Drug use and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated
Thousands of music lovers are set to converge on Tocumwal this weekend for the Strawberry Fields Camping, Lifestyle and Music Event.
The event is expected to provide a fantastic financial boost to the town and wider district, but initial concerns about the event are still resonating in the community.
NSW and Victorian Police will be out in force for the weekend, saying drug use will be their main focus.
They have issued a warning to all ticket holders that drug use and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.
Cobram Police Senior Sergeant Garry Barton said while the festival markets itself as a music, art and camping event, such events are often connected to drugs.
His team will target people crossing the border to NSW for the festival.
He said they would respond according to the risk to ensure the safety of road users and patrons from the Victorian side of the border.
‘‘Events like Strawberry Fields have an established history of risk with patrons using and possessing drugs,’’ Sen Sgt Barton said.
‘‘The risk lies in their behaviour and then the potential for the patron to have drugs in their body whilst driving.
‘‘Victorian police will be working in conjunction with NSW police to ensure the event is safe and road users are safe.
‘‘I urge any patron attending Strawberry Fields to consider the harm to themselves and the potential harm to others by illicit drug use and/or alcohol consumption.’’
Victoria Police objected to the proposal to hold the event earlier this year, when a development application was put to Berrigan Shire Council.
The organisation based its objection and concerns on previous Strawberry Fields events held in Melbourne.
Residents also cited safety concerns and the impact on neighbours when commenting on the plans, but council approved the event subject to strict safety and traffic conditions.
‘‘It is believed that the benefits of attracting significant visitors to the region outweighed the obvious impacts of the festival, particularly on local property owners,’’ Mayor Bernard Curtin.
About 3000 people are expected to make their way to Tocumwal for the four day event, which begins Friday.
The event includes live music, arts and workshops, markets, camping and culture.
Organisers say the patron demographic is fairly broad but focuses on an equal proportion of young men and women aged between 18 and 30 years.
For more information go to http:/ /strawberry-fields.com.au/ strawberry/.