Keep children safe – but beware the nanny state

Mutiny Festival 2017 Picture: Paul Windsor
Mutiny Festival 2017 Picture: Paul Windsor

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For many years now attending music festivals has become a mainstream pastime, the bigger events are given blanket coverage by TV and radio, and attending their first festival is a rite of passage for many young people.

We would be naive to presume that nothing has changed in festival-going since ‘back in the day’.

For better or for worse they are more closely scrutinised and subject to more operating conditions than ever before. This has undoubtedly forced organisers to raise their game and, on the whole, made the events better and safer to attend.

In May, Mutiny Festival took place at the King George V playing fields in Cosham for a second time.

Over the course of the weekend about 30,000 passed through its gates, making it second only to the Victorious Festival in terms of audience.

The two-day dance music-oriented festival is currently limited to over-16s, with those aged 16 or 17 to be accompanied by an adult.

Due to a number of incidents involving young people – including drug-taking and assaults – the police and the director of public health make their claims for restricting admission to next year’s prospective event to over-18s. But is this taking the nanny state too far?

Let us be clear, The News is in no way advocating the taking of illegal drugs. Or wantonly putting our children at risk of violent or sexual assault – no-one in their right mind wants to see that for anyone of any age. It would appear from the reports that there were failings, and processes need to be improved or streamlined.

Mutiny’s organisers have suggested several ways to reduce the risks to young people, and are willing to improve the security checks, as well as introducing a separate 16/17-year-old ticket to remove the element of doubt over the festival-goer’s age at the entrance.

We hope an agreement can be reached as it would be sad to deny those 16 and 17-year-olds who simply want to enjoy a music festival with their friends as we once did.