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Inside Hardcore Til I Die festival where five revellers overdosed on MDMA

There were dozens of police with sniffer dogs, three layers of security, and signs warning that one pill can kill – but still three men are fighting for life in hospital with suspected drug overdoses.

Thousands of revellers flocked to the Hardcore Til I Die festival on Saturday to lose themselves in a haze of hardstyle dance music booming from a massive stage at Sydney Olympic Park.

Daily Mail Australia attended the festival to see how heightened security in the wake of fives deaths at music festivals in six months in NSW alone would affect the party.

We spoke to revellers, police, paramedics, concerned parents, and were even approached by a young man who wanted to score drugs.

Daily Mail Australia does not suggest anyone pictured in this article did anything illegal, as many festival goers were just out for a good time. 

Thousands of revellers flocked to the Hardcore Til I Die festival on Saturday to lose themselves in a haze of hardstyle dance music booming from a massive stage at Sydney Olympic Park

Revellers seemed in good spirits as they left the venue at midnight after hours of partying on January 26

Revellers seemed in good spirits as they left the venue at midnight after hours of partying on January 26

Australia seemed to be the order of the day for some revellers, who donned hats adorned with the country's flag 

Australia seemed to be the order of the day for some revellers, who donned hats adorned with the country’s flag 

Three men are fighting for life in hospital with suspected drug overdoses at Hardcore Til I Die - including this 22-year-old man

Three men are fighting for life in hospital with suspected drug overdoses at Hardcore Til I Die – including this 22-year-old man

But from boarding the train to Olympic Park it was clear some were undeterred by the string of deaths as passengers openly discussed drugs.

Some relaxed in the afternoon sun on benches outside the venue instead of trying to enter the stadium.

‘I’m f**ked up!’ one person responded when asked how his day was going. 

Some  relaxed in the afternoon sun on benches outside the station, while others were drinking (pictured) in full view of crowds

Some relaxed in the afternoon sun on benches outside the station, while others were drinking (pictured) in full view of crowds

Dozens of police patrolled the line looking for signs of revellers carrying drugs on them before they even got to the doors

Dozens of police patrolled the line looking for signs of revellers carrying drugs on them before they even got to the doors

Glove-wearing officers were seen hauling some revellers aside to to searched

Glove-wearing officers were seen hauling some revellers aside to to searched

An accused MDMA carrier is led away by officers after allegedly being found with drugs on him outside the venue

An accused MDMA carrier is led away by officers after allegedly being found with drugs on him outside the venue

Getting inside was a 45-minute, multi-stage process starting with a long line outside. Revellers gave an almighty cheer when they made it through the door – but there was much still to come.

‘It wasn’t like this last year, last year you could just walk in and underage kids were jumping fences. There’s a lot more cops too. I guess because those people died,’ one man waiting in line said.

First they waited at several checkpoints, one of which had monitors reading ‘police dog operation’ and ‘look after yourself & each other’.

Then the crowd was ushered into the middle of the Sydney Showgrounds dome where more than a dozen police and two sniffer dogs patrolled.

Getting inside was a 45-minute, multi-stage process starting with a long line outside (this is only a view from the middle of it)

Getting inside was a 45-minute, multi-stage process starting with a long line outside (this is only a view from the middle of it)

The checking procedure was so long that the lines had to be broken up into chunks as those in front moved up

The checking procedure was so long that the lines had to be broken up into chunks as those in front moved up

They waited at several checkpoints, one of which had monitors reading ' police dog operation' and 'look after yourself & each other'

They waited at several checkpoints, one of which had monitors reading ‘ police dog operation’ and ‘look after yourself & each other’

Then the crowd was ushered into the middle of the Sydney Showgrounds dome where more than a dozen police and two sniffer dogs patrolled

Then the crowd was ushered into the middle of the Sydney Showgrounds dome where more than a dozen police and two sniffer dogs patrolled

Soon after the first group headed inside, one 18-year-old girl came out crying after she was denied entry.

‘I’m not drunk, I only had a couple of drinks. All my friends are inside,’ she said. 

Several officers came over to check on her but she yelled at them to leave her alone and stormed off. 

