Unruly start to Swedish music fest

The music festival Peace & Love in Borlänge, in central Sweden, was off to an unruly start on Wednesday, with local police kept busy and holding facilities at capacity.

Unruly start to Swedish music fest

“Considering that the festival has just begun it has been a lot of drinking, assaults and drug-related crimes. The holding cells at the station in Borlänge are full,“ Jimmie Lagerqvist of the local police told news agency TT.

Organisers call the festival “five days of love, message and music’ and this year’s theme is “courage, hope and love” but it would seem that the week started out somewhat differently.

Early Wednesday morning one rape and an attempted rape were reported. A series of thefts, assaults, vandalisms and drug related offences were also committed, according to local police.

Organisers are worried that the incidents will reflect badly on the festival.

“Unfortunately there are people who don’t live by what we stand for with peace and love, but we continue to try to spread the message,” said festival organiser Patric Hammar to TT.

The organisers now try to inform their visitors of the importance of looking out for each other and they also continue to work closely with local police.

“One rape is a rape too many,” Hammar told TT.

But according to Bo Ericsson of the information department at the Dalarna County police, the festival is deemed as “fairly calm”.

“You have to remember that there is a large amount of people in the same place at the same time. If 40,000 people come to the festival the total amount of people in Borlänge increase by almost 100 percent,“ he said to TT.

Organisers have sold 40.000 tickets to the festival which concludes on Saturday, when world-renowned artist Bob Dylan is scheduled to play. 30,000 visitors are staying in the festival camping grounds.

To manage the large amount of visitors, organisers have increased the number of licensed security guards from 100 to 120, since last year. 500 extra stewards and festival staff have also been hired.

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