Deputy Mayor of Debrecen Diána Széles, President of the Lelkierő Fiatalon a Fiatalokért Association, Béla Szilárd Juhász and Festival Director of the Campus Festival, Péter Miklósvölgyi reported on the measures to promote safe entertainment at the Campus Festival at a press conference on 18th of July 2023.
As Diána Széles said, the Municipality of Debrecen has been contributing to the idea of a caring city for eight years now; therefore, the participants of the Campus Festival can feel safe. The city, the organisers and the facilitators are working together to ensure that this continues to be the case and that this event is truly about having fun. Diána Széles stressed that the primary and biggest responsibility lies with the parents who bring their children to the festival. They must be prepared to ensure that young people are never left alone, don’t drink alcohol and that they are properly hydrated to avoid dehydration. Drinking water is essential because of the hot summer days. The deputy mayor stressed that if parents prepare their children for the festival, the municipality, the organisers and the helpers will do their utmost to ensure that young people can enjoy themselves safely.
It is not only because of this event that the city focuses on raising awareness among young people.
In connection with the school health screening carried out by the Debrecen Institute for Primary Care and Health Promotion (Daefi), eighth, tenth and twelfth graders can listen to age-appropriate lectures on the dangers of harmful addictions, including excessive consumption of energy drinks and excessive use of digital devices. On weekend nights, the “harm reduction service” will be held from time to time around the downtown nightclubs to help young people to talk to mental health professionals and raise awareness of the dangers of harmful addictions.
The harm reduction tent set up at the Campus Festival has been operating since last year as part of the Be Free project under the motto “Friends, Party, Safety”, Béla Szilárd Juhász, President of the Lelkierő Fiatalon a Fiatalokért Association, said. At an event like this, with so many people present, certain “accidents and fatigue” are inevitable, especially when it comes to alcohol consumption, and these can be typified based on past experience. Around 8 or 9 p.m., teenagers with little experience of partying, even if only because of the heat, tend to arrive, followed by young adults and later by those older than them. The festival security staff already know where the harm reduction tent is and quickly escort those needing help to it. There, those who are feeling unwell will be given the care and attention they need – mineral water, vitamins, and rest. Béla Szilárd Juhász stressed that the Campus Festival has never been characterised by the presence of illicit drugs and that, in recent years, it has very rarely been necessary to help anyone. Last year, 82 festival-goers had to be helped in the harm reduction tent during the four days of the festival, and only one had to be transported by ambulance.
The Campus Festival has a zero-tolerance drug policy, Péter Miklósvölgyi, Festival Director, confirmed. All efforts are made to prevent drugs from entering the event area. To this end, plain-clothed police officers will be on patrol and drug-sniffing dogs can be deployed if necessary. The attitude to alcohol, which is a legal mind-altering drug in our culture, is another matter, but the festival organisers are also taking measures to protect young people under 18. The age of ticket purchasers is checked by means of an ID card, and a blue QR code badge on the weekly wristband indicates that someone is under 18, and a white one if they are over 18. On the paper wristbands, the stickers are blue for those under 18 and white for those over 18. The director stressed that these measures are also aimed at making the four days of the festival a truly positive experience for everyone. All the more so as the organisers have found that the Campus Festival has become a meeting place for not only friends but also for classes and year groups, family reunions and reunions of relatives across the country or even across national borders.
Among the efforts to create the conditions for cultural and good-humoured entertainment, Péter Miklósvölgyi also mentioned that the security service will remove any troublemakers from the festival area as soon as possible, and they will not investigate “who started” the trouble – all participants will be escorted out. Therefore, he advised those who might be in such a situation not to fight back but to inform the security service immediately. Nearly the entire festival area is monitored by night-vision cameras so that the attacker can be identified.
The festival director also said that a disaster management drill would be held before the festival starts. In anticipation of possible summer storms, minimal permission has been given for the erection of structures that could pose an accident risk in the event of high winds, such as tents used for storage. He also mentioned that thanks to the conscientious professional work of the staff of the green space department of the Debrecen mayor’s office, the trees in the festival area are in good condition, as was demonstrated by the fact that the wind storm that swept through the city the day before the press conference only broke off small branches. So the organisers and helpers are doing their utmost to ensure the Campus Festival is safe and enjoyable.
Source and photo credit: debrecen.hu