Big Splash crowd praised for tidiness

It appeared to be a bigger crowd and it was definitely a tidy one.

Organizers estimated 40,000 people gathered around the Inner Harbour on Sunday for the 29th annual Symphony Splash under beautiful weather conditions.

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The open-air concert featured musicians from the Victoria Symphony playing from a barge moored in the Inner Harbour.

“Last year there was a haze over the city from all the fires burning in the Interior,” said Jill Smillie, Symphony Splash spokesperson. “We believe that air quality issues kept some people away.”

This year, the streets and lawns around the harbour appeared more crowded.

Clear skies and calm winds meant perfect conditions for the legions of music lovers who either came early to get the best spots or later to stand shoulder-to shoulder on the streets adjacent to the harbour. A flotilla of kayaks bobbed about on the water as well.

The concert, a little shorter than in previous years, featured movie music, including pieces from Gone with the Wind, E.T. and Star Wars.

Despite the beverage garden reporting three times the number of patrons versus last year, there was no uptick in complaints.

Victoria police reported no major issues. The department deployed a temporary closed circuit television system to monitor the crowd for the second year in a row.

When it was all over an army of volunteers swooped in to clean up. “We had a very clean and respectful crowd,” said Smillie. “They monitored themselves well and it took volunteers less time than last year to clean up.”

A second sweep Monday morning for rubbish missed by the cleaners the night before took less than an hour.

“We went over the area with a fine-tooth comb picking up micro-trash,” said Smillie. “You would never have known that there were 40,000 people there the night before.”

parrais@timescolonist.com

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