One week of preparation time left for RockNess 2013, Multi Agency partners remind revellers

Issued by Highlands & Islands Strategic Co-ordinating Group

One week from today, the shores of Loch Ness will be busy with revellers setting up for RockNess 2013 and multi agency partners are encouraging those attending to make use of this week to prepare for the festival to ensure it is safe and enjoyable for all who attend.

Representatives from British Red Cross, Highland Alcohol and Drugs Partnership, Highland Council, NHS Highland, Police Scotland, Scottish Ambulance Service and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, are reminding all in attendance that preparation is key to making sure attendees enjoy the weekend to its fullest, whilst ensuring they remain safe throughout.

The multi-agency group is urging those attending to improve their health and safety by preparing for the event; taking small measures such as ensuring they have all medication they require, taking a water carrier, sun lotion and contraceptives, as well as not taking any unnecessary risks whilst at the festival.

David Haas from the Highland Council welcomed the RockNess festival back to the area, saying: "We are indeed fortunate that Rockness has returned for an eighth year. It is now one of the main festivals in the UK music calendar and attracts thousands of people to the Highlands and Inverness area in particular.

"Multi-agency partners have been working, almost since last year 's event concluded, on the planning for the 2013 event, in a bid to ensure that people have a safe and enjoyable festival."

Iain MacKay, Resilience Advisor for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: "Simple things such as making your friends aware of medication that you are taking, making sure you have enough to last the weekend, taking enough sunscreen to last the weekend, and keeping hydrated, whether it is sunny or not, will help you stay healthy at RockNess 2013.”

Nigel Stafford from the British Red Cross (Northern Scotland Area) said:  "As usual we can never predict what the Scottish weather will throw at us, but given that conditions have been very mixed of late, we would encourage people to bring plenty of warm and waterproof clothing to ensure any downpours don’t put a dampener on the weekend.

"If we are lucky to experience the good weather of previous years, festival goers should remember that they are outside the majority of the time, so by keeping an empty water bottle, refilling at the well marked taps on site and using sun cream can really make the difference to an individual’s welfare at the event. At the end of the day all partners want those attending to come and have a safe, enjoyable time.”

Lorraine Mann, NHS Highland 's Senior Health Promotion Specialist for Sexual Health and Young People, said:  "Make sure you take plenty of condoms or dams with you to RockNess, even if you have no intention of having sex with anyone.  With the music, the party atmosphere and - especially - the alcohol, you really can 't be too careful.  Remember, toothbrush, sunscreen and condoms.  It 's as simple as that!"

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. Festival goers should ensure that condoms are part of their essential festival 'kit '. Anyone with concerns about their sexual health should speak to Welfare during the event – they will have information available and be able to signpost you to services.

Deborah Stewart, who is Coordinator for the Highland Alcohol and Drugs Partnership, said festival goers should remember to drink plenty of water, to eat well and to avoid taking unnecessary risks when it comes to alcohol and drugs.

She said: "We want people attending RockNess to enjoy themselves but we also want to help them do so safely. It 's easy to get carried away by the atmosphere. However, if you overindulge in alcohol you could end up in the field hospital and miss the event altogether, which is not only disappointing but costly.

"It 's important to eat before you start drinking and while you 're drinking and to pace yourself by drinking soft drink spacers, particularly water, to keep you hydrated.
"Stay with friends and make sure you keep yourselves safe. It 's also important to keep warm as you don 't notice how cold you get when you 've been drinking."

Deborah also urged festival goers not to dabble in illicit drugs and she pointed out that over-indulging could prove fatal.

She said: "If you can 't say no, you should at least let a close and reliable friend know what you 've taken so that, if you need medical help, we have a clear picture of what 's going on. And, bear in mind that you have no idea what you 're buying or exposing yourself to when you decide to take drugs. Some drugs can be mixed with a variety of cheap hazardous substances which could cause your body untold harm.

"If you or your friends have taken something and start to feel unwell please seek medical help immediately."

Event Commander Superintendent Stevie MacKay from Police Scotland spoke of the proactive operation against drugs at the event: "As with previous years we will be taking a robust and pro-active stance against drugs at the festival.
"We will also be looking to stem the supply of drugs prior to the event also to ensure festival goers are as safe as possible. The message is clear from previous years in that if you bring drugs you 're very likely to get caught and not only will you miss the whole weekend, you 'll face criminal charges, so don 't risk it!"
He added: "Alcohol should also be taken responsibly. There 's no point saving for months for this event and ruining it all by getting so drunk you miss the event, or face ejection because alcohol has impaired your judgement and you engage in behaviour which is likely to land you in trouble."

Phil Green, Group Manager for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service reminded festival goers of the risks and fire safety at the event.  He said:  "I would like to emphasise the risk of fire and it spreading due to tents being pitched closely together and people smoking in close proximity.  I would ask people not to smoke inside or close to tents and also to take care and ensure that cigarettes are fully extinguished.
"If cooking, you must do so in the designated barbeque areas or alternatively take advantage of the many varied food concessions at the event and reduce that risk from fire.  Never take a barbeque or stove into a tent or motorhome - a warm smouldering barbeque or stove gives off poisonous carbon monoxide which can kill.  And never use a fuel-burning appliance to heat your tent or motorhome.
"Remember it is important not to operate a barbeque or camping stove whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
"There were no fire related injuries at Rockness last year.  However, there were a small number of tent fires and we would ask everyone to follow these simple fire safety tips to have a safe and enjoyable weekend."
Event Commander Superintendent Stevie MacKay added: "There is some general security advice which we suggest for those attending particularly those who will be there for the first time. We would ask that you keep valuables on your person at all times and avoid leaving them unattended in cars or tents. Whilst we have previously had relatively low levels of crime at the event these measures limit the opportunity for this type of opportunist crime to take place.”

Multi agency partners will be hosting a Facebook chat event on the topic of New Psychoactive Substances (also referred to at ‘legal’ highs) on Tuesday 4th June 2013 from 18:00-19:30 hours on the Police Scotland, Highland and Islands Division Facebook page

31 May 2013