Police seemed to rely almost entirely on the two hardworking canines, but at least one person was pulled out of the line every few minutes and frogmarched to a police truck behind a temporary wall

Police seemed to rely almost entirely on the two hardworking canines, but at least one person was pulled out of the line every few minutes and frogmarched to a police truck behind a temporary wall

After IDs and tickets were checked, all pockets and bags had to be emptied on to a table for inspection

After IDs and tickets were checked, all pockets and bags had to be emptied on to a table for inspection

Producing a phone and wallet was seemingly enough to be waved through on one occasion

Producing a phone and wallet was seemingly enough to be waved through on one occasion

Finally, revellers stepped into the sunshine in front of the empty bar and a row of food trucks

Finally, revellers stepped into the sunshine in front of the empty bar and a row of food trucks

Attendees were handed these wristbands on arrival that attempted to warn them of the dangers of using drugs inside

Attendees were handed these wristbands on arrival that attempted to warn them of the dangers of using drugs inside

Police seemed to rely almost entirely on the two hardworking canines, but at least one person was pulled out of the line every few minutes and frogmarched to a police truck behind a temporary wall.

A senior officer said seven people were been arrested in just the first hour after the doors opened. 

After IDs and tickets were checked, all pockets and bags had to be emptied, but staff appeared not to put much effort into this step as producing a phone and wallet was enough to be waved through.

Finally, revellers stepped into the sunshine in front of the empty bar and a row of food trucks that also sold Chupa Chups for an astonishing $2 each (or six for $10).

A screen in middle of dance floor rotated safety messages including 'don't risk your life with drugs' and 'protect your hearing'

A screen in middle of dance floor rotated safety messages including ‘don’t risk your life with drugs’ and ‘protect your hearing’

In the darkened room, revellers wore all kinds of outfits to help them stand out, like this glow in the dark mask

In the darkened room, revellers wore all kinds of outfits to help them stand out, like this glow in the dark mask

One man impressed his friends with glowing gloves which he used to put on a small light show at the back of the dance floor

One man impressed his friends with glowing gloves which he used to put on a small light show at the back of the dance floor

Thousands danced inside the main hall with ear-shattering music blaring, including a remix of I Am Australian in honour of Australia Day

Thousands danced inside the main hall with ear-shattering music blaring, including a remix of I Am Australian in honour of Australia Day

Chupa Chups were selling for an astonishing $2 each (or six for $10) along with the usual inflated prices

Chupa Chups were selling for an astonishing $2 each (or six for $10) along with the usual inflated prices

While hundreds milled around outside eating, relaxing, and staring off into space, thousands danced inside the main hall with ear-shattering music blaring.

Enthusiastic DJs even played a remix of I Am Australian in recognition of Australia Day, and lasers and light shows lit up the otherwise darkened building.

A screen in middle of dance floor rotated safety messages including ‘don’t risk your life with drugs’ and ‘protect your hearing’.

At the back was the medical area, mostly hidden behind a partition, and the ‘Dancewize’ crew who looked after revellers who were struggling but not sick enough to need medical attention.

One young woman was seen sticking her fingers down her throat to make herself vomit into a water refill trough. 

One young woman was seen sticking her fingers down her throat to make herself vomit into a water refill trough

One young woman was seen sticking her fingers down her throat to make herself vomit into a water refill trough

She spent several minutes throwing up voluntarily, insisting to onlookers that she was fine and not in need of help

She spent several minutes throwing up voluntarily, insisting to onlookers that she was fine and not in need of help

A group was taken off the dance floor and spoken to police both inside a room and outside in the festival grounds

A group was taken off the dance floor and spoken to police both inside a room and outside in the festival grounds

The trio was then escorted from the venue under police guard, tracing a path between revellers who looked on

The trio was then escorted from the venue under police guard, tracing a path between revellers who looked on

A bag of a size commonly used to store pills or capsules of MDMA is seen on the ground

A bag of a size commonly used to store pills or capsules of MDMA is seen on the ground

One group of three including a bald, shirtless man with bulging muscles was one of the first to be ushered outside after first being spoken to at length.

