Rave licence refused over drug concerns after death of teenager

Councillors rejected the licence application for the event following the death of Maya Nager at a previous concert.

Edinburgh 90s rave headlined by Vengaboys has licence refused over drug concerns after death of teen Police Scotland

A 90’s rave planned in Edinburgh next month is set to be cancelled after the council refused to grant a licence over concerns about drugs.

Police objected to the “high risk” dance music event going ahead at the Royal Highland Centre, where previous shows have resulted in multiple hospitalisations and arrests.

One councillor said she was worried about the volume of incidents in the past, adding it is “our duty to ensure public safety”.

It comes less than a month after 19-year-old Maya Nager died after collapsing at the Terminal V music festival also hosted in the Ingliston venue. Police Scotland said they are still investigating the circumstances of the teenager’s death.

Supported by all but one member of Edinburgh City Council’s licensing sub-committee, the decision not to approve a licence has thrown plans into chaos – and is likely force organisers to refund thousands of tickets, which have been on sale since September. 

The over-18s ‘festive extravaganza’ was planned for December 3 and advertised a packed line-up including Vengaboys, TTF, DJ Sammy and Ultrabeat.

Organisers TF Events and Highland Centre Ltd said ‘additional measures’ were planned to curb any drug misuse and dealing, such as increased numbers of stewards and medical staff and more stringent searches on entry.

However, PC Greig Stephen from the Edinburgh Police Division said there have been too many drug-related incidents at the Royal Highland Centre (RHC) previously to justify another rave. 

Speaking at the meeting on Monday, he reported that public safety officers said the 5,000-capacity event would be similar to the ‘Ultimate 90’s Rave’ held at the RHC in April which was marred by drugs and criminality.

“At that specific event, which was a similar capacity to what’s being proposed today, there were 23 medical cases, one of which was taken to hospital for drug-related concerns and one of these medical cases was a 16-year-old having consumed ecstasy,” he said. 

“There were 73 positive drug searches, the majority for cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy and welfare providers assisted  65 people, mostly with drug and alcohol intoxication, there were also three arrests made for crime and disorder.”

Earlier this year he warned the committee against granting another licence for Terminal V, telling councillors attendees have ended up in intensive care and placed in medically induced comas overnight as a result of drug overdoses, whilst hundreds were arrested for supplying or possessing narcotics.

Responding to the organisers’ pledge to go ‘above and beyond’ to mitigate anyone coming to harm, councillor Cathy Fullerton said: “Why has it taken you so long to up your game in respect of drug awareness and stewarding?

“If you look at the catalogue of previous events, going above any beyond was maybe appropriate then as well.”

Councillor Fullerton added: “I’m still concerned about the drug-related incidents at previous events and I note the last one at Terminal V has not been recorded yet.

“Regardless of the age profile, whether it will be higher or not, I do not think the committee should be granting this application. It’s our duty to ensure public safety and with the record of previous events we have before us public safety must surely be at risk.”

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