Boonstock Music Festival Death: Woman Dies From Suspected Overdose, RCMP Says

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BOONSTOCK MUSIC FESTIVAL
The RCMP in B.C. said a woman from Alberta died at the Boonstock Music Festival in Penticton. | Boonstock

Police in B.C. are fearing more deaths after an Alberta woman died of a suspected drug overdose at the Boonstock Music and Arts Festival in Penticton.

The 24-year-old from Leduc "became distressed while dancing at one of our stages" early Saturday morning, said festival organizers on Facebook.

She was taken to hospital where she died of a suspected overdose, said Penticton RCMP.

Drug overdoses sent two other people to hospital in critical condition, while at least a dozen others were treated for the same thing, said RCMP.

"The Penticton RCMP have a very real concern for public safety at this event and fear there may be further overdose deaths if attendees do not take steps to safeguard their own health," said the police news release.

"Police are asking all Boonstock attendees to refrain from ingesting unknown substances and to ensure that they remain hydrated in the hot, dry, dusty conditions of the event grounds."

Penticton Western News reported that 17 people were transferred from the festival to Penticton Regional Hospital between 7 a.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Saturday, according to Interior Health spokeswoman Grace Kucey, who had no details on the nature of their cases.

The RCMP said it will not release the victim's name until her next of kin are notified.

"We are deeply saddened by this news and we know that our communities will band together and keep her and her loved ones in our thoughts," said Boonstock organizers in a statement.

Thousands are expected to attend Boonstock, where dozens of artists are scheduled to play.

The event runs from August 1 to 3.

Less than a week ago, the festival was denied a provincial liquor licence due to unaddressed safety concerns. That led to the withdrawal of major sponsor and liquor company, Bacardi.

This is the first year for Boonstock in B.C. It was held in Gibbons, Alta., north of Edmonton for the past nine years, but last year, more than 100 residents in the area complained about noise, vandalism, trespassing and general safety. Subsequently, county officials unanimously voted to boot the event.

Boonstock Music Festival 2014, Penticton, B.C.
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