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30th Aug 2021

Several deadly chemicals found in illegal drugs at festivals this weekend

Adam Bloodworth

Drugs testing service The Loop told JOE they were concerned about August’s bank holiday weekend, dubbed the biggest party weekend in two years, due to bad batches of drugs in circulation this summer – here’s what they found on site at UK music festivals

While festivalgoers were relaxing in front of the main stages at festivals this bank holiday weekend, drugs testing service The Loop had been working away backstage, testing samples of the illegal party drugs in circulation.

They discovered that drugs being sold as illegal upper MDMA have been mis-sold containing a variety of other dangerous substances, confirming their fears.

Pills and MDMA samples tested over the weekend have been found to include chemicals such as eutylone, clephedrone and cocaine, putting partygoers at increased risk of bad medical side effects.

The main adulterants [substances within other substances] found in samples The Loop believe were sold as MDMA were 4-CMC, eutylone, 3-MMC and a large amount of caffeine.

One tweet sent by the organisation over the weekend confirmed that “multiple eutylone samples [had been found] in pill, powder & crystal form… @lostvillagefest… Resulting in medical concerns

“Eutylone is a potent cathinone which can last >24 hours, causing anxiety, insomnia & paranoia.”

Commenting on clephedrone/4-CMC found in pills over the weekend, another infographic tweeted by the organisation read: “This cathinone is a potent stimulant and reportedly missold as M.D.M.A.

“It is 1.5-2x stronger than MDMA with similar duration. Effects include: increased euphoria, energy and hallucinations, although less empathogenic and more stimulating. Pink Ferraris [the pills containing the cathinone] have been linked to medical problems on-site this weekend…”

Loop co-founder Fiona Measham explained that drug supply issues during the pandemic have exacerbated the problem, and a greater number of young people who have low tolerance to drugs are likely to be at risk.

This is because the pandemic halted the party for so many teenagers who are only now experimenting for the first time.

“This weekend is an exciting time but we are concerned if people haven’t been out and about partying for 18 months they will have lower tolerance if they happen to be taking them, so there’s a greater risk of overdose,” Measham told the BBC.

“A bit like we’ve seen Nando’s run out of chicken and McDonald’s run out of milkshakes, the drugs supply chains have been interrupted by Covid, Brexit and a shortage of lorry drivers.

“A combination of those things mean there’s a shortage of certain party drugs and suppliers are selling other drugs instead – such as cathinone instead of MDMA.”

The Loop have been on site at Lost Village festival this weekend, and have been posting infographics sharing information about the harmful mixtures of drugs being found.

The organisation’s advice to partygoers following them on social media has been to #TakeQuarterAndSipWater, and #CrushDabWait, to help those taking drugs have time to see the effects of a small amount first.

The pioneering organisation also revealed they weren’t invited to test drugs at Creamfields and Reading and Leeds festivals, which also took place this weekend, but they have confirmed they will be on site at Parklife festival in Manchester next weekend.

The Loop typically invites drug takers into their tent for a non-judgmental discussion about ways to minimise harm, but this year the drugs testers have temporarily been moved backstage and weren’t in direct contact with punters.

They tested drugs that were seized by medics, welfare, police and security teams. MANDRAKE, a Manchester-based licensed harm reduction laboratory, were also testing samples of drugs this past weekend at the Manchester Pride festival.

Measham’s fears follow two drug-related deaths across the country since clubs and large-scale events reopened.

And in one isolated incident in Bristol, 20 people were taken to hospital in one night earlier in summer, all believed to have taken high strength drugs in circulation.

Follow The Loop to find out more about their services and follow their updates. has contacted Reading and Leeds and Creamfields festivals to find out why The Loop weren’t invited on site this year.