Clubs boycott festival because of booze ban

22nd July 2005, Comments 0 comments

BAYONNE, France, July 22, 2005 (AFP) - Authorities in the southwestern French city of Bayonne are forbidding the sale of alcohol past four in the morning during a five-day festival next month ... and the clubs that usually sell it are sulking.

BAYONNE, France, July 22, 2005 (AFP) - Authorities in the southwestern French city of Bayonne are forbidding the sale of alcohol past four in the morning during a five-day festival next month ... and the clubs that usually sell it are sulking.

The festival, which includes bullfights, kicks off on the evening of August 3, but the clubs, known as penas, are planning to boycott the opening instead of serving alcohol from 1:00 am to 6:00 am or 7:00 am, as in the past.

And -- horror of horrors -- they will open in the daytime after that, something they have never deigned to do during the 73 years the festival has been running.

The festival attracts up to 1.5 million "festayres" dressed in red and white.

The problem is that their eyes tend to be the same colour.

"We had to counter excessive drunkenness and a tendency to party non-stop," Bayonne mayor Jean Grenet told AFP.

Gorka Robles, the head of an association grouping half of the 70 penas, blames it all on out-of-towners.

"The problems are caused by people who turn up from outside and don't know how the festival works, thinking that Bayonne is lawless," he said.

Last year, one man fell to his death from the ramparts, police hauled in about 1,000 too-enthusiastic celebrants, and damage amounted to more than EUR 100,000.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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