With the annual Spring Scream music festival opening today, authorities are beefing up security patrols to enforce a new smoking ban at Kenting (墾丁) National Park, while warning revelers against drunk driving and recreational drug use.
Pingtung County’s Kenting and Hengchun (恒春) police agency said that it started mobilizing an additional 13 motorcycle patrols yesterday to be able to quickly respond to emergencies and traffic congestion on roads leading to the park.
Police added that they would crack down on driving under the influence of alcohol, the use of marijuana and other illegal drugs, along with running red lights and other traffic violations.
Visitors to Spring Scream are urged to obey the new smoking ban at nine main attraction areas in Kenting National Park — including Nanwan (南灣) Beach, Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻) and Houbi Lake (後壁湖) — some of which will be hosting concerts during the four-day festival.
Pingtung County authorities have set up “Designated Smoking Zones” at these nine locations.
Smoking outside of the designated zones is prohibited, and violators will be fined, police said.
Lu Meng-lu (呂孟倫), an official at the Kenting National Park Administration, said there will be no leniency and no first-time warning given, with the fine running up to NT$10,000.
“For the music events, we are mobilizing three police units to patrol the performance venues and the nine attraction sites in the national park through the week. They will enforce smoking bans, hand out fines and check for illegal drugs,” Lu said.
Started in 1995 by two US expatriates — Jimi Moe and Wade Davis — Spring Scream is one of the nation’s leading music festivals of international repute which takes place during springtime in and around Kenting at the southern tip of the nation.
Originally established to give indie bands a venue at which to perform, it has grown in scope and attendance with an eclectic mix of entertainment and revelry events, as Taiwanese promoters have joined in by organizing parallel commercial ventures, such as the “Spring Wave” (春浪) concerts, electro-music bashes and beach rave parties.
As the access roads to Kenting started to see heavy traffic yesterday, a police spokesperson urged people to take public transportation to the concert venues.
He said that police would strictly enforce road regulations, including separation of automobile and motorcycle traffic and no weaving in and out of lanes, in order to reduce accidents.
There were two deaths and 26 people injured during the festival last year.