Emergency Official Calls Binge Drinking Concert-Goers A “Public Health Issue”

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For those who have been to a major concert, the issue of drinking and drug use is no strange concept. In fact it is historically considered to go hand in hand with seeing live music.

Unfortunately, there are some who would choose to make the legend a reality, to their own detriment.

The Courant reports that Dr. Steven Wolf, chairman of the emergency department at St. Francis Hospital, said at a press conference yesterday that the issue of binge drinking at concerts has risen to the level of a public health issue.

In what seems to be a perennial concern, concerts at the Comcast Theatre in Hartford and tailgating that happens for hours before a concert even begins are what city officials called a focus of the issue.

“We want people to be there and have a good time, and tailgating is certainly a part of that, but we want people to act responsibly,” responded John Huff, general manager for the Comcast Theatre.  “You don’t need to be out there for five hours to have a good time.”

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Fourteen years ago, a Dave Matthews Band concert at the Hartford Meadows (as it was called back then) resulted in a full blown riot as intoxicated crowd members became unruly.

While nothing at that level has happened since, it is true that intoxicated concert goers are a real problem for themselves and for others trying to enjoy the concert.

From personal experience on a smaller scale, it’s horrible to try and enjoy a band while someone spills a beer down your back without any remorse. On a bigger scale, having a drunken brawl cause a band to stop a show ruins the night for everyone.

But it’s also true that often the legend outweighs the reality. The vast majority of people at any given concert are sober, or at least responsible. What is it about the very idea of a concert that would make some want to go overboard?

It’s safe to assume most of you readers are concert goers… do you think drinking or smoking is a real big problem at concerts, or is it just part of the experience? Is this restricted to only one genre of music, like country, or metal?

And most important of all, how do you keep people safe while ensuring everyone has a good time?

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