Both fans and performers have a personal responsibility to behave appropriately at concert events where alcohol is consumed and to follow some basic rules of conduct. Here in Sullivan County, management at our very fine local concert venue at Bethel Woods clearly wants to take responsibility, too. Its alcohol policy and code of conduct are posted on its website. In part, it says: “Guests shall not act in an unruly or disruptive manner and shall not interfere with other guests’ enjoyment of the event... Guests are not permitted to bring in alcoholic beverages from outside and may not leave with alcohol purchased inside the venue… Guests who drink alcoholic beverages shall do so in a responsible manner... Event patrons and guests who violate the code of conduct will be subject to ejection without refund.” These rules make good sense, and whenever necessary they need to be enforced as vigorously as they were last Friday at Bethel Woods’ last big concert bash of the season. Uniformed state troopers, mounted police and drug-sniffing dogs were widely in evidence. Alcohol was confiscated at the entrance gate, and when people tried to leave with beer in their hands at the end of the concert. Visibly intoxicated people were removed during the show.
We salute the management at Bethel Woods for taking such aggressive action to prevent what some concert goers have seen as a growing problem of late. For concert goers, the bottom line is simple: if you cannot police yourselves and your own use of alcohol, then stronger security and enforcement measures must be taken for the safety of all who attend and to guarantee that they can enjoy the event.
Finally, we suggest that in the future fans speak up to let venue management know how they feel when alcohol-fueled behavior crosses the line. If everyone simply accepts what has been accepted as the status quo concerning alcohol at concerts, nothing will change.