Memorial Day weekend ushers in the unofficial start of summer time, and with it the concert season, outdoor festivals, outdoor theater and fairs. This also means that public drinking and underage drinking are more likely at events.
State and local police departments, in cooperation with concert venues like the XFINITY Center (aka: the Meadows) in Hartford and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are teaming up to crackdown on underage drinking and drug use that could jeopardize lives and lead to dangerous driving conditions.
Most underage drinking occurs in the parking lot as a tailgate style party with beer and hard liquor hours before the show, as opposed to drunken consumption in the venue during the performance. In an interview with Channel 3 WFSB, Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley recounted his experiences with drug and alcohol related incidents at Hartford area concert venues. "Many times the kids don't even have tickets. They just come here for the keg party. It's not OK to drop your child off at the meadows (XFINITY Theater) at 4 p.m. and pick them up at 11 p.m. or 12 p.m. A lot of times, these are the kids that are getting transported to the hospital, these are the ones abusing drugs and alcohol," said Deputy Chief Foley.
MADD advises on its website and in press releases that parents should not drop their children off hours before the show, and drop them off closer to the event start time to reduce the risk and temptations of keg parties.