Police have slammed the organisers of Omega Festival, an “unauthorised” rave held over the weekend at at Newton Boyd, west of Grafton on the NSW North Coast, after a 24-year-old punter was found dead in his car.
David Gallagher was found dead in his car on Sunday afternoon. Emergency services were called to the private property in Newtown Boyd just after 2pm. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, “drug paraphernalia” was found in Gallagher’s car.
NSW Police have criticised the conduct of festival organisers, who proceeded with the event despite the death of the Green Pigeon native, who died of a suspected drug overdose just 200 metres from where dancing revellers were partying on.
It’s understood the music kept playing as police, who required a crime scene warrant to enter the property, took Gallagher’s body away and had his vehicle towed. Detective Inspector Darren Jameson of the Coffs Clarence Local Area Command was highly critical of festival organisers.
“My concerns are these rave event organisers show no regard for the safety of people,” Inspector Jameson told Fairfax, insisting he’d never seen anything like it in his 26 years of policing.
“They need to be shut down and stopped. Evidence of their disregard shows how they failed to stop the event despite someone dying in front of them.” Police had previously attempted to shut down the party when it was scheduled for Tabulam, west of Casino.
After organisers secured a new location, they urged punters not to reveal the new site on social media, advising them that they would be emailed with directions. Police discovered the new site after receiving complaints of unusually high traffic in the area.
The official website for Omega Festival does not detail the event’s emergency facilities, though Insp Jameson said organisers did not have an event management plan, risk assessment, evacuation, or traffic plan.
“They had two medical people on site at the event but I would consider them to be inappropriately trained and resourced for this type of event and amount of people,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Omega organisers have also received criticism from members of the public. “So disgusting and disrespectful to continue,” wrote one commenter on the festival’s official Facebook page, echoing the sentiments of many.
“Scumbags! Not only do you disregard lawful intervention in your illegal commercial event. You keep the party going after a young person dies!” another wrote. “Oh, and thanks for making sure all future NSW doofs are cracked down on hard in the future because of your criminal negligence.”
(Photo: chloepaver / Instagram)