Schoolies Festival: Do we want it or not? | EDITORIAL

It’s a debate that comes up among locals every year: should Schoolies Festival be held in Victor Harbor?

There are many pros and cons to having the festival here, but it’s nothing new.

People are concerned – and rightly so – about elements such as noise, damage, and an influx of people in the area.

The festival compound is open to the early hours, with music playing at a couple of stages. Plus, people under the influence of alcohol tend to be a bit louder than when they are sober.

In previous years, some properties have been damaged during festival time. It is another legitimate concern, but I’m sure people who have seen Schoolies events over the years agree the school leavers are better behaved than they used to be.

The influx of people in the area, especially on the Friday and Sunday afternoon/Monday morning, can cause disruptions to traffic and other services. There are a few more people here than the huge amount of tourists we get over summer.

But over recent years, the festival has been overwhelmingly positive. 

Crime rates among the school leavers are the lowest they have ever been, the number of hospital admissions are dropping, and many are more than happy to give a friendly hello if you’re walking down the street.

It’s something special to be able to say your town was where thousands of young people celebrated their biggest milestone to date – of completing their schooling lives.

While there is a large group of residents who don’t like having Schoolies Festival here, many other have the attitude of ‘it’s only three days, let the kids have their fun’. 

In a discussion thread on Facebook, some parents even said they had been against having Schoolies Festival at Victor Harbor until their own children attended and said how good it was.

Schoolies Festival is miles ahead of what Encounter Youth CEO Nigel Knowles called the “chaotic and dangerous environment” it used to be before the organisation took control of the response 20 years ago.

Encounter Youth and their Green Team volunteers work with SA Police, the Motor Accident Commission, St John’s, and SA Ambulance, along with other organisations, to ensure the event provides a safe environment with maximum fun for school leavers with minimum disruption to residents.

Let the kids have their fun for three nights before they have to face the real world and turn into sour pusses like we all are.

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