When Will Country Admit It Has A Drinking Problem?
July 25, 2014
Jimmy Carter in his homebase Nashville.
A 22-year-old college student went to the Jason Aldean stadium show in Cleveland this week and drank himself to death. Homicide detectives found Cory Barron's Aldean ticket in his pants pocket when they found him dead at the city dump.
It's an ugly story created by an "anything goes" partying policy a major Country shows around the country.
Let's go back to 2008:
Boston, CBS TV
The Country music festival was marred by tragedy in 2008 when 20-year-old Debra Davis of Milton and her friend Alexa Latteo, 19, of Mansfield, were killed after the car Latteo was driving veered into a tree on Route 1 in Wrentham just after they left the venue.
Police at the time said the two did not have tickets for the event, but spent the day in the parking lot. This year, Foxborough officials said, they will also work with owners of private parking areas in other parts of town that could be eyed by revelers as places to circumvent the new rule and get the party rolling before the stadium lots open.
This was the beginning ... drink until you fall over all-day tailgating before a Chesney show ... No one make those kids drink and drive ... life goes on...
Fast-forward past hundreds, if not thousands, of arrests at Country shows all over the county ... The crime list related in one way or another to booze is long. Moving to 2009 ... upsate NY
William "Billy" Sutherland, 33, of Bradford, PA, was found dead in Sunshine Lake. It's a small body of water located within the parking areas of the theme park.
Mr. Sutherland had attended the Toby Keith concert at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center with friends on Friday night. After the concert ended, Mr. Sutherland became separated from his friends. Mr. Sutherland's friends spent several hours looking for him before heading back to Pennsylvania. When Mr. Sutherland failed to return home or contact family and friends, they got worried and drove back to Darien Lake Saturday. There the group continued their search and reported Sutherland missing to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.
Life goes on ... business as usual ... no one claims any responsibility....
Fast forward to this week...
A landfill worker discovered the body of 22-year-old Cory Barron about 1:45p Tuesday at the Lorain County Landfill. Early statements from police say that Barron fell five stories through a trash chute after he wandered away from his family during the Jason Aldean concert.
A friend of Barron's said he was extremely intoxicated when she last saw him, a police report said.
Police arrested 35 people on alcohol-related charges at the Aldean concert Saturday, a press release from the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.
It's called denial ... is this really what you folks at the Country Music Association want this genre of music to be known for? Party until you puke or maybe even die? It's an industry issue and someone needs to address the problem.
The Mayor of Pittsburgh has seen enough mayhem at Country shows. Prior to this weekend's Aldean show, changes to the rules were made ... They may not work but at least someone is recognizing the "anything goes" plan isn't working.
Mayor Bill Peduto: "We want Country music concerts to come to Pittsburgh. We want a lot of concerts to come to Pittsburgh, but we want people to behave in a responsible manner, and we're going to work with the promoters to ensure that the experience is enjoyable for everyone,"
"So, lots last time opened at 11a. This time, they will open at 2p. That's three-and-a-half hours before the gates open,"
"Anyone who decides to come in earlier to use the neighborhoods as a tailgating area, the laws will be enforced, meaning open container laws will be enforced, so it will not be advisable to look for other areas to begin earlier tailgating,"
A Cleveland newspaper reporter described this lovely scene:
"A woman standing about five feet away from me was singing along with Miranda Lambert when she abruptly threw up all over herself and the man next to her. And just about no one else seemed to notice. They were too busy having the time of their lives.
"What I am saying is that I went to a huge concert last weekend and, at times, I didn't feel completely safe surrounded by a large number of people who appeared to be intoxicated. Perhaps that was just my singular experience, but it's certainly made me question whether or not I'd ever go to a stadium concert again."
Is this the image Country music wants? Always had a little of this going on but not to this level of excess and on this scale of crazy.
It is not out of the question to imagine something really bad happening under a unique scenario. That many drunks in one place. This is a warning shot over the bow. Keep everything the way it is and you just might shoot the goose that laid the golden egg.
Don't tolerate underage or out-of-control drinkers. Slow down the tailgating. Let the major public drunks understand there will be consequences.
The NFL and most major colleges put the brakes on drinking years ago. Country is late to the party. No one suggest prohibition ... just some decent rules of engagement.
The show will be a lot more fun if the folks go to hear the music and not have to deal with drunks puking on their shoes.