FESTIVE revellers in Gloucester made a mockery of so-called ‘Black Eye Friday’ as thousands turned out to enjoy themselves and celebrate the end of the working year.
Police and security staff were expecting a busy time as Christmas parties started early. But a relatively trouble free night unfolded to show new safety measures brought into the evening economy are starting to take effect.
Police recorded no major incidents of public disorder or unrest from Friday night in Eastgate Street.
Rich Payne, manager of Zest said: “We had around 1400 people through the door on Friday and there was no trouble all night, which is pretty unheard of for that particular day of the year.
“There seemed to be a real sea change this year. Rather than have people going out straight from work at around 12 and then staying out all night drinking, people were popping out for a few and then going home. We then had the normal Friday night crowd coming into town later on.
“The pedestrianisation along Eastgate Street definitely helped. Rather than have all these people crowded into a small space trying to dodge traffic, they could spread out so there was less chance of confrontation.
“There was a great atmosphere and to have a relatively trouble free night when there were so many people out was a real sign of progress.”
Liz Skelton, from Painswick Road, was out celebrating with her friends and work colleagues from Abbey Design Associates in Cafe Rene.
“It has been a great atmosphere and everyone is enjoying themselves in the right way. It is as busy as I have seen it for some time.”
James Llewellyn, manager of The Regal in Kings Square, said: “We were prepared for Black Friday but everyone was in good spirits.
“We could stay open until 4am if necessary and there are plenty of people out enjoying themselves. It is good to see.”