Tuesday, July 19, 2011

SPAC concerts -- It's About the Music

There’s been a bit of a lapse since my last blog, but when I emerged from the cocoon I encountered a delightful sight-- summer in Saratoga.  Parking problems aside, I love all our community has to offer: the ballet, orchestra, track, boutiques, parks,  restaurants, and local musicians. In the past two weeks, eldest son and I have enjoyed spectacular performances by Opera Saratoga and Saratoga Shakespeare. There’s no question why Saratoga is a popular jaunt for locals on day trips as well as a vacation destination for people from across the country.

SPAC is certainly one of the jewels of our community, with concerts for every musical taste-- from chamber music to rap, and jazz to rock. My musical tastes have changedover the years, but SPAC has been a constant throughout. Many of us locals have fond memories of attending our first concerts at SPAC. Today I’m more apt to buy tickets to the ballet or orchestra, but  I see my kids saving   their money to buy tickets to rock concerts. The Live Nation concerts are a unique and valuable part of our summer scene here in Saratoga... BUT any rock concert that has 20,000+ attendees, many young, poses an opportunity for risky behaviors. We’ve all read the headlines about underage drinking, drunk drivers on the road after concerts, and assaults at concerts. Enjoyable evenings can progress from music to mayhem.

But that’s where Saratoga is different. For the past 3 years, SPAC, NYS Parks and Recreation, the district attorney’s office, law enforcement and community agencies like the Prevention Council and Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services have strategized ways to prevent problem activities so everyone can enjoy the concerts. Last year’s efforts to aggressively enforce the no alcohol policy on SPAC grounds reduced overconsumption and underage drinking. That means fewer assaults, fewer medical emergencies and  fewer drunk drivers on the road. It’s not always a popular decision, but it’s about preserving a venue where fans can enjoy the music.  Bad behavior at rock concerts is not a new phenomenon, but in some communities tragedies have resulted in the bands being barred. Wall Street Journal- The Taming of the Fans

Tomorrow: Tips for parents about concert safety

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