A concert is a concert is a concert. People are going to drink, people are going to use illegal substances, and people are going to get rowdy — no matter what type of music the band plays.
How is it that Parrotheads are more acceptable to Spreadheads? The same debauchery happens no matter what. As an avid concertgoer, myself I have seen all kinds of things break out in large crowds.
The same numbers could probably be quoted for the ever-popular Mullet Toss at the Flora-Bama that applauds a stripper pole.
The controversy is that Orange Beach, Alabama, Mayor Tony Kennon wrote a letter to oppose the venue booking Wide Spread Panic again due to some fans who made mistakes in 2010.
While I appreciate that there are good and decent people that cause no trouble at Widespread Panic concerts, the facts about the negative impact of Widespread Panic concerts in the City of Orange Beach speak for themselves:
On average more than 100 arrests and it could have been three to four times that many concert goers sleeping in halls and business doorways at The Wharf, in resident homeowners garages, in vacant rental homes without permission, in the woods, along our recreation trails, on our beaches and in cars all over town.
Inebriated and stoned concert goers who walk down Beach Highway at all hours of the night out of their minds, causing traffic issues, risking harm to themselves and those on the roads, running the emergency medical services ragged.
Public and private property destruction, trash left behind all over the city and the list goes on and on with vandalism and lack of respect for property
These are documented and factual results of the chaos and destruction as a result of the previous Widespread Panic concerts in Orange Beach. These shows have caused the City of Orange Beach more grief than all other concerts combined. Of additional concern, this concert has been scheduled on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, the kickoff of the summer season, one of our busiest weekends.
The bottom line is from a business perspective, we are a family friendly destination. Those who act irresponsibly, as do a large number in previous attendance at Wide Spread Panic concerts in Orange Beach, don’t promote or support what we stand for as a community and have repeatedly proven to not respect our laws, the residents, business owners and visitors of our city while the are here.
If after the May 22, 2015 concert at The Wharf, we see a positive change in behavior, we may reconsider our position, but until then, all we have to go on is past behavior and impact on our city.
I was elected as Mayor to represent and protect the City of Orange Beach. I absolutely make no apologies for taking this position. I do not speak for the Council or Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Silvers, although I do understand and support his level of frustration and concern about the return of an event that has cause chaos in our community time and time again.
Everyone deserves a second chance. How can you deny the many to stop the few? This seems to be a question about the perceived amount of money people have. It is about the love of music and fat cats need to be more open minded.