EVEN amid the party atmosphere, the shadow of death looming over this year’s T in the Park can not be shaken off.

Two young teenagers have lost their lives at Scotland's largest music festival, and the images released of Peter MacCallum and Megan Bell tell a story of young happy lives cut absurdly short. Peter MacCallum, from Lochgilphead in Argyll, all cheeky smiles and wavy hair; Megan Bell, smartly dressed for a big night out in County Durham.

Police Scotland said the deaths were not suspicious. Officers are looking into the possibility that they were drug-related.

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Little wonder then that so many festival goers - may the same age or just older than the two 17-year-olds - paused their partying on the site at Strathallan Castle.

“People are definitely more aware," said Stephanie Ward, 29, from Glasgow. “We’re all looking out for each other, which is really nice to see.”

“It’s still crazy - really scary,” says Rory MacLennan, 18, from Aberdeen.

Police in high visibility vests, walk in pairs, offering smiles of reassurance or steely stares depending on who is nearby. Drug dump bins for kids seem all the more unnerving this year.

But the sad truth is that this is a festival, not a wake, and so the music and the laughter and the drinking goes on.

“On the bus out, everybody was talking about it, but once you’re here, as long as you’re sensible, it doesn’t really impact on you much,” admits Kelly, a glitter-strewn 33-year-old who has travelled up from Fife for her first T in the Park.

“And the rain hasn’t spoiled our day either,” she says, as she hits the nail on the head about what most festival goers are really fretting about. Mud not drugs.

Katie Smith, 24, from Edinburgh at the event with her friend Claire Cook, 25, wore ankle boots caked in mud, which has spread as far as her knees. It's music that is on her mind. Having already taken in acts including Fatherson, they were eagerly looking forward to Calvin Harris’ headline set, expected to draw the biggest crowd of the night.

Dundee teenagers Toni Walker, 15, Nadine McLaren, 15, Bethany Kiddie, 15 and Chloe Cahill, 16, all first-timers, admit it the festival has opened their eyes to a whole new adult world.

“You see lots of very drunk people, but that’s not surprising,” says Walker. “We saw this guy who couldn’t even walk in a straight line - that was quite funny,” she adds before the group giggles off into the crowd.

According to Police Scotland, 23 people had been arrested for various minor offences as of Saturday evening.

The number of visits to the hospital tent had reached 280 - barely half of the figure at this point last year.

David Hill, 45, from Kilmarnock, says: “The guys that I work with laugh at me for coming to T in the Park every year as they think I’m too old but music has no age barrier.”

But even while different generations of music lovers enjoy their weekend as staff stand shivering in the rain, miles away two families are united in grief.

Megan Bell collapsed at the Slam tent, medics working in vain to revive her. Aunt Joanne Thompson posted on facebook: “Our gorgeous bubbly niece has fallen asleep. I’m sitting here wishing it was all a bad dream.”

Ellena Davies, a friend of Peter MacCallum, also posted a message. It read: “RIP to one of my longest friends - so heartbreaking to witness something so horrible.”

Festival director Geoff Ellis said of the deaths: “It’s cast a shadow over everything backstage. Police, festival staff, medics - it’s hit us all hard. T in the Park is like a big community, like a family, and when something like this happens it’s like a death in our family.”

But as the tail lights of a CityLink bus disappear out of view, the words of at least one festival-goer still ring hollow in the air as she muses: “It’s sad .. but it hasn’t ruined my weekend or anything.”