Boardmasters issues warning over dangerously high-strength MDMA on-site

The so-called 'Donkey Kong' and 'Stone Island' pills were found through routine checks of amnesty bins

The organisers of Boardmasters were forced to warn attendees of dangerously high-strength MDMA on-site at last weekend’s festival.

The event took place in Newquay, Cornwall between August 10-14, with headline sets coming from George Ezra, Disclosure and Kings Of Leon. Other acts on the bill included Idles, Bombay Bicycle Club, Pale Waves and The Wombats.

As Mixmag reports, festival staff tested two batches of high-strength pills over the course of the five days. The outlet stated that organisers printed out notices in a bid to alert punters to the so-called ‘Donkey Kong’ and red ‘Stone Island’ pills that’d been discovered.


“These pills are potentially dangerous and can make you very unwell,” the sign read. “Please do not take them.”

It added: “If you have taken something and feel unwell, go to our medical centre immediately or speak to the nearest steward. They’ll look after you and you won’t get in trouble.”

Mahalia at Boardmasters 2021
Mahalia at Boardmasters 2021. CREDIT: James North

Images of the ecstasy pills in question appeared alongside the message, per Cornwall Live. The publication said that the warnings were mainly displayed in Boardmasters’ Dockyard area – an electronic/dance-centric venue where DJ sets run late into the night.

The tablets are said to have been discovered via routine checks of the festival’s amnesty bins, where people could hand in drugs before entering the site without facing any consequences.

Back in June 2021, the UK government was urged to back substance checks at such music events after a report by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee (DCMS) warned of a surge in drug-related deaths.


Reading & Leeds subsequently launched an extensive drug outreach campaign at last year’s twin festivals.

Recently, a new warning was issued after pills tested at Secret Garden Party 2022 were found to contain more than 2.5 times the typical amount of ecstasy.