Reading & Leeds issue fresh drugs warning amid “rising ecstasy deaths”

"There is no safe dose"

Reading & Leeds Festival has issued a fresh warning about the use of drugs at their festivals, noting that “ecstasy deaths appear to be rising year on year”.

The twin festivals will return from August 26-28, with the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Dave and The 1975 all headlining.

Both Reading and Leeds outline their drugs policy on their respective websites, which states: “This festival does not condone the use of drugs. It is illegal to buy, sell or take drugs. Drugs enforcement laws are as applicable on-site as anywhere else in the UK.


“We want our festivalgoers to know above all else that we are here to help and you can come to us for help without fear of getting in trouble.”

The policy also has a specific section on ecstasy-related deaths, which on Reading’s website reads: “Ecstasy deaths appear to be rising year on year. There appears to be a link with the amount of MDMA found in tablets more recently. In 2005 each pill contained around 80mg of MDMA (an average adult dose is 80-120mg). Average pill strengths are now around 160mg MDMA i.e. twice an average adult dose and pills are frequently tested upwards of 300mg MDMA.

festival camping
General view of the arena and main stage at Leeds Festival 2019 at Bramham Park on August 24, 2019 in Leeds (Picture: Katja Ogrin/Redferns)

“In addition, your body weight, hormone levels, using other drugs or alcohol, and your underlying health can all have a significant impact on how you react to a drug. Your friends might have taken the same drug and not had any ill effects.

“There is no safe dose.”

Both festivals add that members of staff will be on hand to direct festivalgoers to the on-site Medical Tent or Welfare Tent should they require assistance or care.


“If you or someone you are with has a bad reaction and needs medical help, talk to the nearest member of staff immediately,” it continues. “Let the medics know what has been taken. You could save your friend’s life. We guarantee you will not get in trouble. People who are overdosing can go downhill very quickly so don’t delay in seeking help.”

Last weekend, the organisers of Boardmasters were forced to warn their attendees of dangerously high-strength MDMA that was found on-site at the festival.

Another recent warning was sounded after pills that were tested at Secret Garden Party 2022 were found to contain more than 2.5 times the typical amount of ecstasy.

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