The Moors and Christians battle of Soller's Firó, to be held this year on 9 May, is a victim of its own success. The battle attracts that many visitors that the town hall is looking at measures to limit numbers. It is the final battle that is of most concern. It takes place in the Plaça Constitució, where town hall technicians say that the maximum capacity is 9,000 people. Of these, 4,000 are reserved for participants - the Moors and the peasants - with the rest being spectators. A problem can be trying to distinguish between them, while overcrowding has led to safety fears.
One measure being considered is the issuing of wristbands so that it is clear who is who and in order to try and reduce the crowds, and the limit is due to be set at 9,000. Once the limit has been reached, the likelihood is that access will be closed off.
Soller's councillor for participation, Laura Celià, has been meeting with organising groups and the police to arrive definitively at what measures should be introduced - final decisions have yet to be taken - with another likely to be a reduction in publicity for the event. This said, the town hall is making clear that visitors are welcome but also making clear, in essence, that they know to behave themselves.
One of the problems encountered in recent years is the fact that people go just to party, which means drinking and street-drinking parties (the botellón) in particular. The town hall is looking at further regulation in this regard, despite the fact that local ordinance already prohibits it. Another possible measure will be to have an alternative area set aside for those who don't specifically go for the battle. This could mean having local bars providing drinks in the Plaça Espanya.
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