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Police handout photo

Police handout photo

More than 200 prohibited knives were seized from vendors at the Festival of Friends.

Festival of Friends head downplays illegal knives seizure

By Laura Lennie, News Staff

The head of Festival of Friends says the police seizure of 213 illegal knives from two vendors is an “insignificant occurrence” compared to the overall success of this past weekend’s event.

Loren Lieberman said the music festival was safe and event organizers drew police attention to the fact that one of the vendors was selling the illicit weapons.

He said the weapons seizure shouldn’t detract from the success of the three-day event at the Ancaster Fairgrounds, where “hundreds of thousands of people took in a wonderful music festival and great performances.”

“What minusculey happened was one of the vendors who was selling medieval décor, chainmail, masks, that kind of stuff, ceremonial swords that you would mount on your wall, was also selling knives,” Lieberman said. “We have hundreds of vendors. One of them tried to screw us and break the rules and it was addressed.”

Hamilton police offered a different version on how the knives were seized Saturday evening.

In a press release sent out Monday, media spokesperson Const. Debbie McGreal-Dinning said officers discovered the first 147 prohibited weapons – knives with spring-loaded blades – at a vendor across from the beer tent.

Officers identified two other knife vendors, one of whom had 66 prohibited weapons on display, she said.

Those weapons also were seized.

McGreal-Dinning said police are investigating if the vendors knew the knives were illegal.

Lieberman said the festival already has a strict protocol for ensuring that vendors are actually selling what they’ve committed to sell.

And in this case, their check discovered the knives, he said.

“So I don’t know that we need to change any rules because what we did and what have in place worked,” Lieberman said. “Like in previous years, vendors will apply, they will send us photographs and list the items of which they will be bringing and then we make our rounds and see that that (is followed). Everybody sets up at the same time; we do not have a staff member per vendor, it takes some time and it is addressed.”

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