A ‘Drug Overdose’ at Beyond The Valley Was Probably a Snake Bite

It's been revealed that 20-year-old Callum Edwards, who died of a suspected drug overdose last week, had tiger snake venom in his system.
Gavin Butler
Melbourne, AU
A music festival crowd and an Eastern Tiger Snake
Image via Shutterstock (L); Flickr user Catching The Eye, CC licence 2.0 (R)

Last week it was reported that a 20-year-old man had died from a suspected drug overdose at Victoria's Beyond The Valley music festival. Callum Edwards was flown to hospital in a critical condition on Saturday, December 29, before dying three days later. A Victoria police spokesperson said at the time that the circumstances of his death were yet to be determined. It has now emerged, according to a report by NewsCorp, that those treating Callum in hospital found venom in his system.


While police are still preparing a report for the coroner, Callum’s older brother Liam has discredited claims that a drug overdose was to blame, telling the Herald Sun that “Tiger snake venom was found in his system.” Callum’s mother Lynette further stated that “We definitely know there was a reptile involved.”

The circumstances leading to the incident are not yet fully understood, and it remains unclear whether there were any traces of drugs found in Callum’s system at all. Which is significant, given the way in which his death has been absorbed into the dialogue surrounding pill testing. Callum’s case has been repeatedly compared to that of Joshua Tam—the 22-year-old who died at Gosford hospital after taking an unknown substance at the Lost Paradise festival—as part of a broader conversation around whether the Government should allow drug testing services at music festivals and events.

Liam Edwards, 21, had reportedly planned to meet Callum at Beyond The Valley, but upon arriving at the festival discovered that his brother had already been flown to hospital after collapsing. Police have said that "the circumstances surrounding his death are yet to be determined, however it is not being treated as suspicious.”

Callum's funeral is being held today in his home town of Mansfield, Victoria, with hundreds of friends and family expected to be in attendance.

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