dyck, Edith - Piolat, Jeremie ... et al. Brussels : Belgian Science policy, 2021 (SP3079)
Drugs at the festivals: Perceptions of prevention, harm reduction, care, and law enforcement strategies (POPHARS) : summary
Hauspie, Bert - Van Dyck, Edith - Piolat, Jeremie ... et al. Brussels : Belgian Science policy, 2021 (SP3080)
Drugs op festivals: Percepties van preventieve, schadebeperkende, zorggerelateerde, en repressieve strategieën (POPHARS) : samenvatting
Hauspie, Bert - Van Dyck, Edith - Piolat, Jeremie... et al. Brussel : Federaal wetenschapsbeleid, 2021 (SP3081)
Drogues en festival : Perceptions des stratégies de prévention, de réduction des risques, de traitement et de maintien de l’ordre (POPHARS) : résumé
Hauspie, Bert - Van Dyck, Edith - Piolat, Jeremie ... et al. Bruxelles : Politique scientifique fédérale, 2021 (SP3082)