Multi-agency partners want to ensure a safe event at the Belladrum Festival 2013
Multi-agency partners (Police Scotland, NHS Highland, Highland Council, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Scottish Ambulance Service and the British Red Cross) want Belladrum Festival 2013 to be a safe and enjoyable event.
The festival, which is now in its 10th anniversary year, takes place at Belladrum Estate, by Beauly, over the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd August and is expected to attract about 15,000 people daily.
The organisers and all agencies involved are keen to assure that all appropriate measures will be in place to maximise public safety and enjoyment of the event.
Police Scotland Event Commander, Chief Inspector Graeme Murdoch will lead the police operation at the festival. He said: "We will be employing a tried and tested community policing approach, but we will not be complacent and will work with the stewards to deal robustly with any disorder or antisocial behaviour which compromises safety or spoils the event for others.
"We share the organisers' stance against drug misuse at this event and officers will adopt a proactive approach to detecting drugs offences. In particular, we want to reinforce national warnings in relation to a number of types of tablet which are currently in circulation. Some of these tablets are sold or supplied as ecstasy, and are known to contain poisonous substances which pose a serious health risk. In particular, police are issuing a warning in relation to green-coloured tablets stamped with the 'Rolex' crown logo. These are known to contain harmful poisons and have been linked to a number of deaths in other areas of Scotland."
Chief Inspector Murdoch added: "The festival attracts a large number of young people who may be vulnerable to the use of new psychoactive substances (also referred to as 'legal highs'). We want to remind everyone that these substances can contain any number of ingredients, some of which have been shown to be illegal drugs or other dangerous substances. Basically, you can't know what you are taking, so our advice is simple. Don’t use them.
"We will take action if we come across underage drinking and we would encourage everyone at the event to drink legally and responsibly. I also want to remind festival-goers that Terms and Conditions of tickets clearly state that persons under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. We expect these adults to be responsible. Know the whereabouts of youngsters under your supervision and assist the police and other agencies in ensuring that no young person comes to any harm.”
Chief Inspector Murdoch concluded: "We want everyone to have a safe and happy weekend and everyone at the event has a part to play in making sure this happens”.
Karen Carson, Health Promotion Specialist with NHS Highland said: "We want everyone attending Belladrum 2013 to have a really great time, but to do it as safely as possible. It's so important to think about the weather conditions – remember they can change so quickly in this part of Scotland – dress appropriately. If it's sunny wear a hat, a t-shirt and slop on some sunscreen and if it's cold, wrap up warm.
"If you are planning on drinking alcohol try to pace yourself, make sure you eat well, have a spacer instead of a chaser (ie make every alternate drink something soft), drink water to keep well hydrated and be aware of 'units' (think about switching to a drink of lower strength, ie if you drink 5% lager change to a 4% one) and don’t drink and drive – remember that you may still be over the limit the morning after, so if you are planning on driving home at the end of the festival make sure you take this into consideration.
"The safest option for festival goers is not to take any street drugs such as ecstasy or novel psychoactive substance (formerly known as 'legal highs'). These substances can be dangerous particularly when mixed with alcohol or other substances. "Legal" does not mean "safe". Take heed of the recent warnings about drugs which are being sold as ecstasy (MDMA) but have been found to contain PMA/PMMA. It is essential that all pills are treated with suspicion as there is no visual way to tell the contents of any tablet. The consequences can be fatal. Festival goers are urged to look out for their friends – if they have taken drugs or alcohol they may not be aware that they are in trouble. If you are concerned about a friend, get help immediately."
Karen also reminds us that the party atmosphere at Festivals can put people in the mood for love and festival goers are being urged to take their sexual health seriously. "Whether or not you are planning on having a fling at the tartan heart festival the message is really simple; keep it covered – keep it safe! Don’t forget to pack condoms in your festival kit. Condoms and dams are widely available from GP practices, sexual health clinics, Brook and Waverley Care, free of charge. They can also be purchased in supermarkets and pharmacies.
"There will be Welfare provision both in the main arena and the general campsite. Anyone with concerns about drugs or alcohol or their sexual health should speak to them during the event – they will have information available and be able to signpost you to the appropriate services It is crucial that festival goers take their health seriously at Belladrum."
Nigel Stafford from British Red Cross said: "Belladrum is an event that attracts a wide range of festival lovers. All agencies work together to make the event a success and want everyone to go home at the end of the weekend having had a brilliant time.
"We have had fantastic weather this summer but check out the forecast before going. It can get very cold at night, especially if it rains so take something to keep you dry.
"Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is a common problem at festivals - don't let it spoil your weekend. Keep an eye on your friends, especially if they have been overdoing it. If you feel unwell, go to one of the First Aid Posts and get help."
Graham Robertson, Group Manager for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service would like to reiterate some important fire safety tips to ensure this year's event is safely enjoyed by all festival goers. He said: "It is extremely important that tents are not pitched too closely together as this will prevent fire spreading from one tent to another. People should not smoke inside or close to tents and should take care to ensure cigarettes are fully extinguished before disposing of them. It is also essential that all camping should be within designated areas ensuing that pathways and fire lanes are kept clear.
"Camp fires are prohibited, and if cooking you must do so in the designated barbecue areas - If under the influence of alcohol or drugs, please allow one of the many caterers to cook for you.
"Carbon Monoxide is a silent killer and disposable barbeques along with other fuel burning appliances give off this poisonous gas. Never take disposable barbeques into a tent or campervan even when they are cooling down.
"Finally I’d like to wish all festival goers a safe and enjoyable Belladrum 2013."
Iain Mackay Resilience Adviser at the Scottish Ambulance Service said: "Anyone taking medication should let their friends know what it is and make sure that they bring enough with them to the festival. Everyone should keep hydrated, whether or not it’s sunny and bring clothing for all conditions."
David Haas, Inverness City Manager, at The Highland Council, said: "Belladrum has established itself as a regular, high-profile event which brings significant benefit to the city of Inverness and the Highlands. The Council is once again pleased to work with our multi-agency planning partners and the event organisers to deliver a successful Festival which all can enjoy in a hospitable and safe environment."