The region's much-loved music festival is ready to rock with three days of celebrations and once again revellers are urged to take care of themselves and each other. Meredith Music Festival kicks off today amid vocal support from event organisers to introduce pill testing at such festival events. The Australian Festival Association has been calling on the Victorian government to implement drug checking services as recommended in a coroner's report, following an investigation into the 2022 death of a 26-year-old man from an MDMA pill called Blue Punisher. Meredith Music Festival organisers made clear in September 2023 that if drug checks were made legal in Victoria, they would work to introduce safe and accessible checks for guests. "We assess the effectiveness of our programs by how well they help participants make more informed decisions about their own safety and the safety of others," a spokesperson said. Ballarat Community Health has also been among dozens of frontline health organisations lobbying the state government to introduce drug checking and an enhanced public alert system through the use of mobile and fixed pill testing. BCH chief executive officer Sean Duffy has told The Courier pill testing was controversial but, as a community health organisation, it was important to look at harm minimisation strategies - especially to save lives. Mr Duffy said if people were to take part in illicit drug taking, they should be informed with what they were taking. Spilt Milk in Canberra marked the return of on-site pill testing a fortnight ago, reintroduced for the first time since that city's 2019 Groovin the Moo. This was not legal for the Ballarat edition of Spilt Milk on December 3. Seven people were hospitalised from the event, including one case of hypothermia. Other reasons confirmed were for stomach pain, chest pain, migraine and a seizure. Police told The Courier in 2022 the Meredith crowd was typically pretty well behaved. Anyone travelling through the area, particularly on the Midland Highway between Ballarat and Geelong, is urged to allow for extra travel time. Meredith Music Festival makes clear in its pocket companion for festival goers who intend to consume alcohol and other drugs to not mix drugs, to not take drugs on your own, to never source drugs at Meredith and if anyone was unwell after taking drugs, to alert first aid and welfare teams. Ballarat Community Health is urging people to consider all the basics this festival season: keep hydrated by drinking water; reapplying sunscreen; wearing protective clothing, hats and sunglasses; and, checking weather alerts, especially for Thunderstorm asthma risks, which could trigger an asthma flare-up. They say the best way to "party safe" also includes: Meredith is set to reach a top of 34 degrees on Friday with temperatures to drop to a maximum of 16 and 18 on Saturday and Sunday. Showers are forecast throughout the festival with the likelihood of 20 millimetres of heavy rain to fall on Saturday. The UV index is set to extreme for the weekend.