The Jacksonville Beach police chief says additional officers will be on duty for the Orange Crush Festival

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. Police prepare for a popular festival that will target the Jacksonville beaches.

Jacksonville Beach Police Chief Gene Paul Smith gave a presentation to the Jacksonville Beach City Council on June 20 about the Orange Crush Festival as if it were July 4th. This means that additional officers are on duty.

Orange Crush has been going on for 15 years and has been on Tybee Island, Georgia for 10 years. The festival, which celebrates urban culture and rap music, draws thousands.

“It’s always good energy,” said Jawan Barns, a Savannah resident. “Tybee Island to Jacksonville Beach, it will be a step up. Jacksonville will love it. “

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In 2019, 80 people were arrested on Tybee Island over the entire weekend of the Orange Crush Festival, according to Smith.

Smith said they are ready for any hassle of this year’s event and want to make sure everyone has fun and stays safe.

“We’ll have a full command post and everything for the weekend,” said Smith.

Some Jacksonville Beach business owners are nervous about the crowd.

“The crowd, we can handle a lot down here, but when you talk about 15,000 additional people down here, it gets insane,” said business owner David Gildart.

Smith said he doesn’t want the community to panic because they will have additional officials on duty this weekend who will strictly enforce things like violent behavior, house parties and tailgates.

But Smith said he was concerned that the event was not organized. He said no permits had been issued for the event and he had not received any specific plans for how the festival would work.

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“There really is no event. Everyone just shows up on the beach. It’s not really organized, ”he said.

He also advised people who rent their houses to be careful.

“We were advised to watch Airbnbs because they have a lot of house parties,” said Smith.

News4Jax reached out to an organizer of the event but had not received a response at the time of publication.

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