NEWCASTLE Police have issued a stern warning to festival-goers heading to This That and Scene & Heard this weekend that illegal behaviour will not be tolerated.
A crowd of 17,000 is expected at Wickham Park on Saturday for the youth-orientated This That. Another 5,000 punters is tipped to attend the nostalgic Scene & Heard Festival on Sunday.
Music festivals have come under intense scrutiny from authorities following the deaths of six young people between December 2017 and January 2019 from drug-related complications.
It led to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian tightening restrictions for festivals and increasing police numbers. A list of 14 higher-risk festivals were also released, which included This That.
"We want everyone to enjoy both events this weekend, but we want them to always have their safety and the safety of others at the front of their minds," Newcastle City Police acting Superintendent Gerard Lawson said.
"Police will not tolerate any form of anti-social or criminal behaviour and will be targeting any illegal activity as well as alcohol-related crime. Please behave responsibly and look out for each other - if someone isn't feeling well, make sure you seek medical assistance immediately."
The NSW Police Dog Unit will also be assisting at the festivals.
On Friday Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame recommended police cease using sniffer dogs at music events following an inquest into festival deaths.
Mothership Events, the promoters of This That, have had a harm minimisation program in place since the festival's inception in 2015.
They include the "Ask For Angela" campaign which encourages punters to approach staff and use the phrase if they feel unsafe and a central "care space" where people can seek drug and alcohol education and support, and water.
"We are for total inclusiveness and safety and are very proud of the festival's record in regards to the welfare and safety of our attendees," a festival spokesperson said.
"As always, we have worked to improve our integration with government stakeholders and event safety systems to create a safe and fun experience for festival goers year on year.
"All facets of planning and management have been approved and finalised well in advance of the event as part of a year-round planning cycle with state and local stakeholders."
This That and Scene & Heard are a major operations. They feature 43 artists, powered by 20 pyro, video, effects and lighting technicians and 18 kilometres of electrical cable. There will be 280 portaloos, 19 eateries and seven bars serving an estimated 105,700 drinks, inside 3km of fencing.
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