Drug Death Teen’s Mum Calls For More Festival Testing

The mother of a teenage girl who died at a festival has called for more onsite drug testing.

Ellie Rowe, an 18-year-old who attended Boomtown festival as a volunteer for Oxfam, tried Ketamine for the first time with her friend.


Ellie Rowe


Ellie did one line of the drug while drinking and lost her life on August 8 2013.


Now mother of Ellie, Wendy Teasdill has said that all festivals should be performing drug testing.


Wendy Teasdill, 60, from Somerset, Glastonbury said ‘what the drug testing tents do is create a space and opportunity for conversations around drug taking to happen: why do they take them, what are they taking and what are the alternatives?’


‘Responsibility begins with information. If we expect the people of tomorrow to be responsible, then we need to make the drug conversation happen everywhere.’

Ellie and mum Wendy

Boomtown founder Lak Mitchell stated in a harm reduction video that was released last year, ‘over the years we have has some really heart-breaking situations and it affects us more than you can imagine.’


Boomtown have had four deaths since it started in 2009 due to drugs.


Since the festival introduced drug testing facility ‘The Loop’, they haven’t recorded any deaths.

‘Had drug testing been available when Ellie was at Boomtown she would definitely have gone to get it tested because she was always curious and wanted information. She also loved to talk.’

Lak Mitchell stated, ‘From where we’ve been to where we’re now, it’s an incredible step forward. This year I feel so proud of what we’ve achieved. I’d like to expand the drug testing facility.’


Boomtown Fair, photographed by Boomtown

Administrator and Senior Harm Reduction Worker at The Loop, Sonja Lenihan said ‘The brief interventions carried out by our professional healthcare volunteers equip service users with the knowledge required to navigate their drug use in a safer manner. The impact of such knowledge can ease strain upon not only the individual but their also families, healthcare services, police and events teams.’


‘we can start with the festivals but we don’t need to stop there.’


Wendy Teasdill said ‘The more people can talk about drugs the better. Because they’re illegal the knowledge is either swept away, dismissed or disregarded. Education is about understanding the world around us and making clear decisions.’