Damn, LiveNation! Would you ban the birds for singing? In a rather belated response to two alcohol-related deaths and 83 arrests at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel last August, LiveNation is banning tailgating from at least five shows at the venue this summer. These gigs will include ones by John Mayer, OAR, 311, Linkin Park, and WTKU’s Beatstock. Not that I planned hitting a 311 concert in Jersey this summer, but this still seems painfully uncool. There has to be a way to curb violence and underage alcohol abuse without eliminating half the reason people go to hippie jams and festivals in the first place. And why only these five shows?
Planned concerts at the PNC Bank Arts Center that will presumably allow tailgating include James Taylor, The Ringo Starr All-Starr Band, Chicago/Doobie Brothers, John Mellencamp, Rush, Donna Summer, Joe Cocker/Steve Miller, Kenny Chesney, Yes, James Blunt, The Police/Elvis Costello, Maroon 5/Counting Crows, Judas Priest, Boston and the Jonas Brothers. Aside from the Jonas Brothers (whose prepubescent fans love to get hiiiiiigh don’t you know), all these acts are aimed at audiences well above drinking age, unless accompanied by a parent. But what about Warped? Ozzfest? Well, those shows won’t be happening at the venue at all.
“We need to teach kids that getting out of control in the parking lot is not cool,” Live Nation New York president Kevin Morrow told a small audience at Holmdel High School last month. “We have tried to get some of the more sober musicians to do public service announcements, but they don’t want to be the poster child for it.”
“I have never had someone die at one of my shows,” Morrow also said. “So, we decided to remove shows like Ozzfest, the Mayhem Tour and Warped Tour.”
Seeing as how teenage revelry isn’t solely a Jersey thing, can we assume other LiveNation-booked ampitheatres (there are about 40) will soon enact similar plans, or will this be forgotten in a year? Could this signal the end of youth-oriented festivals that stoners can be stoned at?