Country-music fans urged to plan their trip

Police are encouraging country-music fans to plan their trip ahead of time and travel safely on the roads as they make their way to Tamworth for the annual Toyota Country Music Festival.

A high-visibility policing operation will be in place from Friday, January 19 until Sunday, January 28.

Now in its 46th year, it is the largest music festival in the southern hemisphere, with a program featuring 700 performers, 2800 shows and 120 venues.

General duties officers from Oxley Local Area Command and across Western Region, assisted by specialist officers, will focus on road safety as well as anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related violence.

“Mid-January is a busy time on our roads; there will be people travelling not only to Tamworth, but also to and from school-holiday destinations,” Operation Sherbrook Commander, Acting Superintendent Jeff Budd said.

“We are expecting more than 50,000 visitors in Tamworth for the festival, so we’re urging motorists to be mindful of the additional traffic on the roads, drive to the conditions and allow extra travel time.

“There will be large numbers of police patrolling roads in and around Tamworth, targeting speeding, drink and drug driving, mobile-phone use, and other dangerous driver behaviour,” A/Supt Budd said.

Festival-goers are also encouraged to be patient when they arrive in Tamworth, as a number of roads will be closed during the 10-day event.

Only vehicles displaying the appropriate council authorisation will be allowed entry into restricted areas of the CBD.

Police will be out in force to ensure the event is safe, fun and family-friendly for both visitors and locals.

“Community safety is our number-one priority and we want to ensure the festival’s excellent reputation is maintained,” A/Supt Trench said.

“In particular, police will be targeting criminal and anti-social behaviour associated with drinking too much alcohol. This includes intoxication, brawling and under-age drinking.”

Police and council rangers will also strictly enforce alcohol-free zones, which will be in place throughout the CBD.

“Local Liquor Accord agreements will remain in place for the duration of the festival – including a 1am lockout for all licensed venues; a ban on spirits shots; and no energy-drink mixers or high-alcohol pre-mixed drinks can be purchased after 10pm,” A/Supt Budd said.

With camping the preferred accommodation option for thousands of festival-goers; police offer the following safety and security tips:

  • Plan your trip in advance and if possible, make a booking;
  • Get to know your surrounding campers;
  • In large crowds, be mindful of your own safety and security as well as that of people around you;
  • Leave valuables at home – if you must take valuables with you, ensure they are secured and kept out of sight;
  • Lock your caravan or campervan when unattended;
  • Where possible, use a lock to secure your tent;
  • Where possible, use a portable alarm in your tent or camper;
  • Plan for changes in weather conditions;
  • Ensure valuables are not left in unattended vehicles;
  • Report any suspicious behaviour to police.

For comprehensive event details, visit the official festival website: www.tcmf.com.au

Special-event traffic information can be found at: www.livetraffic.com