The two deceased were found in a tent at the Rabbits Eat Lettuce festival at Cherrabah Resort In Elbow Valley, near Warwick.
The two deceased were found in a tent at the Rabbits Eat Lettuce festival at Cherrabah Resort In Elbow Valley, near Warwick. 9 News

Festival's controversial clash with police before deaths

THE controversial music festival where two young revellers tragically lost their lives faced a ferocious legal battle with New South Wales Police months before it shifted to the Southern Downs.

Feelings of shock and sadness gripped festival-goers as they poured out of Rabbits Eat Lettuce, where a 22-year-old woman from Nambour and 24-year old man from Maleny were found dead in a tent yesterday morning.

The pair were among about 3500 people who attended the four-day festival.

Cherrabah Resort was chosen as the new home for the event, which also relocated its sister-festival 'Bohemian Beatfreaks' to the Southern Downs venue in November.

After a protracted court battle with New South Wales police, Rabbits Eat Lettuce Pty Ltd won an appeal to host Bohemian Beatfreaks at Kippenduff, near Casino.

But the ruling laid out a set of strict conditions like additional search points in the festival and searching prior to entry into the entertainment area if the festival went ahead.

 

Festival-goers Lizard Aroyan, Julia Hughes and Jake McKenny have expressed their shock after two young people were found dead at Rabbits Eat Lettuce festival near Warwick on the Southern Downs.
Festival-goers Lizard Aroyan, Julia Hughes and Jake McKenny have expressed their shock after two young people were found dead at Rabbits Eat Lettuce festival near Warwick on the Southern Downs. Marian Faa

At that time, organiser Erik Lamir told the Daily News the restrictions were "heavy and ludicrous".

"We moved to Queensland for Easter based on what we had to deal with last November and the NSW Government's approach to festivals at the moment," he said.

Mr Lamir said the Southern Downs Regional Council, police and other emergency services had been supportive of the April event.

Speaking to the Daily News this afternoon, Warwick Police inspector Brian Cannon said there was a large contingent of police onsite at Rabbits Eat Lettuce over the long weekend.

"We have had a number of officers conducting proactive patrols during various parts of the day," Insp Cannon said.

Rabbits Eat Lettuce has since released a statement, expressing sympathy for families who now mourn the tragic loss of two young lives.

"Our thoughts and concerns are predominantly for their well-being and privacy during this time," the statement reads.

Warwick Inspector Brian Cannon said there was a large police present at the festival this weekend.
Warwick Inspector Brian Cannon said there was a large police present at the festival this weekend. Marian Faa

"It is truly heartbreaking to lose some beautiful souls that we consider part of our extended family."

While police have not confirmed the cause of the deaths, speculation over the involvement of drugs has run rife through the festival community.

Music lover Julia Hughes told the Daily News it was feared the pair had suffered an overdose.

The tragedy sparked calls for changes to pill-testing legislation.

"It was a good party and if they add pill testing this would not be an issue," Lizard Aroyan said.

"I can't see one downside to it."

Mr Aroyan said the festival was "full of the most loving people you have ever met" and waved off the idea the festival could shut down.

A Maleny man and a Nambour woman were found dead in a tent at the Rabbits Eat Lettuce fesitval near Warwick this morning.
A Maleny man and a Nambour woman were found dead in a tent at the Rabbits Eat Lettuce fesitval near Warwick this morning. 7NEWS Sunshine Coast

When asked about the event's controversial history, Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie said investigations its safety was a matter for police.

"It is incredibly sad for the families of these two young people that have lost their lives," CrDobie said.

"While we don't know the full circumstances, police do suspect drug usage and that is extremely sad.

"I think that it will make everyone pause and make people think about the way they undertake their own lives and entertainment practices."

But other festival-goers said the deaths would not stop them from attending events.

"The festival people don't encourage you to take drugs or do anything dangerous," MsHughes said.

"There are kids that go there."


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