This year’s summer festivals have passed off more peacefully than usual. Although young people attending rock concerts are under the glare of official and public scrutiny, police have often found their hands full because of the conduct of older patrons at cultural events.
Police say they have been called out to quell disturbances at Finland’s highly popular Tango festival in Seinäjoki, southern Ostrobothnia – an event generally attended by the middle-aged crowd.
“It’s due to the drunken behavior of your traditional Finn. Middle-aged people squabble and bicker on their way home and at home, although not at the Tango festival,” said Chief Inspector Erkki Rajamäki.
Young people better behaved
According to Rajamäki the Tango festival generally taxes police resources more than the Provinssirock event, which is a magnet for the youthful set. This year was the only exception to the statistics, with police responding to three times as many calls during Provinssirock as during a regular weekend. During the Tango festival, police were just twice as busy as on the usual summer weekend.
Last year, however, there were more cases of public misconduct at the Tango festival than at the rock concert series. Police added that nearly all of the disturbances took place outside the event arena.
Police monitoring summer events generally intervene in scuffles, vandalism, brawls and abuse. Rajamäki said however, that there are fewer fights at events attended by young people.
“Young people consume alcohol more moderately and drink less hard liquour. So there is less of a difference between the high and low points of inebriation - they don’t feel bad and want to start a fight. Young people brawl less often,” he explained.
Wailing and gnashing of teeth
Apart from fights, waning inebriation in the wee hours of the morning can cause different types of emotional outbursts. Taxi drivers are often privy to tears and moaning at the end of the evening, with the taxi driver shouldering the brunt of their criticism after a long and tiring day.
“When they’ve been dancing the humppa all day, or the tango or rocking, all their frustrations are vented on the taxi driver. Last weekend I was even told that the traffic lights are worse here than in Helsinki,” Martikkala said.
“If the fare is couple then one might try to calm the other one down, and that’s enough to start a fight. Some trips even end up with one finishing the journey on foot while the other rides in the taxi,” the cab driver explained.
Exemplary behavior by young people
Although summer events that attract the young have their fair share of disturbances, both Rajamäki and Martikkala congratulated young people on their overall good behaviour.
“It’s great that young people are smart, because they have a future,” Rajamäki said.
According to Martikkala while there are cases of misconduct in the events attended by both the old and the young, younger concert fans are better behaved.
“They can stand peacefully in line first at the beer tent, then at the toilets, and finally for a taxi, even when they are tired. In that sense, we should take example from young people who understand that when you’re dealing with large numbers of people nothing happens at the snap of your fingers,” he pointed out.