GROSSLY intoxicated young women, some incontinent and smeared in their own blood, are a symptom of Toast Martinborough wine festival’s “feral” drinking culture, police warn.
“If their mothers could see them, they’d shut the festival down tomorrow,” the officer in charge of the event, Sergeant Kevin Basher, said.
Martinborough residents have joined him in warning that the once-civilised wine lovers’ event is now a mass booze-up that risks spilling into violence.
Mr Basher, who called Sunday’s event the worst in seven years, said yesterday that steel container “drunk tanks” might have to be used in future and that officers might need to carry batons to counter unruly drunks….
Festival organisers met police yesterday after reports of at least a dozen brawls. One man was admitted to hospital after being knocked unconscious.
A Martinborough local said The Square was full of drunks on Sunday night. “The atmosphere was getting quite nasty. It’s not the Toast it used to be.”
Police say some wineries appear to have breached liquor licencing laws by continuing to serve people who are clearly intoxicated. One vineyard encouraged festival-goers to scull full glases of wine.
“We’re still seeing people who are grossly intoxicated, especially young women falling all over the place in various states of disrepair [defecating] everywhere and covered in blood,” Mr Basher said.
A dompost.co.nz poll yesterday asked if drunken behaviour at Toast Martinborough was out of control.
Of more than 900 respondents, 55.3 per cent agreed, saying it was not pleasant when so many people were drunk. Another 36.9 per cent said it was just the actions of a few and everyone else had a great time. Nearly 8 per cent were undecided. The survey concluded that the event was “Out of Control”
Toast Martinborough chairman Richard Riddiford, who started the event 20 years ago, played down the alcohol problems. “We’re talking about a very, very, small percentage of [the 11,500] festival-goers.
[Clearly neither the police who attended nor 55.3% of the 900 responddents to the Dompost survey, attempted to “play down the alcohol problems”, as Mr Riddiford did].
Source: “Police warn of ‘feral’ festival, The Dominion Post, Tuesday, November 22, 2011, p. 1.