Glastonbury bans 'hippie crack' from 'sacred' festival space

Organisers claim the 'damaging drug' has darkened the festival's atmosphere

Alexander Ward
Wednesday 29 April 2015 11:16
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Glastonbury festival-goers inhale nitrous oxide out of balloons
Glastonbury festival-goers inhale nitrous oxide out of balloons

Glastonbury's organisers aren't known for taking a hard line against drug use in the King's Meadow.

But they have now claimed that laughing gas - colloquially known as “hippie crack” - will not be welcome in one of the areas of the festival.

Seemingly objecting most to the silver canisters left behind by users of the legal high, Liz Eliot, the co-ordinator of Glastonbury’s Green Fields, wrote a statement for music fans warning that nitrous oxide is also nearly 300 times more damaging to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

“It breaks our hearts to see our Sacred Space used this way,” she said, going on to explain that an exploding canister was responsible for a “major injury” on the festival site last year.

The message, which she posted online, says that Glastonbury “has become known as a place where people take nitrous oxide, a damaging drug which pollutes our beautiful field with noise, litter and N20 gas”.

Two tonnes of empty canisters were reportedly picked up in the aftermath of Glastonbury 2014, an apparently unacceptable state of affairs for those who see the King's Meadow area, which is also known as the Stone Circle, as a spiritually important location.

A Home Office campaign last year on the risks of legal highs showed that laughing gas was the second most popular drug among young adults in 2013/14, after cannabis and was taken more widely than ecstasy or cocaine.

Professor Les Iverson, chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) said last month: “There has been a recent upsurge in the recreational use of nitrous oxide and it is now commonly available, often purchased in the form of gas-filled balloons.”

Ms Eliot concluded by appealing to fans to help organisers return Glastonbury to its traditional roots and to refrain from bringing the drug onto the site.

“Each year we come together to share the magic of this truly wonderful festival. Please show your love for the event and each other by showing your appreciation of the land and our spiritual connection to it,” she said.

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“Help us – please do not bring nitrous oxide onto the site and support us by not using it in the King’s Meadow.”

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