Ottawa's Fringe Festival is confirming that two of its patrons reported having drugs slipped into drinks during last month's event.
In a statement Monday, festival organizers say they strive to create a space that is safe for everyone, but that drug use is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.
On the final weekend of the festival, which ran from June 13 to 23, there were reports of drugs being put into two people's drinks.
The organization says its taking the accusations seriously and have reported the incidents to the Ottawa Police Service.
Festival policies are being reviewed and organizers are considering their incident-response going forward.
Here is the full statement from the Ottawa Fringe Festival:
"Dear friends and patrons,
At the Ottawa Fringe Festival, we strive to create a space that is safe, and builds a sense of community for the artists, volunteers, audience and staff.
First, we want to thank you for helping make the 2019 Ottawa Fringe the most successful ever, both in terms of ticket sales and artist payout. We’re very proud of the way the festival has grown over the past few years, and we’re looking forward to an even better year in 2020.
In keeping with the spirit of Fringe, we also need to address a serious issue that arose during the festival that compromised the safety and security of the Fringe community. On the final weekend of the festival, there were reports of a drug being put into two individuals’ drinks at the Festival tent. When these issues were brought to our attention, we reported them to the Ottawa Police.
While we haven’t commented publicly on these incidents, we want you to know we are taking them very seriously. To this end, we sincerely apologize if our handling of the issue to date has caused any mistrust and disappointment in the community. We understand that it may take some time to earn back your trust. We are reviewing our policies and carefully considering our incident response going forward.
We also want to thank the members of the Fringe community for raising their concerns and bringing these issues to our attention. We pride ourselves on making the Fringe a safe and inclusive space for everyone, and are committed to doing better going forward to keep our community safe and to do our best to prevent future incidents.
We would ask that you continue to hold us accountable. We welcome complaints and constructive feedback at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are already looking forward to undercurrents and Fringe 2020. We hope we continue to see you there.
The Ottawa Fringe board and staff"