One of Scotland’s leading concert and festival organisers has called for an overhaul of drugs and alcohol education to help raise awareness of the dangers of taking them at major events.
DF Concerts, the company behind the T in the Park and TRNSMT festivals, says it faces mounting problems dealing with teenagers who are under the influence and are unaware of the risks.
The company, which has also staged shows at Murrayfield, Hampden and the Hydro, is having talks with the Scottish Government and NHS to try to tackle the issues.
Colin Rodger, head of event management at DF Concerts, said it was “far more challenging than it has ever been” to stage festivals and concerts because of the number of young people putting themselves at risk.
The industry was facing growing problems due to drugs and alcohol being “much more easily accessible,” a lack of knowledge about the damage they can do, and many parents being naive about the social lives of their children.
He said: “One of the biggest challenges for us is managing the younger element coming to concerts. There is a completely different approach to having a good time. We want music fans to come to our concerts because they want to enjoy the band and be mutually respectful of the other people there.
“We have to work very hard to communicate some of the stuff, which you would assume would be taught in a parental role. There is naivety at a parental level.
“We’ve started having discussions at government level and with the NHS about the education happening in schools or, to be honest, the lack of education in schools about drugs and alcohol. No matter how well organised you are and how much security you have, society’s problems are very difficult to keep outside.
“Society should be helping us to prepare these kids for the future and understand the risks. That’s not there at the moment.
“There are still a lot of sensible young people coming to concerts and enjoying themselves, but there are elements that make it far more challenging than it has ever been to run events. This is about finding the right vehicle and getting the right message out there to make people more cautious about what they’re doing.”
A spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “Young people need to be able to make informed choices about their lives and giving them access to accurate information from a range of sources is vital.
“However, it’s important that people – of any age – don’t disregard their safety or health while at live events where people can often drink more than usual.
“It is also important that promoters make it clear to concert goers that they won’t be admitted if they are drunk when they arrive.”