Extra security measures will be in place this week as Belfast’s Vital festival kicks off at Boucher Road Playing Fields in the wake of recent terror attacks.
With 60,000 plus music fans expected to descend on the site this week to see Muse1 and Tiesto2 , those attending are being advised to adhere to the policies put in place by organisers who say they are mindful of recent terrorist incidents in UK and elsewhere. Rucksacks and large handbags are not permitted at the event and searches of bags will be carried out.
The PSNI3 canine unit will also be patrolling the area. Belfast Vital event controller Paul Scott has reassured the public that extra security measures will be in place in the wake of recent terror attacks.
He told Belfast Live: “We have been working with our friends at PSNI for the last number of months to ensure that persons who arrive for the gigs are safe.
“We are very mindful of what has happened both in Great Britain and elsewhere so there will be an enhanced security operation in place, there will be a fairly thorough check of persons coming in, the PSNI will be monitoring the roads coming in to ensure the safety of our patrons both inside and outside the venue.
VITAL event controller Paul Scott surveys preparation work from the stage ahead of this week’s major music festival at the Boucher Road playing fields in Belfast. (Image: Alan Lewis- PhotopressBelfast.co.uk)
“Don’t be bringing rucksacks or large handbags, certainly ladies are welcome to bring a small, reasonably sized handbag but don’t be arriving with suitcases or rucksacks as you will not be permitted into the venue sadly.”
PSNI Chief Inspector Stephen McCauley is urging those attending the gigs to stay safe and follow police and security staff guidance.
“We want to make this event as safe as possible for all concerned that is our main concern . We want people to come and enjoy the event but to be safe when they are doing so.
“We’ve put all the provisions in place that we can but ultimately it’s the responsibility of those attending, we have a mixed audience of those that are under 18 and those that are allowed in under 16 with the accompaniment of an adult who must be aged over 25 and ID will be required,” he said.
PSNI drugs sniffer dog Jaz will be on duty at the VITAL music festival at the Boucher Road playing fields in Belfast this week.
He continued: “When you are coming to this event we would encourage you if you are doing to drink, please drink responsibly, obviously under 18s can’t drink and where anyone comes to the event with drink or substances that they shouldn’t ave we will obviously be addressing that and you do run the risk of not being permitted into the event.
“So please come, be responsible and enjoy the event, but overall please stay safe.”
Final preparations are underway for the VITAL music festival at the Boucher Road playing fields in Belfast this week. (Image: Alan Lewis- PhotopressBelfast.co.uk)
Those attending the gigs are also being advised that no car parking will be available around the Boucher Road area and so using public transport is strongly recommended. Translink is providing special coach, bus and train services for both performances on Wednesday, August 23 and Saturday, August 26. Translink’s Gemma Thompson said: “Balmoral Train Station is situated close to Boucher Playing Gields and we will enhance services throughout the day to bring people to the site.
“Coming home, late night rail services will run from Balmoral in both directions to Lisburn/Portadown and Belfast with onward connections to Carrickfergus, Bangor and Coleraine.
“These trains will operate following the concert from 10.45pm until 11.45pm subject to demand . Special return train tickets are still available to buy in the selected stations with prices from 5- 14.
“Special festival coaches will run from locations across Northern Ireland including Derry, Claudy, Dungiven, Maghera, Castledawson, Toomebridge, Newry, Banbridge, Strabane, Omagh, Ballygawley, Dungannon and Tamnamore .
Coach tickets are 17 and available to buy online only until 11am on the day of each concert.”
Pictured getting ready for the massive music gig are music fans l-r Elora Denny, Aine Kelly and Emma Lewis. (Image: Brian Morrison)
Passengers can pay on board the service, just 1.35 with a Smartlink car of 2 for a cash single fare .
Metro services to the event will be available every 12 minutes from 3.20pm-7.20pm outward and a return bus service will be available subject to demand.”
A man who became involved in a struggle with two security guards at a Shepton Mallet 1festival after being found without a wristband pass ended up assaulting them both. Ceri Williams was seen by the two members of staff at the NASS festival at the Bath and West Showground trying to enter one of the gates without wearing a security wristband. He had been drinking and taking cocaine, LDS, ecstasy and cannabis and then became abusive and ran away but was chased and taken to the ground.
While lashing about, the defendant then struck one of the security officers on the head and spat at another one, Somerset Magistrates were told.
Williams, 29, of Glynderi, Glanaman, Camarthenshire, pleaded guilty to assaulting Malcolm Dingle and Oliver Dann by beating them on July 8 when he appeared before the court at Yeovil. Prosecutor Julyan Stephens said that the two victims were working as security guards at the National Action Sports Show at the Bath and West Showground and attendees needed to wear a wristband to gain entry.
Williams was seen trying to get into Gate 6 without wearing a wristband and accepted he was intoxicated and then became aggressive asking them what they were doing, he said.
He then ran away and the guards pursued him and took him to the ground with some force but he continued to struggle.
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He was told to calm down but was upset and whilst flailing his arms he connected with the temple of Mr Dann causing him to fall to the floor.
The defendant continued to struggle and other security staff arrived and some spittle landed on Mr Dingle s hand. When Williams was interviewed by police he said he went to the festival and paid 187 to get in and had been given a wristband but could not remember what happened to it.
He said he had taken some cannabis, ecstasy, LSD, cocaine and alcohol and only remembered being held on the floor and he was struggling to try and get them off of him as he couldn t breathe. Defending solicitor Sue Cameron said that Williams said that after being taken to the ground Williams was being restrained face down and in pain when he recklessly assaulted the two men.
He recklessly spat at one of them as he was shaking his head and spit just happened to land on his hand, she said.
He did not deliberately punch the other guard but was flailing his arms around and accepts he may have connected with his head.
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She said that the defendant only used drugs recreationally at places such as festivals, and drugs and alcohol were freely available at this event despite security being in place to prevent it.
There is no dispute that he had taken drugs and alcohol and no doubt that this had an impact on the way he behaved, however he says he did purchase a wristband and did not know how it came off, she said.
However he does concede that because he was not wearing a wristband, that is why the incident occurred. She said Williams was remorseful and wanted to apologise for taking up the time of the police, he courts and the security staff.
The magistrates fined the defendant 80 for each offence of assault and ordered him to pay 50 compensation to both of them .
Costs of 85 and a 30 victim surcharge were also imposed.
The security boss of Liverpool s criminal courts1 is set to stand trial charged with causing actual bodily harm to a police sergeant. Former soldier Philip Mair, who works for international outsourcing company G4S, is alleged to have attacked Merseyside Police officer Sgt Mark Worrall on March 4 this year. Mair, 40, pleaded not guilty to assault occasioning ABH at Chester Magistrates Court today and will next appear at Chester Crown Court on September 6.
He spoke only to confirm his personal details, while his solicitor Graham Polson entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
The case was moved from Merseyside due to Mair s role at the Queen Elizabeth II Law Courts in Derby Square, which houses both Liverpool Crown Court and Magistrates Court. According to the charges the incident occurred at Peatwood Avenue in Southdene, Kirkby.
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Police had been called to reports of concern for a man s welfare, and after arriving at the scene Sgt Worrall suffered a wound to his chin requiring three stitches. Mair, of James Holt Avenue in Westvale, Kirkby2, works as a security manager at G4S but is currently suspended.
He was released on unconditional bail.