HAPPY FANS: The crowds were electric as an estimated 5000 people attended this year's River Sessions.
HAPPY FANS: The crowds were electric as an estimated 5000 people attended this year's River Sessions. Zizi Averill

Music mecca: Thousands pour into region for huge festival

WITH the event attracting its biggest influx of visitors ever, to say River Sessions 2019 was a success is an understatement.

With some of Australia's most talented artists, such as Amy Shark and The Rubens taking to the stage, more than 4500 people packed into JM Mulherin Memorial Park at Mackay Harbour on Saturday - 2500 of them travelled from out of the region.

River Sessions organisers said the one-day festival was a huge success, with visitors travelling from interstate and even from overseas to attend.

Co-director Adrian Young said it was the "biggest influx of visitors we've ever had at the event".

Interstate travellers from Sydney and Melbourne and Queensland tourists from Cairns, Townsville and Brisbane made the pilgrimage to River Sessions.

 

The crowds were electric as an estimated 5000 people attended this year's River Sessions.
The crowds were electric as an estimated 5000 people attended this year's River Sessions. Zizi Averill

Co-director Michael Delaney said the 11-hour festival only encountered "a couple hiccups".

The main hiccup, Mr Delaney said, was that River Sessions struggled to make a splash online after the collapse of the 4G network.

He said the festival was a victim of its own success, saying "that's what happens when you get 4500-5000 people and only one tower".

For the 50-strong team of police officers and drug sniffing dogs, River Sessions was a surprisingly "low-key" event, a Queensland Police Service spokesman said.

He said only one man had been found with "a small amount of cannabis".

The crowd was well behaved, with no reports of antisocial behaviour or assaults linked to the festival.

"The only issues were some minor liquor offences. People walking around with drinks and a juvenile with a flask of vodka," he said.

A strategic blockade of officers conducting roadside breath testing on the main road to the harbour, Ron Searle Drive, allowed police to conduct 208 RBTs and five drug tests.

 

Police and sniffer dogs out in force to crack down on drug use at River Sessions.
Police and sniffer dogs out in force to crack down on drug use at River Sessions. Zizi Averill

Only one person, a 19-year-old Walkerston man, tested positive to the drug driving tests, and there were no drunk drivers caught.

"We're overall very happy with the behaviour. It is pretty rare to not detect a single drink driver after a major event like that," the police spokesman said.

Two traffic infringement notices were also issued, one for driving without P plates and another for driving a defective vehicle.

 

More than  50 police officers were on hand to deal with the crowds at River Sessions.
More than 50 police officers were on hand to deal with the crowds at River Sessions. Zizi Averill

As the festival closed and revellers poured into the city heart for the after party, the spokesman said police encountered "the usual Saturday night stuff" - just with more glitter.

A Queensland Ambulance Service spokeswoman said there were five callouts to Mulherin Dr, where River Sessions took place, between 1pm and 9pm.

"They were for various medical jobs, none were critical. They were all stable patients," she said.



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