This year’s Creamfields festival has been tainted by the tragic death of a young man from Warrington.
Cheshire Constabulary worked closely with the event organisers and their security team, the borough councils of Halton and Warrington and other partner agencies since the start of the year in a bid to ensure that all festivalgoers had a safe and enjoyable time.
However, a 19-year-old man from Warrington died in the early hours of Saturday 24 August after falling ill at the four-day dance music festival in Daresbury.
An 18-year-old man from Blackpool also fell ill at the annual festival over the bank holiday weekend.
He is currently in a critical condition in hospital.
Assistant chief constable Matt Welsted, who led the policing operation for Creamfields, said: “Around 70,000 people go to the dance music festival every year to have a good time.
“Sadly, one young man who attended this year’s Creamfields has lost his life and another who went to the event is in a critical condition in hospital.
“Everyone at Cheshire Constabulary – many of whom worked in and around the Daresbury site over the bank holiday weekend to support the event management company running the private event and its security team – are deeply saddened by this tragic news.
“Our thoughts are with the two young men’s families at this extremely difficult time.”
The men were both assessed by a doctor at a medical tent at Creamfields before being taken to hospital via ambulance.
A post-mortem examination on the 19-year-old’s body has yet to take place.
ACC Welsted added: “We are treating these incidents extremely seriously.
“We have completed our initial investigation into the 19-year-old’s death. A file will be prepared for the coroner and we are continuing to support their work to establish the cause of death.”
With one man having died and another being in a critical condition in hospital, officers will work with the festival organisers in the coming weeks and months to examine the circumstances leading up to these tragic events to see what, if anything, can be done to help make future festivals safer and more enjoyable for all.
ACC Welsted said: “A lot of work went into planning the police support operation for Creamfields 2019, in collaboration with the event organisers and their security team, the two local authorities, other partner agencies and local residents.
“An important part of this is ensuring we have the right officers and staff with the right skills working in and around the Creamfields site during the festival.
“The majority of festivalgoers enjoyed the weekend safely and within the law.
“However, 37 people were arrested at Creamfields, while a further 59 people are being investigated regarding offences allegedly committed at the festival.”
The majority of arrests and other investigations relate to the possession of illegal drugs with intent to supply them.
Other offences at Creamfields being investigated include assaults, possession of weapons, fraud, driving offences, money laundering, theft, the use of counterfeit money and being drunk and disorderly.
ACC Welsted said: “We worked alongside the event organisers and security staff at Creamfields to prevent illegal drugs from getting into the site.
“For example, there were drugs dog at the entrances and festivalgoers were given every opportunity to use the surrender bins to dispose of any drugs or weapons before going through the extensive search process.
“However, some people still chose to try to get away with bringing illegal drugs into Creamfields.
“As a result, 68 people are being investigated in relation to illegal drugs at Creamfields and facing the prospect of significant penalties, including jail time.”
David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, added: “Creamfields is one of the biggest events of its kind in the country and it requires a specialist response from officers and partner agencies to ensure the majority of festivalgoers can enjoy the event safely.
“However, I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of one young man at the festival and that another young man was taken ill and remains in a critical condition. My thoughts are with their families at this tragic time.
“I will be seeking a debrief from the Chief Constable and council partners who licence the event so we can continue to learn lessons from how the event was managed, to ensure that it is as safe as it possibly can be and that any disruption to our local communities is kept to an absolute minimum.
“This would not have been possible without the support of officers, staff and volunteers who supported the policing operation during this extremely busy bank-holiday period.”