Organizer dismisses intoxicated medics concern

Festival I Land Sound.

PHOTO: Indrek Kasesalu / Piidivabrik

The Alarm Center received a call from the security chief of the I Land Sound music festival in Saaremaa at 3.06 on Saturday morning to request a new team of medics for the festival. The head of security told the center they were forced to send the previous team home after its members got drunk at the festival.

Festivalgoer Kamilla Lepik read about Saturday’s events in the news.

“We were a company of five, and I remember talking about how none of us had seen a single medic during the festival, unlike at the Viljandi Folk Festival where they make rounds,” Lepik said.

She said that the festival area was large and dimly lit.

“It could have been a long time before anyone noticed someone in need of help lying in the bushes. That is why we thought it peculiar there were no medical staff in sight,” Lepik said.

Lepik and her friends did not see anyone in need of medical assistance.

“There were plenty of risk factors. The event took place on the beach, people were drinking in direct sunlight,” she said.

Before the head of security’s decisive phone call, the Alarm Center had received two calls from the festival’s aid station. At 11.48 p.m. on Friday, the medical team needed an ambulance to help a 27-year-old woman suspected of drug use. A few hours later, another call was made to seek help for a 17-year-old woman who was drunk. The third call made by the security team concerned the medics themselves.

“As far as I know, it is the first time anything like this has happened,” said spokesperson for the Alarm Center Heiko Leesment.

Head of Alarm Center West Küllike Uzjukin was critical. “When buying tickets to the event, every guest trusts the organizer with their health and wellbeing. It is extremely regrettable something like this was allowed to happen, and I hope everyone involved will draw the necessary conclusions,” she said.

It is hard to say what kind of conclusions the tipsy medics and the organizers that relied on them have drawn. Main organizer Paap Uspenski refused to comment on both Saturday and Monday.

“I have much more important things to do. It is not a priority for me. It is in the past; the festival is over, and everything is fine. We can talk about it a week from now,” Uspenski told Postimees yesterday.

Just like Postimees, the Estonian Health Board was also on the trail of the initial medical team and festival organizers yesterday.

Chief specialist of the board’s emergency medicine department Kalev Pahla said that the agency will contact the organizer to determine who offered medical services at the festival and whether they were certified to do it.

“If we have reason to believe the service was not of high quality or safe, supervision proceedings will be launched. Pahla said that medics are not allowed to work in a state of intoxication.

What are the requirements for medical assistance at public event? The board admitted that there are no fixed requirements.

“The organizer needs to base their decisions on risk analysis and ensure local medical assistance as necessary,” Pahla said.

The security plan sent to Saaremaa rural municipality by the organizers of the I Land Sound festival reads that the festival has an aid station. People who need medical assistance should be directed to the station or to Orissaare ER.