STREET SCENE: Woodford Folk Festival 2016.
STREET SCENE: Woodford Folk Festival 2016. Tessa Mapstone

The surprising problem police face at Woodford Folk Festival

GATHER together tens-of-thousands of people in close quarters for six days of fun, music, art, and heat and you'd expect some trouble.

Woodfordia has temporarily become Australia's 67th largest town, filled with a cross-section of people competing for the best spots a gigs, shady places to cool off and camp-site showers, but police at the festival have found their biggest problem has been patrons not wanting to go home.

Day shift forward commander, Senior Sergeant Richard Downie, said in many cases day-ticket holders or overnight campers were simply confused about when they were supposed to leave.

"Some people will fall asleep here, they might have too much to drink and fall asleep in the long grass and then they wake up and they're still here, and they go and try and find breakfast," he said.

"Or you'll get families that'll camp overnight, pack up their camp gear, and think its like a motel (because they can be up there until 10am), they'll come in and buy breakfast and then they leave. And technically they're not supposed to be here but common sense dictates that they're not Ned Kelly, so you know, we just deal with them."

 

Cases of people entering the festival without having tickets have been treated more seriously, with fines of $243 being issued to people who sneak into the grounds, or who are found with fake wrist bands.

Snr Sgt Downie said police had also dealt with a small number of patrons found with minor drugs, as he would have expected at any festival.

"It (Woodford Folk Festival) is not the free-love, hippy drug thing that some people might think it is," he said

"When you go out and you look at the crowd there's a lot of families and you know people are here to enjoy themselves.

"It's a really laid back atmosphere here and no-one's here to cause trouble.

"It's not like a straight-forward music festival that you might have say in the city, where you've got a different demographic to what you've got here, we're seeing what you would in normal society here.

"By far people are looking after themselves and they're doing the right thing, and it fits in with what the place is about."

Woodford Folk Festival runs until Sunday, January 1


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