Young people's "botellón" street-drinking parties have been a phenomenon for years in Majorca, but the problems caused by them, and the number of people involved, are increasing, especially at fiesta time.
Mostly all municipalities in Majorca are faced with dealing with the botellón, but each has its own particular circumstances. At the weekend, representatives from various town halls gathered in Soller to share experiences and to seek ways of preventing this drinking. The mayors of Bunyola and Mancor de la Vall attended, as did councillors, senior officials and local police officers from Alaro, Binissalem, Esporles, Felanitx, Llubi, Marratxi, Petra, Pollensa, Puigpunyent, Sineu and Soller.
The intention of Soller town hall was to work together in order to "educate, prevent and offer alternatives". This should be done "without criminalising young people". Although they are the problem, they are also part of the solution. There was a consensus among those attending to priortise the most urgent actions against the botellón, above all addressing the scarcity of measures which can be drawn on.
Soller has a particular issue with drinking on the day of the Moors and Christians re-enactment; it has already announced specific measures that will be adopted for next month's fiesta. The town hall's councillor for participation, Laura Celià, was one of the main speakers, as was Joan Ferrà Terrassa, an Esporles councillor and also the director for the Institute of Youth Affairs within the Balearic government.
He pointed out that since 2011 the problem has increased or arisen in certain municipalities where there didn't used to be an issue. In part this is because of a tightening of bylaws issued by some town halls, including Palma, by which the botellón is outlawed and is prosecuted.
Local police officers explained that there has been some success in campaigns carried out in secondary schools which make young people identify with the values of local fiestas and take an interest in keeping these alive rather than getting involved in drinking parties. The police also noted that there are plenty of young people who don't go to fiestas just to drink.