Festival Drugs: Meet the Dealers

2019, Drugs  -  90 min Leave a Comment
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A three-part investigative documentary produced by BBC Three, Festival Drugs: Meet the Dealers goes undercover to infiltrate the criminal organizations that routinely prey upon young festival goers.

In the early moments of the first segment, The Party Traffickers, the filmmakers enter the home of a dealer who specializes in the manufacture of party drugs. Keeping his face hidden from view, the dealer discusses the intricacies of his operation, how he exports shipments out of the country, and his propensity to mix MDMA with rat poison to keep costs low. Later, the dealer dons a body cam to document how he manages to traffic his drugs outside of the United Kingdom.

In Episode 2, The Corrupt Guards, documentary host Livvy Haydock combs the grounds at various music fests to determine how these illegal substances are sold and distributed, and how alert or complicit the security guards are in the process. A licensed festival security guard turns whistleblower for the cameras, and details how these "protectors" are frequently paid off to either turn the other cheek or actively participate in the sale of drugs. Even security guards who aren't on the take are hindered by checkpoint policies that are too easily compromised.

The final segment of the series, The Deadly Pushers, provides a comprehensive overview of the entire well-oiled operation - from booking the festival tickets to packaging the drugs to arranging for their undetected arrival on the event grounds. We learn about the scourge of super-strength drugs that have been making the festival circuit; thus far, they have accounted for nearly 100 deaths in the U.K. alone. Gang violence has also been on the rise in relation to this growing party drug industry.

Moment by moment throughout Festival Drugs: Meet the Dealers, Haydock enters one precarious scenario after another to uncover a significant criminal operation in action. Given the evidence of drug paraphernalia in each setting she and her crew visits, the dealers could face life in prison if the police were to barge in. Facing the tremendous risk of exposure, it's remarkable how much access they provide Haydock and her cameras. It's a rare glimpse into an underground world that's been hiding in plain sight.