A LOCAL festival organiser has paid tribute to the ‘dedicated communities of Broad and Little Haven’ after a week of half-term fun drew in the crowds, despite trouble from drunk teenagers.
Robin Mogg, chairman of the Havens Festival committee, said this year’s event – held between May 23 and 29 - had been a great success, with hundreds of locals and tourists taking part in a range of activities.
With events including history exhibitions, craft and cookery sessions, games and live music – plus fully-booked pottery classes and ghost walks – Robin said the festival’s sixth year had been a real triumph.
But, the Festival’s achievements have been somewhat overshadowed by a week of impromptu beach parties that saw hundreds of teenagers descend on Broad Haven, leaving broken glass and rubbish all over the beach.
During the week, one of the festival’s specially commissioned banners was also set fire to – an act that Mr Mogg says has left a ‘sour taste’ in the mouths of locals.
“The banners looked cracking and it finally gave the festival some credence, it felt like we had made it at last.
“People really loved them; they were bright and cheerful, it really lit up the front and people knew something was going on.
“I was absolutely spitting nails when I found out what had happened,” he said.
Sue Mock, owner of Seaview Mini Market, said those responsible – and their parents – “had a lot to answer for”.
“I was appalled at the amount of alcohol being brought into the village,” she said. “It’s quite clear parents were bringing youngsters down with boxes of alcohol, and just leaving them here.”
Ms Mock praised the response of local police officers, who confiscated large quantities of alcohol from the underage drinkers. She said the onus was now on parents to make sure they know what their children are up to.
“They were mostly good kids, but when they’re in big group things can go wrong.
“If my kids had behaved that way I would have grounded them for a month,” she added.
Mr Mogg said his main concern was what the incidents will have done to Broad Haven’s reputation.
“Everything like this affects tourism and local businesses,” he said.
“The week had been cheerful and positive and this has overshadowed it.
“We’re not trying to stop people having fun; it’s just upsetting when people take it too far.”
But, he added, the festival’s dedicated team of volunteers would not let a 'one-off' put them off their stride.
“We’ve had a knock and it’s upsetting but it won’t put us off – we’re already planning next year’s.”