Police operation tunes up for Tamworth’s country-music festival
A police operation got underway yesterday to ensure Tamworth’s annual country music festival is a safe, fun and family-friendly event.
Operation Ashgrove will be in place for the duration of the Country Music Festival, Tamworth, which started yesterday (Friday 15 January 2016) and runs until Sunday 24 January 2016.
Now in its 44th year, this is the largest music festival in the Southern Hemisphere, with a program featuring 700 performers, 2800 shows and 120 venues.
Dozens of additional police have been deployed to work in the northern-NSW city during the festival.
“It is a hugely popular event, and we are expecting big crowds again this year,” Operation Ashgrove Commander, Superintendent Fred Trench, said.
“The atmosphere in Tamworth throughout festival is high-spirited, and while the vast majority of people are well-behaved, police will act swiftly if you choose to do the wrong thing,” he said.
In particular, police will be targeting alcohol-related criminal and anti-social behaviour.
“We encourage people to have a great time while they’re in Tamworth; we just ask that you look out for each other and know your limits in terms of alcohol consumption.
“Police will not tolerate alcohol-fuelled violence, and will be enforcing alcohol-free zones in the CBD.
“We’ll also have additional Traffic and Highway Patrol officers rostered on to conduct random alcohol and drug testing, so if you make a plan to drink, plan not to drive,” Supt Trench said.
Local Liquor Accord agreements will also remain in place for the duration of the festival – including a 12.30am lockout for all licensed venues; a ban on spirits shots; and no energy-drink mixers or high-alcohol pre-mixed drinks can be purchased after 10pm.
More than 50,000 people are expected to descend upon Tamworth for the festival, with many of them camping at sites around the city.
“Community safety is our number-one priority, and we urge festival-goers to take care of themselves and their belongings while visiting Tamworth for the festival,” Supt Trench said.
Police offer the following safety and security tips for campers:
• Plan your trip in advance and if possible, make a booking;
• Get to know your surrounding campers;
• In large crowds, be mindful of your own safety and security as well as that of people around you;
• Leave valuables at home – if you must take valuables with you, ensure they are secured and kept out of sight;
• Lock your caravan or campervan when unattended;
• Where possible, use a lock to secure your tent;
• Where possible, use a portable alarm in your tent or camper;
• Plan for changes in weather conditions;
• Ensure valuables are not left in unattended vehicles;
• Report any suspicious behaviour to police.
For comprehensive event details, visit the official festival website: www.tcmf.com.au
Special-event traffic information can be found at: www.livetraffic.com.