Police are reminding country music fans to plan their trip ahead of time and travel safely as they make their way to the Tamworth Country Music Festival this week, NSW Police say.
Tens of thousands of fans are expected to descend on Tamworth when the 10-day festival begins on Friday (20 January 2017) that includes nearly 3,000 events and 700 performers.
A high-visibility and mobile policing strategy will be in place for the duration of the event; the largest annual music festival in the Southern Hemisphere.
Operation Commander, Acting Superintendent Jeff Budd, said police will be prioritising safety to ensure this world-class event maintains its family-friendly reputation.
“This is the largest annual event hosted in Tamworth, during which we see the city’s population almost double, so we’re focused on making sure the festival is safe and enjoyable for everyone involved,” A/Supt Budd said.
“The festival sees Tamworth transformed into a large-scale street party with major events and buskers performing throughout the 10-day period.
“Music fans are reminded that there are a number of alcohol-free zones throughout the Tamworth CBD for the safety and security of all festival-goers and the wider non-event community,” A/Supt Budd said.
“If you’re caught with alcohol in one of these areas officers will confiscate it and you may face further police action.
“We’re not here to spoil anyone’s fun but we will not tolerate behaviour that risks the safety of other music fans or members of the public,” A/Supt Budd said.
“There will also be Licensing Police patrolling venues in and around the festival. They’ll be targeting alcohol-related crime, anti-social behaviour and under-age drinking,” A/Supt Budd said.
“The Tamworth Liquor Accord also stipulates a 12.30am lockout for all licensed venues. In addition, scanning devices have been introduced so if you play up you could be banned from the festival, or from the CBD precinct, for up to 12 months.
“The message is simple – think before you drink – and keep an eye out for your mates so you can all enjoy the festival safely.”
More information about alcohol-free zones and the Tamworth Liquor Accord can be found at: www.tamworth.nsw.gov.au.
Motorists are reminded to plan their trip to Tamworth ahead of time and expect delays during their journey.
“Given the significant ingress of music fans into Tamworth this week and a number of road closures that will remain in place during the festival – we’re urging drivers to plan ahead, expect delays and exercise patience,” A/Supt Budd said.
“Some areas of the Tamworth CBD will be restricted to vehicles with appropriate council authorisation only, which must be displayed at all times.
“We suggest that fans utilise the Festival Express service where possible that’s available to shuttle you around the different areas. This is especially important if you’re planning to drink,” A/Supt Budd said.
“The Traffic and Highway Patrol will be performing random breath tests and anyone caught driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be arrested and dealt with accordingly.
“Both marked and unmarked cars will also be targeting dangerous driver behaviour – particularly speed-related offences – on roads in and around Tamworth and the main thoroughfares leading into town.”
For up-to-date traffic information and details of road closures, visit www.livetraffic.com
A/Supt Budd also reminded those camping during the festival to look after one another and take simple precautions to avoid being a victim of crime.
“Camping is often seen as an integral part of the overall festival experience so with thousands flocking to the grounds on offer we’re reminding people to be mindful for their safety and the safety of others,” A/Supt Budd said.
“Keep an eye on your property, don’t leave valuables unattended and in an emergency contact security, local police or call Triple Zero (000).”
Additional tips for campers:
• Plan your trip in advance and if possible, make a booking;
• Get to know your surrounding campers;
• Leave valuables at home – if you must bring valuables, ensure they are secured and kept out of sight;
• Lock your caravan or campervan when it’s left unattended;
• Where possible, use a lock to secure your tent;
• Where possible, use a portable alarm in your tent or camper;
• Plan ahead for changes to weather conditions;
• Ensure valuables are not left in unattended vehicles; and,
• Report any suspicious behaviour to police.
More information – including an event guide, site maps and available accommodation – can be found on the official festival website: www.tcmf.com.au