Knockout Festival deaths: Jason Lee dies after hardstyle rave


A devastated loved one has relived the panicked final words of a festivalgoer who collapsed and dropped dead after attending an electronic music festival at the weekend.

Jason Lee, 26, fell unwell and called his friend Julia An at the Knockout Outdoor festival at Sydney Olympic Park on Saturday. 

The pair last spoke at 11.44pm. Moments later, he collapsed. 

‘His last breaths were used on telling me he will send his location and to come find him, unfortunately he didn’t make it past that point and had collapsed.. all by himself,’ she said.

Jason Lee, 26, died after attending an electronic dance festival in Sydney on Saturday 

‘After hours of trying to locate him – I received a call saying he was in critical condition at the hospital.. When his mum and sister got there, he had already passed.’

Mr Lee, who passed away at Concord Hospital, was one of two people who died after attending the hard dance music festival.

Police are investigating whether Mr Lee had taken drugs before his death. 

Another festival attendee, 21, later collapsed at a hotel in Chippendale and died after being rushed to St Vincent’s Hospital. 

Detective Superintendent Simon Glasser said police were waiting for autopsy reports before concluding how the men died.

‘It’s not specifically being treated as a suspected drug overdose,’ Det Supt Simon Glasser told reporters on Sunday. 

‘We look at all avenues. Anything could have happened.

While police would not confirm the deaths were drug overdoses, Superintendent Glasser warned about the dangers of taking illicit substances.

‘This shows that people can die at music festivals,’ he said.

Mr Lee was one of two men who died after attending Knockout Outdoor Festival (pictured) at Sydney Olympic Park

‘Drugs can have some horrible consequences. When you mix that with the heat of yesterday, it’s an added risk factor that can cause adverse affects.’

Ms An described Mr Lee as the ‘most loyal friend, son [and] brother’ and said he was supporting his single mum who has health conditions. 

She said he was the ‘type of guy who would take the shirt off his back’ for anyone in need. 

‘Everybody who had the fortune of being his friend knows he was the most stand up guy,’ she said.

‘He was always looking out for other people and being considerate of them, lending an ear, putting others before him.’

‘She said Mr Lee ‘never shared his burdens’ and even in his last moments, ‘he could barely ask for help’.

Ms An said Mr Lee had only just recently his 26th birthday, now his family were planning a funeral. 

She called on the community and everyone who had been touched by Mr Lee’s ‘one-of-a-kind presence’ to help his family with the financial costs of laying him to rest.

‘Jason has touched upon so many people’s lives, and everybody who was his friend I’m sure can agree,’ she said.

Mr Lee is pictured with his friend Joey Hungg at his birthday celebration five weeks ago

Mr Lee is pictured with his friend Joey Hungg at his birthday celebration five weeks ago 

‘Just like Jason, his mum is trying to figure things out on her own.

‘Nobody should see their child go before them.’

The GoFundMe smashed its $35,000 target within 24 hours of being launched – raising $36,411 by Monday morning. 

Meanwhile, friends have flocked online to pay tribute to the young man whose life was tragically cut short.

Joey Hungg said she had woken up on Sunday to a ‘nightmare’.

‘I’m in shock and still can’t believe this is real. Jason I’m so thankful to have known you and thankful for the memories we made.

‘Thank you for being there for me each and every time I needed you.

‘I never thought I would have to say goodbye so soon and I really don’t want to. 

‘I miss you so much already panda’.

Friend Michel Fu- Strelnikov said words could not express Mr Lee’s ‘ kindness, compassion and generosity towards everyone around him.’

‘Jason was family and left an indelible mark on all of us, he had a heart of gold and selflessly always put others needs above his own,’ she said.

Some 53,000 people attended Knockout Outdoor festival on Saturday

Some 53,000 people attended Knockout Outdoor festival on Saturday 

‘The memories will forever be etched in our hearts and as we mourn we will also celebrate the beautiful life he lived.’

Joanna Wei described Jason as a ‘gentle giant’ who had the ‘most beautiful soul.’

‘He always had so much love and time for those around him and wouldn’t think twice about going to ends of the earth for them,’ she said.

‘During one of our last phone calls, he mentioned that he was only a year from finishing university and was so excited to graduate. He was constantly trying to better himself, not for his own sake, but because he wanted to provide for his family and spoil his friends.’

The double tragedy comes as the summer festival season kicked off over the weekend with Sydney hosting the Knockout festival and Listen Out in Centennial Park.

More than 70 people were charged over drug offences at both of the festivals.

Around 85 people out of the 27,500 people who attended Listen Out were allegedly detected with drugs, according to NSW Police.

Meanwhile, Knockout Outdoor festival drew in 53,000 people, with 27 charged with drug possession and four with supplying illicit substances.

In the wake of the deaths, revellers have flocked online to report a bad batch of drugs circulating around Sydney. 

Pictured: drugs allegedly seized by officers at the festivals over the weekend

Pictured: drugs allegedly seized by officers at the festivals over the weekend

In a statement on Sunday, NSW Police stressed the men did not die at the festivals – but later in the evening.

‘Officers attached to Auburn Police Area Command responded to Sydney Olympic Boulevarde, Sydney Olympic Park, just before 1am (Sunday 1 October 2023), where NSW Ambulance paramedics were treating a man.

‘The 26-year-old was taken to Concord Hospital, where he died,’ the first statement read.

‘Police were called to St Vincent’s Hospital about 1am today (Sunday 1 October 2023), following the death of a man.’

‘The 21-year-old man was reportedly treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics at a hotel on George Street, Sydney, before being transferred to hospital where he died.’

Detectives will investigate both cases and autopsies will be carried out to determine how the men died.

Reports will be prepared for the coroner.