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Community policing enhanced for blues weekend in Laxey 28 April 2009

POLICE are working closely with Laxey Commissioners and various community agencies in a bid to ensure another successful Big Wheel Blues Festival.

International acts perform at the event which attracts hundreds of visitors and residents to the former mining village on the east coast of the Isle of Man.

Headline acts will perform at the Laxey Pavilion Ballroom during the evenings of Saturday (May 2) and Sunday (May 3). There will also be a free family event featuring local blues acts and children’s entertainment in Laxey Glen Gardens and in the Pavilion from 1-5pm on Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting.

Head of Eastern Neighbourhood Policing Team, Inspector Helen Mason, will co-ordinate policing for the festival. She said:

‘Last year’s festival went really well and we’re looking to build on that in partnership with the event organisers, the Commissioners and the other agencies involved. Laxey is a very picturesque village and is an ideal setting for the festival. The community of Laxey, on the whole, enjoys the festival and enjoys playing host to such an event. I would ask that visitors to the village do respect the local residents and behave in a responsible manner. Any incidents of anti-social behaviour and drunkenness will be dealt with robustly. This event is a really enjoyable experience and we want to make sure it stays that way for visitors and residents alike.’

A community policing plan is being put in place to try to minimise any problems associated with drunkenness or anti-social behaviour. However, police emphasise that last year’s Blues Festival and the fringe event were a resounding success with few arrests and a dramatic reduction in crime compared to other years. 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.

Laxey Village Commissions have been working with the police to ensure the festival’s success. Clerk to Laxey Commissioners Peter Burgess said:

‘The Laxey campsite will not be open this year and camping will not be permitted in any of the public spaces in the village so we would ask people to make provision to get home safely 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.’

Any profits from the festival are donated to the Red Cross.

Laxey Commissioners also ask members of the public to act responsibly and Keep Laxey Tidy by using the litter bins provided.

Other agencies involved with the policing of the event include the Forestry Division of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, which will patrol plantations to ensure no illegal camping takes place.

Additional late night buses will be running to assist people to return to Douglas. Bus Vannin has arranged an additional late bus to Douglas, departing Main Road Laxey at 11.15pm on the Saturday and Sunday nights – details will be displayed at Laxey bus stops. Festival organisers have also laid on an additional late night coach for concert ticket holders departing for Douglas 15minutes after the concerts finish at midnight (12.15am) both nights from the Main Road stop opposite the Total Garage.

Blues Festival committee member Pete Christian is looking forward to the weekend. He said:

‘This is the 11th consecutive annual festival and we are enormously grateful to all those who enable it to take place, including our sponsors Cains and Bushy’s along with Peter Norris Music, the police, Laxey Commissioners and the Red Cross. Our aim is to keep blues music live on the Isle of Man. Blues music today is vibrant and varied, and we are pleased to offer yet another line-up of top class international artistes plus a showcase of local musical talent throughout the afternoons. It will be blues with a wide range of influences including traditional, soul, jazz and reggae.’

More information on the festival website: www.bigwheelblues.com

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