Soundsplash festivalgoers in Raglan were forced to wait for hours in the hot sun without water. Photo / Supplied
Raglan’s Soundsplash festival ended in a trip to the emergency department for a 16-year-old suffering from severe sunburn, heatstroke and blisters, her angry mum claims.
The Herald has been reporting on shambolic scenes at the drop-off spot for teenage festivalgoers who say they were left for up to seven hours without water or shade on Friday.
Parents have described the situation as the “worst experience” of some youngsters’ lives.
Two parents claimed festival security guards made lewd comments to their children upon discovering a cucumber inside their backpack.
Others said security yelled obscenities, and demanded the young people sit down amid the crush in a fenced-off drop-off area.
One parent, who wished for her daughter and herself to remain anonymous, said her daughter’s face was “unrecognisable” from sunburn and she was shaking and nauseous before even getting into the festival.
A spokesperson for Soundsplash said allegations about the sexual comments would be investigated by the organisation contracted for security.
“Security for the festival is provided by a security contractor which engages independent investigators who review any complaints relating to event security,” the spokespersons said.
“They will respond directly to the complainant once their investigation has been completed.”
Organiser Brian Ruawai earlier told the Herald water had been provided for the teens after they were made to empty their own bottles upon entry to the drop-off point at Raglan Airfield.
A spokesperson said the festival’s on-site medics confirmed no one was taken to hospital from the event.
“And less than 30 people out of the 8000 attendees this year sought treatment on-site for heatstroke or significant sunburn symptoms.
“Aloe vera gel was provided in our medical tents for the treatment of minor sunburn which statistically was in line with treatment numbers for previous years.”
However, the parent who spoke to the Herald claimed her daughter’s father drove to Raglan to pick her up as she was “too unwell”.
[She was] very sick and in a lot of pain.”
The parent claimed doctors had to treat the sunburn, which had blistered and become infected, with steroids and antibiotic cream.
“Forty-eight hours after this ordeal it was hard to even recognise her face. Her entire face was burnt, blisters everywhere.
“These young teenagers look forward to this festival all year. My daughter says it was the worst experience of her life. The organisers need to make some changes before someone dies,” she said.
“To have thousands of people stand in a mosh pit for five-plus hours with no water or shade is unacceptable.”
Ruawai earlier defended the lack of shade provided and explained the long waits were caused by a bus used to shuttle attendees to the venue breaking down.
He said delays were further exasperated by the requirement for drivers to take their mandatory breaks.
“Our event communications encourage all attendees to bring sun protection and appropriate clothing for an outdoor festival and I can confirm that water has been available all day,” Ruawai said.