VIDEO: COVID compliance investigation after festival brawl
POLICE are investigating COVID and alcohol licensing compliance at a Gold Coast music festival, after an out-of-control fight broke out between drunken revelers at the conclusion of the event.
Ten additional officers had to be ferried over to the Gold Coast Vibez festival at Couran Cove where pepper spray was used to diffuse the brawl.
It comes as another DJ festival, held at the Gold Coast Turf Club, was temporarily paused on Saturday, after concerns were raised about social distancing.
It's prompted a warning by police to revelers and event organisers to be mindful of the restrictions surrounding COVID-19 ahead of Australia Day.
Authorities were initially called to Couran Cove, on South Stradbroke Island, about 8.30pm Saturday after reports an "intoxicated" patron had bumped a control lever causing the vessel to scrape against a jetty.
While water police attended the event, security raised concerns that "a number of intoxicated patrons" had started fighting and it had spilt into the Queensland Ambulance Service tent which was being "overrun", Acting Superintendent Scott Knowles said.
"There was some capsicum spray deployed by the attending police to stop some of the fighting, to stop some of the invasion of the Queensland Ambulance Service tent," he said.
The crowd was dispersed as patrons were ferried back to the mainland.
No one was arrested or fined on the night.
Police are now investigating the conditions of the organiser's liquor licensing arrangements and COVID safe plan and whether they were complied with.
The Gold Coast Vibez described itself as the Coast's "newest beach festival experience".
"Party with some of the nations hottest urban DJ's and performers at the ALL NEW Couran Cove Island Resort tropical beachfront venue," its Facebook page said.
The other festival, held at the Gold Coast Turf Club, was temporarily stopped after issues were raised by The Office of Liquor and Gaming.
Send It festival organiser Mark Bromley said an approved COVID safe plan was in place.
He said the issue was in relation to "social distancing" towards the stage area.
"The powers that be came in and wanted 1.5 metres distance between everybody. We certainly had the message up on screens and we had all of the signs up and we kept sending the message out by microphone," he said.
"That's all you can do. We understand people have got to do a job and we understand the times that we're in.
"I was happy with how it was approached by everyone and happy that we were given a clearance that we were able to continue. It was just a minor interruption, whilst we actually had our audience physically distance."
A spokesman for Gold Coast Vibez told the Bulletin via Facebook it was a "major success" despite the police incident, and maintained that a COVID safe plan was in use.
He said the fight happened as people were waiting for boats at the end of the night and the event was not shutdown.
The spokesman slammed the security and said they could not handle the crowd.
"If we had better security none of this would have happened," he said.
The spokesman, who said they were assisting police with their investigation, said the resort was in charge of boats and security. The Bulletin has attempted to contact the resort for comment.
Originally published as VIDEO: Police investigate COVID compliance after festival brawl