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The Wet Electric Festival at the state park in Huntington Beach went forward on Saturday, even though H. B. council members were against the festival and fought hard to get it stopped, citing all the damage store owners incurred from the riot, during U.S. Open of Surfing in July. But it looks like the party was successful, meaning no riots, but organizers of the event probably weren’t as happy. They expected crowds upwards of 10,000, but according to police, it was more like 5,500. Tickets were selling for $75 a person. I’m guessing they lost money. This event is held in several cities; alcohol is served, with no major problems, so maybe next year they will skip Huntington Beach.
Why was the turnout so low? One reason and maybe the biggest reason is, that a couple days before the event, an Orange County superior court judge ruled that the party could go on as scheduled, but without alcohol.
Some attendees complained about it but others said they still had a good time, even if there was no alcohol. As usual, there were a few who went around the law and left the concert to “drink,” walking or riding bikes to nearby liquor stores or bars. Police reported very few arrests and most partiers who returned to the venue drunk, were driven home by taxis. I am guessing downtown store owners were relieved.
Will this change the minds of those who went yesterday? I mean , will some discover that they can have fun without alcohol? There should be at least a few who won’t have to ask friends to tell them what happened. No blackouts. No hangovers or YouTube videos showing someone doing something they will regret later…especially when it’s caught on camera.
What about future events, festivals and U.S. Open of Surfing? The Wet Electric Festival was “contained” by keeping party goers in a confined area, with staff monitoring who came in and out. Most street festivals don’t work that way, although many now have designated “beer gardens.” So… is the only answer to a safe and riot-free event — a heavier police presence?
Has our society now come down to that? We want our alcohol and we want to drink it wherever we want — especially at concerts. Are we willing to put up with future riots or fights from those who get “crazy” from drinking liquor, just to be able to get our own “buzz “on? Are we willing to be monitored by even more security?
The last concert I attended, was “Jimmy Buffet and the Coral Reefer Band” at the Spectrum. I will admit Buffet concert goers are all about having a “good time” and that includes getting drunk. His songs are mostly about that. Have you seen the price of beer these days at concerts or sports events? I would think $10 a beer would slow down the drinking but it appears not to.
Why can’t we have fun at such events without alcohol? Does alcohol really make the event or music more fun? I’m sure we all know there will be those who will get behind the wheel of a car and drive home, even though they had too many drinks. What is the legal limit? I think it’s .08. I don’t drink anymore, but when I did, I was noticeably intoxicated after only one large glass of wine. How many of us drink only one beer or wine? Walking outside in the hot sun seems to get people drunk faster. I don’t know why that is. For many, alcohol seems to encourage them to make choices they would not make if they were sober… like taking part in a riot.
I don’t have a problem with alcohol in general, but I just don’t think it needs to be offered in so many places. I don’t understand why it needs to be served at ball games, for instance. Can’t people take a break from alcohol for a couple of hours and just watch the game with family and friends? Why do we need “beer gardens” at street fairs? Can’t we just enjoy the day, looking at what street vendors have to offer and maybe buying something from them? I think by seeing the low turnout at yesterday’s festival the answer may be “no.”
What do you think?