All Points West: Come For Radiohead, Stay For The Chance To Complain About The Beer Policies

By: Maura / August 11, 2008

AP080809028865.jpgI didn’t make it across the river to this weekend’s inaugural All Points West festival, which could have easily been retitled “Two days of Radiohead shows with lots of opening bands plus another underattended Jack Johnson show,” but the festival, which was put on by Coachella presenters Goldenvoice, has opened up the floodgates for complaints about many things, from a no-umbrella policy despite rain being in the forecast to the Roots being shunted off to a side stage while Kings Of Leon (?!) got the pre-Radiohead slot. The No. 1 reason for complaining, though, was the show’s policy on alcohol consumption, which was restricted not just by area (there were a few beer tents scattered around the grounds) but by volume; the 21-and-over wristbands that allowed people into the beer tent had five tabs on them, and each time a festivalgoer ordered a drink, a tab was ripped off by the person behind the counter, thus restricting consumption of beers to five per 10-hour day. On the bright side, this saved people money (beer cost between $7 and $9 a pop), but if there’s one thing people who spent a lot of money for a show don’t like, it’s the feeling of being pushed around in order to be able to spend their hard-earned cash.

Because the festival was held at a state park–New Jersey’s Liberty State Park–and open to all ages, the rules were particularly draconian; I’ve actually experienced similar issues with shows in the general NY metro area, including the Nassau Coliseum-hosted Warped Tour (where beer was only allowed to be consumed inside a Coliseum-adjacent fenced-in area that had sightlines of one tiny stage and one large one) and a few shows at Jones Beach Theater, which is at a New York state park and which, at one show I went to, actually limited alcohol consumption to the people who’d shelled out for one of those overpriced VIP packages.

However, it would appear from the complaints by ticketgoers that this festival’s alcohol policy wasn’t spelled out beforehand, which is something that would rankle even if I wasn’t planning on getting completely plastered in preparation for Thom Yorke & Co. busting out “Fake Plastic Trees.” (After all, given the choice between a beer and a Pepsi to go with my overpriced slice of pizza, I’d take the beer, if only for the palate-matching capabilities. Plus I really dislike Pepsi.) Given that All Points West is a new entrant in a super-crowded field, and ticket sales were reportedly not so great–particularly yesterday, when Jack Johnson headlined–wouldn’t full disclosure to the people who shelled out $200 be somewhat prudent, if only to ensure that people would actually come back in years when Radiohead wasn’t headlining?

Jersey City Serenades Miss Liberty With a New Rock Festival [NYT]
All Points West [Brooklyn Vegan]
[Photo: AP]