The sad news cast a shadow over what was hailed as the largest edition of the event.
In a tragic turn of events at the Strawberry Fields festival near Tocumwal, a 51-year-old man was found dead on the final day of the festival on Sunday, November 19.
According to Daily Advertiser, the incident occurred after emergency services were summoned to the scene at Tuppal Rd around 10:50 am, where Murray River Police District discovered the body and promptly established a crime scene.
The sad news cast a shadow over what was hailed as the largest edition of the event, which kicked off on November 17 and drew over 12,000 attendees this year. The 14th edition of the festival featured a mix of over 85 artists, including Australian talents like Barkaa and Pretty Girl, as well as international acts such as Ezra Collective.
Sadly, it’s not the first such incident at Strawberry Fields; a 24-year-old man from Shepparton passed away at the 2019 edition of the festival after medical staff were told he had consumed multiple substances including GHB, MDMA and cocaine before he was pronounced dead at as a result of a heart attack.
Organisers, amidst the unfolding events, declined to comment on the latest fatality, citing the ongoing police investigation.
However, in a media release distributed before news of the death had emerged, organisers said the event had exceeded expectations and felt like a triumphant return after the COVID-19 pandemic and last year’s floods saw the festival cancelled.
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Festival director Tara Benney said, “To grow from a festival of 1000 attendees in 2009 to 12,000 patrons in 2023, bringing over $3 million into the local economy each year, is something we are incredibly proud of,” festival director Tara Benney said.
“We are so grateful to the small army of hard-working emergency services, crew and volunteers who help the event run smoothly and keep patrons safe and supported.”
“A festival of this size is the same as a regional town — we always have learnings and a desire to evolve in a way that positively impacts our patrons, crew and the broader local community.”
“NSW police maintained a presence on-site throughout the weekend and worked collaboratively with our team,” she said.
Investigations into the man’s death are ongoing and a report is set to be prepared for the coroner, however, police say the death isn’t believed to be suspicious.