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Byron Shire
May 15, 2021

Police move in on drumming circle in Bruns

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Paul Bibby

Local police have been accused of ‘playing power games’ in relation to the Brunswick Heads drumming circle, after they set up a random breath test operation directly opposite the gathering.

In a move that appeared to directly target the drummers and dancers, officers from Tweed-Byron Police parked their testing van next to Torakina Park on January 3.

A gathering at Torakina Park in Brunswick Heads. Photo Tree Faerie.

This is the location where the circles have taken place on Sunday afternoons and evenings for much of the past year.

A local man who attended the January 3 gathering said that the drummers were told to move on by police. ‘A group of around 30 people stayed in the park,’ said the man, who asked to remain anonymous.

‘The vibe was good, but many were disappointed at the level of police enforcement. Police were playing power games’.

After being moved on, a group of drummers reportedly headed up to the surf club and recommenced playing.

However, the drummers and those watching them were once again moved on by police soon after, at around 5.30pm.

‘One lady asked why, and was told by police that they had been ordered by NSW Health to move on groups of over 100.’

‘What’s funny is that there was no ‘group’ per se – just a Sunday afternoon at the beach with people in small groups in various locations watching a small group of drummers.

A police spokesperson confirmed that officers had gone to the park, and said that they had been ‘engaged by a private company to operate a User Pays Service’.

‘As part of this operation, officers conducted a traffic enforcement operation in the nearby area.’

The spokesperson did not comment on the private company which had hired the police to intervene, but The Echo understands that it was Reflections Holiday Parks.

The spokesperson denied that police had issued any move-on directions in Torakina Park or at the Surf Club. She said officers had been called to the surf club ‘following reports of intoxicated persons’.

The drumming circle has been a source of considerable community discussion and debate over the past two months, as it has grown in popularity. A number of long-term Bruns locals have complained about the noise generated by the drumming, as well as what they say is a lack of social distancing.

Those taking part in the gathering say that it is a spontaneous event that provides a vital opportunity for human connection and creativity.


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  1. We need to work with council to stop these infringements on our local drumming culture by the police… It is a cornerstone of this community’s way of connecting and this police action is just not acceptable.

  2. It seems that our local police are not here to serve and protect the people, but have become paid mercenaries used by the cashed up private sector for person gain.
    This is a sad situation, using the local cops to enforce the life style of the newbies who prefer beer and football to drums and dancing. Its a sad day indeed.

  3. The anti-police culture in Byron is atrocious.
    If you are not breaking the law then you don’t have anything to worry about. If you are taking drugs and hanging around public areas then I expect the Police to be involved.
    If you are breaking what are pretty reasonable safeguards for COVID (and given the huge amount of transients in the area it is obviously a concern) then let the Police do their job to disperse people.

    You are living in fantasy land if you think you can have your Byron bubble without the protection of the state.

  4. Can we hire the police to evict Reflections from the southern section of terrace park? They currently have no licence to operate and are in breach of 2015 & 2028 AtOs which prohibited Park activities in sth area due to adverse impact on protected coastal cypress pine trees. The ongoing encroachment by reflections and obstruction of riverside walkway in terrace holiday park has been a contentious issue for 2 decades yet neither council nor the police have responded to their illegal activities – nor fined them for destroying protected trees and operating without a license!

  5. I find it distressing having the drummers and crowd in my backyard each Sunday. I am forced to listen or leave my home for up to 5hrs. Perhaps Jason, and the other drummers, would like to practice in his own backyard.

  6. Tell me something, why are NSW Police doing the bidding of a private company and exactly how much do they charge?

    I have a few jobs for them


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