Now that the festival is well and truly under way, the inevitable questions are being asked of the new security measures. The infamous fence has indeed kept thousands of ticketless people out.
[r-zone1]No repeat of the estimated 100 000 people who cleared the fence in 2000 (so far only one reported successful contravention). Not that this means that no one else has tried. Festival goers with battering rams were busy on Wednesday and yesterday about 100 others charged the fence in another attempt to get in. Humourous attempts at leg ups and pole vaults have given way to more malevolent acts, with reports of many ticket holders being mugged, at knife point or under threat of violence, for their tickets on the approach to the festival. Police are warning people arriving today to be especially vigilent and to keep their tickets well out of sight.
[l-zone2]Despite the effective increased security, including CCTV cameras, criminal incidents are unavoidable during an event of this size. One festival goer has suffered a fractured skull after being struck over the head with an iron bar on Thursday night. Upwards of 80 crimes have been reported and 50 arrests made, mostly drugs related. But the main struggle seeems to be protecting the arriving festival goers. These are the people also at risk of being duped by the flood of counterfeit tickets that are in circulation outside the perimeter of the festival.
[r-zone3]Whilst the majority of festival goers are probably enjoying the levels of safety and lack of objectionables, not everyone is happy. Stall holders and traders are saying that the reduced numbers means a dramatic decline in sales. And some people have their own personal gripes against the security, such as the four men who allege they were attacked and robbed by three security guards when they tried to bring their van onto the site. They were stopped after failing to show valid tickets and claim money and a camera were stolen and that they all required hospital treatment. No charges have been made.
[l-zone4]It’s not all bad news though! The sun continues to defy all weather reports and is blazing on and promises to see us through another great day featuring Ian Brown, No Doubt, Starsailor, White Stripes, The Charlatans and The Stereophonics amongst others. And our tents are still where we pitched them. So we’re happy.