New measures restricting alcohol sales will be enforced during the Kenting Music Festival, which began yesterday, as authorities look to reduce traffic accidents resulting from drinking and driving.
A new measure will ban the sale of alcoholic drinks to festival-goers beginning two hours before the end of a concert.
The “two-hour prior-to-end” alcohol ban was announced by the Kenting National Park Headquarters (KNPH) and the Pingtung County Government earlier this week.
Officials said it is to prevent casualties and traffic accidents during the festival, and violators will be fined NT$50,000.
Lin Wen-min (林文敏), an official at the KNPH Recreational Activity Service Division, said that traffic accidents occurred frequently after the end of the concerts, so the new measure aims to put a stop to that.
“We urge revelers to get high naturally with music, but don’t get high on illegal drugs or excessive consumption of alcohol,” Lin said.
According to statistics compiled by police over the past five years during the Kenting Music Festival, which includes Spring Scream and other music events, there were 70 road traffic accidents. Of these, 35 were due to drunk driving.
Upon hearing of the new measure, a few proprietors complained that the ban means they are not able to sell alcohol from 10pm.
They said this was unfair, because vendors and shops outside the music festival confines can still conduct business, so concert-goers can still purchase alcohol from outside and bring it into the festival events, meaning the ban would have only a limited effect.
“Alcoholic drinks are a major source of revenue for the organizers and the sponsors. The measure will result in revenue losses for the businesses that legally applied to operate in the music festival events,” one proprietor said.
Lin said each year the spring music festival draws big crowds, which has a great impact on the national park’s environment, requiring a great deal of cleanup and maintenance.
“So for this year, we are collecting an ‘Environmental Impact Compensation Fee’ for holding the events, which ranges between NT$100,000 and NT$150,000, depending on the size of the concert venue. Each concert is also required to put up a guarantee of NT$100,000,” he said.
“Starting this year, sales of alcohol will stop two hours before the end of the concerts. Violators will see NT$50,000 taken from their guarantee fee and this will also affect their application for next year,” he said.