Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn has said there will be heightened anti-drug dealing measures at Leeds Festival (cap. 75,000) this year.

Speaking at an inquest into the death of 16-year-old David Celino, who died after buying and taking MDMA at the 2022 edition of the festival, Benn said there will be an increase in the number of security officials and support hubs on site at the 24-27 August event, while search dogs will be stationed at all entrances.

He told the inquest that while Festival Republic will closely monitor the number of under-18s at the festival he does not believe they should be prevented from attending. Benn reportedly told the court, “It’ll be no surprise to know that I don’t believe that there should be a bar on 16 or 17-year-olds.”

Benn, who is understood to have told the inquest that Celino’s death had taken an emotional toll on him and the event’s staff, said, “[The festival] will operate a drugs operation aimed at weeding out dealers and having them removed from site, that’s a very significant change.”

He is quoted by the BBC as promising that the aim at this year’s event is to make sure no one who camps at the festival will be more than 200 metres from a support hub.