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Police give positive review to Laxey blues festival and fringe event 26 May 2009

A police review of the 11th Big Wheel Blues Festival and fringe event over the May bank holiday has hailed it a success.

Only two arrests were made, both of which were not directly connected with the festival, and incidences of crime were minimal.

Eastern Neighbourhood Policing Team expressed their gratitude to all the community partners who assisted in ensuring that crime and disorder was kept to a minimum, while ensuring that festival goers enjoyed the festival.

The review from Laxey’s community police officer PC Andy Reed found that both the Big Wheel Blues Festival, which took place on Saturday and Sunday May (2-3), during the daytime and evening, and its associated fringe event – which started on the evening of Friday (May 1) through to the Saturday evening (May 2) – staged at various pubs around Laxey, was a success in police terms.

This year saw two arrests made by police during the festival compared to three arrests during the event in 2008. Both arrests this year were for people found in breach of bail conditions and were not directly connected with the festival.

One complaint was received of criminal damage to a motor vehicle that was parked in the Commissioners’ car park adjacent to Shore Road. Another noticeable reduction was in the amount of young people reported and dealt with for being in possession of alcohol, and drunkenness.

PC Reed said:

‘This year’s blues festival and its fringe event have been a resounding success for all those involved and the village of Laxey.
‘There was a great atmosphere amongst the people who attended this year’s festival and it was clear that the vast majority came to the village to listen to the wide range of good music being provided by both the official event and the fringe acts. At its busiest I would estimate Laxey had over a thousand people in and out of the venues.
‘From a policing perspective we have seen another reduction in the number of arrests made compared to the previous years.
‘I put this down to several things, firstly the image of the Laxey Blues Festival being the Laxey ‘booze festival’ has finally been eradicated and thus the minority of under 18s and adults who had disrupted this event in previous years by attending the village, getting drunk and generally behaving in an antisocial manner, stayed away.
‘Secondly in conjunction with our partners – the Laxey Village Commissioners – the Laxey campsite was closed again this year. In previous years the campsite has been a focal point for that minority.
‘Lastly I must thank the Department of Tourism and Leisure bus division and their staff whose drivers gave their own time to provide many extra buses in and out of the village from 10pm through to 11:15pm. Without their help we wouldn’t have been able to disperse the festival goers as efficiently as we did.’

Advance planning for the blues festival weekend took place over several months involving festival organisers, Laxey Village Commissioners, Isle of Man Fire Service, and Bus Vannin.

Inspector Helen Mason, head of Eastern Neighbourhood Policing Team, commented:

‘I am delighted that the months of pre-planning paid off in terms of a virtually crime free festival enjoyed by residents and visitors. I think the wonderful weather from the Friday to Sunday ensured a good turnout and I’d like to thank all our community partners who enabled the community policing plan to be carried out so effectively. I trust we can build on this year’s success to ensure similarly peaceful festivals in the future.’

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