'No BYO' policy at R&V may have led to huge increase in drunk and drugged patrons needing attention
A "no BYO" policy at last year's Rhythm and Vines festival is thought to have led to a massive increase in the number of drunk and drugged people needing attention by St John paramedics.
Of most concern to St John was the high number of women with "severe intoxication/drug effects".
A report by Gisborne District Council said the 14th iteration of the annual event had been regarded largely as a success with council, police, St John, and health services saying event organisers managed the event and camping grounds well.
Last year's event, held from December 28 to January 1, was the first to have a no BYO alcohol policy at the festival and associated camping grounds, with licensed bars instead.
The council said the policy had "some negative consequences with some patrons pre-loading with alcohol off the site in the vicinity of the festival, resulting in loitering and littering".
There was a notable 80 per cent increase in patients reported by St John "along with concern about increase in the numbers of females presenting with severe intoxication/drug effects", the report stated.
"Patrons pre-loading with alcohol before entering the festival is a possible cause to presentations earlier each night,a change from previous years," it stated.
An alcohol ban in the vicinity of the festival was not enough to eradicate poor behaviour.
"Some festival patrons gathered on road sides in the vicinity of the festival... to drink before entering the festival. Despite police intervention within the alcohol ban area, this issue continued. Rubbish left and poor behaviour caused public concern and complaint," the report said.
The event was a success, with 14,850 attending the first night, 14,075 the second and 16,200 on New Year's Eve.
Organisers, police and council have agreed to work together to find solutions to the issues before this year's event.