T In The Park opens as police issue drug warning

T in the Park opened its gates to early bird music fans today, as thousands of campers descended on Balado Park throughout the afternoon ahead of the official start of the event tomorrow.

Festival-goers enter the campsite ahead of this year's T in the Park music festival, near Kinross, Fife. Picture: Jane Barlow

• T In The Park festival opens to revellers ahead of official opening tomorrow

• 85,000 expected to travel to Kinross-shire festival as police and organisers issue warnings over fake ecstasy

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A record 35,000 Thursday campers came through the gates, with 85,000 people expected to attend the Kinross-shire festival over the weekend.

Festival-goers enter the campsite ahead of this year's T in the Park music festival, near Kinross, Fife. Picture: Jane Barlow

However, they were met with high profile warnings against taking potentially-fatal fake ecstasy tablets currently in circulation.

The festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, with acts such as R&B star Rihanna, indie-folk act Mumford & Sons, US rock act The Killers and electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk all performing.

The weather is expected to remain dry and warm throughout the weekend, in contrast with last year’s festival which was dogged by torrential rain and narrowly avoided being a washout, with parts of the site reduced to ankle-deep mud.

Festival Director Geoff Ellis opened the campsite gates yesterday afternoon, handing the first 20 fans to enter the campsite a VIP upgrade in celebration of the festival’s 20th year.

He said: “Welcoming the first campers through the gates is my favourite moment of the festival every year. There was a phenomenal atmosphere today, and a great sense of excitement amongst the campers. The sun is shining, and it’s been a glorious start to our 20th year festivities.”

However, Police Scotland repeated their warnings to festival goers concerning batches of fake ecstasy pills that have been linked to seven deaths in Scotland in the past two months - the most recent of which occurred this week, when an 18-year-old woman in West Dunbartonshire died after taking the drug at a party.

It will be the first time the nationwide single force has handled official duties for the festival, and Chief Inspector George MacDonald warned the public to stay away from the potentially lethal tablets, after a batch was uncovered during a drug raid in Aberdeen.

He said: “The exact contents of these particular pills are unknown at this time.

“What we have found is that they contain more than one class C drug as well as another dangerous substance, PMA.

“Public warnings have been issued recently in relation to the dangers of taking ecstasy, or indeed tablets being passed off as ecstasy.

“While these tablets do not feature the distinctive Rolex logo found on those in the Glasgow area they do contain the same toxic substance.

“The impact of taking a drug you do not know the exact content of can be extremely dangerous and fatal in some cases.

“Taking it just once can be one time too many and I would urge people to avoid any such pills or drugs and report any information to the police.”

A spokeswoman for the festival said that in addition to the festival’s usual security measures, drug warnings and amnesty bins, there will be specific messages about the fake pills posted throughout the site, in particular the entrance, warning people “not to take the risk” .

There will also be mobile digital sign boards flashing up warnings over the weekend, while safety messages will be broadcast over the festival’s speaker system.

However, she emphasised that festival organisers have always maintained a zero tolerance policy on drugs: “Drugs are not tolerated at T in the Park. Like all other areas of the country, they are illegal at the festival, and this includes so-called legal highs.

“We have a zero tolerance policy, and we advise festival goers not to take the risk. We work closely in collaboration with police teams and medical teams, as well as security, on site to ensure that music fans are coming here for a safe and enjoyable weekend.”

Police Scotland also reminded people arriving at the site that smoke canisters, smoke pellets and flares will not be tolerated at the event after stewards confiscated five smoke pellets as another one was let off outside the venue yesterday.

A police spokesman said; “Such behaviour inside the event will result in a wasted ticket, a wasted journey and further action by police officers.”