The price of MDMA is as high as $50 inside the venue – far higher than the $25 to $30 on the street.

Daily Mail Australia was approached by a man looking to score drugs, not knowing who he was speaking to, less than an hour after entering the festival.

‘Hey do you have any caps? I need to buy some caps,’ he said. When told no, he then asked: ‘Do you know anyone who does?’

Suddenly the consequences became all too real as a 22-year-old man was taken out of the venue on a stretcher and rushed to Westmead Hospital with a suspected drug overdose

Suddenly the consequences became all too real as a 22-year-old man was taken out of the venue on a stretcher and rushed to Westmead Hospital with a suspected drug overdose

A witness told Daily Mail Australia of the man's struggle to stay conscious before being rushed away by paramedics 

A witness told Daily Mail Australia of the man’s struggle to stay conscious before being rushed away by paramedics 

The young man was in a critical condition and had to be intubated in the ambulance as he couldn't breathe on his own. Hospital sources said he suffered a cardiac arrest in the ER and was in critical condition 

The young man was in a critical condition and had to be intubated in the ambulance as he couldn’t breathe on his own. Hospital sources said he suffered a cardiac arrest in the ER and was in critical condition 

Suddenly the consequences became all too real as a 22-year-old man was taken out of the venue on a stretcher and rushed to Westmead Hospital with a suspected drug overdose.

A witness told Daily Mail Australia of the man’s struggle to stay conscious before being rushed away by paramedics.

‘He was sitting there struggling so the medics came over and watched him. He couldn’t keep his head up and there was sweat pouring off him,’ he said.

‘Then he rolled his eyes and just fell sideways and they got the stretcher. Hopefully he doesn’t die or we’ll all be in trouble.’

The young man was in a critical condition and had to be intubated in the ambulance as he couldn’t breathe on his own. Hospital sources said he suffered a cardiac arrest in the ER and was in critical condition. 

These revellers celebrated their enjoyable day and night outside the venue when the event ended at midnight

These revellers celebrated their enjoyable day and night outside the venue when the event ended at midnight

These two women appeared to have had a good time as they happily smiled for the camera at the end of the event

These two women appeared to have had a good time as they happily smiled for the camera at the end of the event

Soon after, a man in his 20s was taken to hospital in a serious condition, followed by young men aged 24 and 20 who were late on Saturday fighting for life in Westmead Hospital.

Another man in his 20s was luckier, recovering in a serious but stable condition at the same hospital.

Outside were two mothers attending an unrelated event in the area who shared their fears for their children who attend music festivals.

Gina Morris said her 19-year-old son was at a recent festival and came face-to-face with a drug overdose victim in a bad way.

‘He and his friend were at the front [of the mosh pit] and had to lift this young girl who was completely lifeless over the fence to security,’ she said.

‘When he saw the news that someone died at that festival, he said he hoped it wasn’t her.’

Several young men were seen attending the Hardcore Till I Die festival in matching Australia Day-themed dresses 

Several young men were seen attending the Hardcore Till I Die festival in matching Australia Day-themed dresses 

One man wore a singlet that read 'addicted' as he approached the doors to the festival early in the day

One man wore a singlet that read ‘addicted’ as he approached the doors to the festival early in the day

Attendees at Hardcore Till I Die were seen dressing appropriately for the Australia Day weekend's sweltering heat 

Attendees at Hardcore Till I Die were seen dressing appropriately for the Australia Day weekend’s sweltering heat 

Ms Morris said he explained that alcohol was too expensive at music festivals, so revellers turned to MDMA which was much cheaper despite the risks.

‘I told him he’d better not be taking pills because if they don’t kill him, I will,’ she said.

Kiralee Mahon said her teenage son is just starting to attend festivals, and heard some people overdosed because they panicked when they saw sniffer dogs and swallowed all their pills at once.

‘We were talking about it today, he says he’s anti-pills but I’m sure every parents has heard that. You think they’re smart enough but you don’t know, there’s a lot of peer pressure,’ she said. 

‘How we convince them to stop, I don’t know. But there needs to be something because five families are broken.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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