Il­le­gal for­est rave ends with Tom Jones clas­sic

Western Mail - - NEWS - IAN LEWIS news­desk@waleson­

ABIG clean-up has taken place after an il­le­gal rave brought thou­sands of peo­ple to a Welsh for­est – un­til the event was ap­par­ently brought to an end by a Tom Jones song.

At its peak over the bank hol­i­day week­end, more than 4,000 peo­ple from all cor­ners of the UK were re­port­edly at the site, known as Graig, in Brechfa For­est be­tween the vil­lages of Brechfa and Llan­fynydd in Car­marthen­shire.

De­spite the huge num­ber of peo­ple in the area, Dyfed-Powys Po­lice said no ar­rests were made. Po­lice were at the en­trance to the forestry across the week­end pre­vent­ing any more peo­ple from ar­riv­ing, and a po­lice he­li­copter was over­head to mon­i­tor ac­tiv­i­ties on the ground.

The techno and hard dance party – dubbed UKTEK – was even­tu­ally brought to an end on Mon­day morn­ing when Tom Jones’ hit Green Green Grass of Home was played over the speak­ers – of which there were sev­eral on lor­ries.

By Tues­day a hand­ful of rave­g­o­ers re­mained at the site to clean up the mess.

A walk to the site in the af­ter­math of the event revealed rub­bish, drug para­pher­na­lia and aban­doned ve­hi­cles – in­clud­ing a Jaguar XJS – lit­ter­ing the nar­row track lead­ing to where the rave took place. Ap­proach­ing the quarry along a track that winds its way for more than a mile to the top of the for­est, large dis­carded gas can­nis­ters could be seen, along with rub­bish and burnt out camp fires, although some piles of rub­bish had been bagged up by con­sci­en­tious rev­ellers and left on the side of the road.

It all started shortly be­fore mid­night on Satur­day night. The loud mu­sic could still be heard boom­ing from the re­mote lo­ca­tion into Mon­day morn­ing.

As more and more peo­ple poured into the area thanks to so­cial me­dia and word of mouth lo­cally, the track lead­ing to the quarry be­came grid­locked with cars.

Jeanette Hall who has lived on the edge of the for­est for 32 years, said: “We have never seen any­thing like this here be­fore.

“Peo­ple were com­ing to my house want­ing food and wa­ter and oth­ers said they needed to get home be­cause they needed to be back in work but were stranded.

“A few oth­ers were out of it, you could tell, they were just lay­ing in the hedges.”

She added: “I even had girls squat­ting in my front gar­den to go to the toi­let so I moved them on.”

Back at the top of the road at the rave site one at­tendee, who would only give his first name, Robin, said: “I live lo­cally and was in the pub when we saw hun­dreds of cars go­ing past at around mid­night on Satur­day, so we fol­lowed them.”

Speak­ing about the week­end, he said: “There must have been at least 4,000 here and I was the one that ac­tu­ally ended the rave.”

He said it was in the early hours of Mon­day morn­ing when he made a de­ci­sion to play a clas­sic track over the speak­ers.

“I thought what song would work well, and then it came to me, I put on Tom Jones’ Green Green Grass of Home and ev­ery­one loved it.

“I thought be­ing in Wales and hav­ing peo­ple from across the UK there, what bet­ter song to calm things down and wind it all up?”

Nat­u­ral Re­sources Wales said raves such as these could have an ad­verse im­pact on forestry, to­gether with deny­ing ac­cess to a beauty spot for fam­i­lies over the week­end.

Rus­sell Jones, area man­ager for Nat­u­ral Re­sources Wales, said: “The im­pact these il­le­gal raves can have on our forestry is dev­as­tat­ing. In this case it has ru­ined the for­est for ev­ery­one else, and made it a very un­safe place for peo­ple to visit dur­ing a busy bank hol­i­day and half term.”

Jonathan My­ers

> The clean-up be­gins after the rave

> Peo­ple tak­ing part in the rave in the Brechfa area of Car­marthen­shire. The voice of Tom Jones, be­low, marked the end of the rave

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