Drugs Ban For Isle Of Wight Festival

10 June 2011, 10:41 | Updated: 10 June 2011, 11:33

So-called legal highs have been banned from this year's Isle of Wight festival.

Police say it's over fears that they're not safe and they're also warning anyone caught with illegal drugs will face court.

The festival kicks off near Newport and is celebrating its 10th anninersary this year, with 75,000 people expected to be there over the weekend.

This year's headliners are Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters, Kasabian and newly-reformed Pulp.

Other acts include Liam Gallagher's new band Beady Eye, which he formed after splitting from Oasis, Kaiser Chiefs and Iggy and the Stooges.

Festival promoter John Giddings said he chose a line-up with a more contemporary feel than previous years which have featured "retro" headliners such as Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie and The Who. He said:

"We have had The Beatles (Paul McCartney) and the Stones and I came to the answer that for our 10th anniversary we should come into the 21st century and grow up.

"The Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon are the two biggest rock bands around at the moment and Kasabian have taken up the mantle from Oasis now that they've split up - these are the bands of the future."

Despite his claim to have moved on to "young" bands, his line-up includes Pulp, originally formed by Jarvis Cocker 33 years ago, and Foo Fighters, which are led by Dave Grohl, the drummer from early-90s grunge rockers Nirvana.

Hampshire police will be targeting the sales of both illegal drugs and "legal highs" at the event this year.

Inspector Terry Clawson said:

"Tens of thousands of people in one place gives us similar challenges to policing any busy town or community.

"We'll be using tried and tested tactics to help people stay safe while they have a good time in this festival neighbourhood over the next four days."

He added:

"It's also important to remember sales of so-called 'legal highs' are banned at the festival.

"If reports of any sales are received, security stewards and the police will take action."

People taking vehicles to this year’s Isle of Wight Festival are being reminded of the dangers of drink or drug driving.

On offer this year is the chance for motorists heading away from the festival to take a breathalyser test to see if they’re fit to get behind the wheel.

Inspector Martin Goodall from Hampshire Constabulary’s Roads Policing Unit (RPU) said: 

"The voluntary test is available at the campsite police office for anyone who genuinely wants to drive but is unsure if their alcohol level has returned to zero.

"All you have to do is breathe into the kit and we’ll let you know whether or not you’re safe to get behind the wheel.

"You won’t be arrested if you’re not safe, but you will be told not to attempt to drive. Our aim is to keep everyone safe from harm on the roads."

The festival campsite has been extended to accommodate more people so we hope everyone can continue to respect the relaxed reputation this event has established. Police are taking several measures to keep the risks and reports of thefts low, including:

 —Crime prevention lanyards will be distributed to festival goers who can use them to secure mobile phones and wallets to their bodies.

—Campers will be offered free biodegradable bags so they can secure any valuables.

Police also have this advice to anyone going:

 —Don't keep all your cash together

—Protect your mobile phone

—Mark your property

—Camp near friends

Inspector Terry Clawson said: 

"We do not want people's lives to be ruined by the dangers of drugs. Police continue to co-operate closely with the event organisers to intercept illegal and harmful substances.

"People should be warned they face arrest for carrying drugs, and anyone intending to supply drugs at the island's festivals will be prosecuted.

"At Bestival in September last year, a 22-year-old university student was caught by police with more than £2,000 worth of illegal drugs. She was jailed for three years in March this year. The sentence clearly had a devastating impact
on her education, family and future prospects. We hope others will heed the warning about getting involved with supplying drugs at festivals."

To report a crime, dial 999 in an emergency, or 101 for non-emergencies.

From outside Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, call police on 0845 045 45 45. Mini-Com users can call the police on 01962 875000. Information can be given anonymously by calling the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.