KEI bans balloons, but message falls on deaf ears
Pubs and cafés participating in Wednesday night’s KEI-week pub crawl were contractually banned from selling laughing gas balloons. A breach of this contract could lead up to a €500 fine and a three-years long blacklist blocking businesses from officially taking part in the celebrations.
By introducing the contract, the KEI organization hopes to discourage students from buying the infamous balloons. Although they are not legally seen as drugs, not much is known about the long-term health effect of the gas students inhale.
However the message did not discourage students from getting their hands on gas-filled balloons. As UKrant went to have a look during the pub crawl, several locations very close to the pub crawl’s route were seen selling the ‘party drug’.
These included a couple convenience stores on Poelestraat and the frequented cloakroom nearby. Some partygoers stood in line for a cart full of balloons that provided a mobile selling point delivering the gas wherever it was needed.
Shops and pubs that have not signed a contract with KEI were not affected by the ban. Therefore they were allowed to sell balloons to everyone, including KEI-week attendees.
Limit the use
The voluntary balloon ban calls the effectiveness of this measure into question. ‘We do what we can to limit the use of balloons’, says Remmie Palland, chairman of KEI-week’s board.
‘We are against it and we don´t want it at our events’, she continues, ‘That’s why we had no balloons at our parties on Grote Markt and we won’t have them at the final party in the Kardinge Sportcentrum, either.’
While the KEI-week organization is taking a clear stand against the use of gas balloons, their message still falls on many deaf ears. ‘It’s sad to see that these places sell the balloons to students. For example, the cloakroom did not want to take part in the pub crawl, instead they made their money from selling balloons’, Palland adds. If profit remains the sole motivation of businesses, ‘we won’t be able to convince them’.
The published photograph above this article is not from Wednesday night’s Pub Crawl, but was taken on Tuesday night during the Night of the Songs on Grote Markt.