By David Wimble
Despite both Police and the District council warning organisers not to go ahead with a planned beach party to commemorate Jamaican independence day, over 2000 revellers descended on Greatstone last Sunday evening.
Party goers started to arrive throughout the day, mixing with other beach goers on, what was one of the hottest days of the year. But from 3pm onwards busses carrying hundreds of people started making their way to the beach, followed by hundreds of cars.
By 5 pm the roads were becoming impassable, with cars being parked across pavements and in people driveways.
Many locals took to social media, explaining how they felt ‘Under Siege’ withing their own homes, with some being threatened.
Kent police mounted a large response to the event and set up a command centre at the Varne Boat Club, with police mixing with the revellers.
One local told The Looker; “It is like Notting Hill Carnival, at first people were nice and polite, but then around 8pm things were getting out of hand. We felt like prisoners in our own homes, we could not get out of our driveway, because a minibus was just parked across it. People were defecating in gardens. It was horrendous!”
The event was organised by a south London company called Event Bright, who marketed the event as “the Flavour Boss Beach Cookout” and with the companies website stating that the 2000 tickets, priced at £27.50 had all sold out.
The party had originally been planned for Camber Sands, but Rother District Council and East Sussex police, informed the organisers that this would not be allowed.
Folkestone and Hythe District Council, working with Kent police, soon responded, when posts on social media started appearing, informing revellers that Greatstone was the new venue for the party.
The District Council and Police then also contacted the organisers to inform them that an event of this size would not be permitted within the district, as it would clearly be hard to control social distancing and raised fears over Health and safety.
Organisers then posted online stating that the event would be moved. When our editor spoke to one of the revellers, he said: ‘we were told that we would be given a new destination for the party, but yesterday morning we all had text messages stating that the party was going to be held at Greastone.’
As the night went on, reports on social media claimed that fights broke out between rival gangs who were selling cannisters of ‘Happy Crack’ which is a form of nitrous oxide. Along with cannabis. When our editor tried to drive along the coast road at around 6pm, he said:” It was absolute chaos, cars were just almost abandoned to the point it was single file traffic. There was a strong smell of cannabis in the air and at that time police were very present, but completely outnumbered by party goers”.
The morning after the event, Locals helped to clear the beach, with volunteers arriving at the beach from 5.30am. One member of the Romney Marsh Litter picking group said: “this was totally irresponsible, these people have no regard for our beautiful beaches or the people who have to live here. No one is against people coming to the beach, but this is absolutely ridiculous. I hope the organisers are prosecuted”. Amongst the rubbish being cleared up were hundreds of empty bottles of Nitrous Oxide.
Social Media was alive with comments about the event, with some early posts stating, that it was doing no harm, but this suddenly turned into a torrent of posts about the fact that people were being abused and that many of the people, were ‘so out of their heads’ when they left that they would have been to intoxicated to drive.
One post stated that police looked on as people blatantly smoked Cannabis in front of them and stated “The Police, cannot win this one, If they try and put a stop to the party, the whole, Black Lives Matter brigade, will bang on about their human rights, but clearly the party people do not give a stuff about the people who had to put up with this disruption”.
Reports that two police officers were injured, with one being stabbed and another hit by a car, were unsubstantiated as we went to press.
The Looker would like to Publicly Thank all the volunteers, who spent hours clearing up the aftermath of this event and hope that the Police and council put measures in place to stop this from happening again.
The Looker went to print at 9am on Monday morning and at the time has not had a response from Kent Police or the District Council, relating to the organisers, being prosecuted for going against the order not to have a gathering.