Unity and education needed to reduce festival crime

Crowds at T In The Park 2010 by Robert Kelly
Crowds at T In The Park 2010 by Robert Kelly

A panel of festival organisers and police have spoken about the need for greater unity between events and a better education for fans to reduce crime at UK events, during today's (Thursday) UK Festival Conference.

Jim King from RockNess and Colin Rodger from T In The Park talked about the best ways to combat criminal behaviour at festivals, both before and during events.

“Our primary goal is to educate our customers to buy tickets for legal websites,”
said King. “The problem is people are desperate to go to a great event.”

Reg Walker, director of The Iridium Consultancy, who was also speaking on the panel, added that, “Scammers have changed the way they operate.

“The [fake ticket buyer] doesn’t even realise they’re a victim and the problems are passed onto the bank,” he continued, adding, “We don’t see this going away anytime soon.”

Rodger from Scotland’s T In The Park praised Festival Republic’s Melvin Benn’s steps in bringing festivals together to share information, saying, “These are industry issues and they have to be approached this way.”

To deal with counterfeit wristbands and tickets, Jim King suggested using just one wristband company. “There should be one industry supply that are safe to provide ticket and wristband stock.

“The industry has been lying to itself for 10-15 years,” he told the audience, “the advancement in wristband technology has been effective but we still have counterfeit wristbands made over [in Asia].

“It’s a major issue the industry are highly off the ball on.”

“The technology is coming,” added Rodger, “we are tightening that battle and I would say we were winning.”

Following two stabbings at T In The Park and a alleged rape at Latitude this summer, Reg Walker was keen to press that violent crime at festival is uncommon and he argued that was why there was so much hype surrounding the stories.

“Crime rates at festivals are so low, you’re probably safer at a festival than your high street,” he said. “The violent crime this year is an exception. UK festivals are the safest in the world.”