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Community policing plan in place for Blues Festival 25 April 2008

THE Police are joining forces with Laxey Commissioners in a bid to ensure that the Bushy’s Big Wheel Blues Festival is an outstanding success. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the event which regularly attracts internationally renowned artists to the Isle of Man.

The headline acts and support bands will perform at the Laxey Pavilion Ballroom during the evenings of Friday, May 2, and Saturday, May 3. There will also be a free family event featuring local blues acts and children’s entertainment in Laxey Glen Gardens on Saturday afternoon.

The Bushy’s Big Wheel Blues Festival has proved to be very popular in recent times, with large crowds gathering to watch legendary performers such as Hamilton Loomis, Sherman Robertson and Papa George in action. The village also becomes extremely busy and a community policing plan is being put in place to try to minimise any problems associated with drunkenness or anti-social behaviour.

Officers will maintain a visible presence throughout the weekend and Laxey campsite will be closed in an attempt to avoid any late-night disturbance to local residents. The organisers of the festival are also arranging for transport to take people into Douglas at the end of the concerts on Friday and Saturday night.

Inspector Helen Mason of the Eastern Neighbourhood Policing Team said:

‘The Blues Festival is a tremendous event for the Island in general and Laxey in particular. ‘We certainly don’t want to spoil anybody’s fun, but we do want to avoid a repeat of problems that have occurred in the past. ‘We have a good working relationship with the festival organisers and will adopt a very friendly approach to policing the event, with officers on foot patrol around the village and mingling with the crowd at the venue. We want everybody to enjoy themselves while ensuring that Laxey residents are not unduly affected by the influx of people.’

The Police and Laxey Commissioners are urging festival-goers to organise transport home after the performances. In addition to buses being laid on by the event organisers, it is hoped that enhanced transport cover will be available to prevent people congregating in the village in the early hours of the morning. This will be particularly important as festival-goers will not have the option of staying overnight at the campsite.

Clerk to Laxey Commissioners Jackie Merrick said:

‘The campsite will not be open this year so we would ask people to make provision to get home afterwards. The commissioners are very much in favour of the Blues Festival and want to encourage responsible enjoyment of an event that does so much to raise funds for charitable causes.'

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