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The Ghent Festivities are one of the largest open-air events in Belgium and attract a large number of national and international visitors every year.

During the Ghent Festivities, which attract many visitors every year, stricter enforcement applies this year to the use of drones in and around the festival area. For the first time, pilots who ignore the no-fly zone can be tracked down by the police and risk a GAS fine of up to 350 euros.

The no-fly zone covers a radius of 250 meters around the city center and the various festival locations spread across Ghent. This drone ban is not new; it has existed for several years, but from this edition of the Ghent Festivities it will become a permanent measure in the city's police regulations. Spokesman Matto Langeraert explains that although the police have long had the ability to remove drones from the air, they now also have the technology to track and fine their drivers.

However, the police themselves use drones to monitor safety and crowds above the festival zone. Previously, it borrowed devices from other police zones, but it is currently investigating whether the city of Ghent can purchase its own drones, after approval was given at the end of last year.

The rules regarding the use of drones during the Ghent Festivities are clear. It is prohibited to fly drones within the established perimeter without prior permission from the mayor during construction, the festival itself and its dismantling. These regulations are in line with applicable legal provisions to guarantee the privacy and safety of festival goers.

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Ghent Festivities
Illustration: © Pitane Blue - Gentse Feesten

The need for such measures has already been demonstrated in the past. For example, the Ghent police imposed a drone ban above the KAA Gent Arena during a football match against the Israeli club Maccabi Haifa on February 21. This decision, signed by Filip Watteeuw, acting mayor of Ghent, was in response to the threat that pro-Palestinian activists would use the match as a platform for protest, with the use of drones posing a potential risk.

The Ghent Festivities are one of the largest open-air events in Belgium and attract a large number of national and international visitors every year. The event is known for its extensive program that combines culture, music and entertainment, and the safety of visitors is a top priority for the organizers and local authorities.

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