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TELL US: How Would You Address Underage Drinking at Country Fest, Other Concerts?

Foxborough Police took a proactive approach in crowd control during last weekend’s New England Country Music Festival at Gillette Stadium, resulting in over 100 arrests in two days. Do you agree with the strategy?

Some have criticized Foxborough Police for being “overzealous” during events at but that doesn’t concern Foxborough Police Chief Edward O’Leary.

What does concern O’Leary, who has 26 years of experience leading the Foxborough Police Department, is underage drinking and the public's safety during events at Gillette Stadium.

“I always have been an activist when it comes to underage drinking,” said O’Leary. “[No one was] unfairly treated [at the concerts] because they were underage and around alcohol.”

– the ninth to be held at Gillette Stadium since its inception in 2004. The result was better execution of its public safety plan during the concert this past weekend, which led to .

Of the 271 incidents reported during Friday's concert, 112 involved females and 95 involved underage drinking. At least three minors taken into protective custody on Friday were 16 years old and the youngest taken into custody for “underage drinking” was 15, according to O’Leary.

With those statistics telling the story, we want to know how you would address the problem of underage drinking at concerts like Country Fest, which typically draw younger crowds.

Would You …

  • Take a proactive approach similar to Foxborough Police, Massachusetts State Police and Gillette Stadium security to control the mass crowds and curtail underage drinking during tailgating at these events?
  • Let your teenager (under 21) son or daughter attend a concert without supervision? Why or why not?

If you don’t agree with how Foxborough Police handled Country Fest, what would you do differently?

Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

Edward Lonergan August 29, 2012 at 12:11 PM
As far as I am concerned you did everything right. If it were me I would not have done anything different. Good Luck on the next event! ED
xojmo August 29, 2012 at 07:30 PM
I think I'm going to be the wet blanket here. Don't allow tailgating. Plain and simple. This is where most, if not all, of the underage drinking is taking place. I'm sure the vendors inside are carding people accordingly. Also, why take underage drinkers into custody and then, what? Let them go to their parents? Oooooh. Scary! Maybe if it were illegal to drink when under 21 AND along with that was some sort of REAL punishment...just maybe the kids would stop doing it. Or would think twice about doing it at Gillette Stadium due to strict laws. Slaps on the wrists don't actually do anything.
csn August 30, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Last weekend was my 3rd Country Fest working in the lots, and I can honestly say that this is the only event of the year where drinking takes priority over the event itself. Yes, there are some who act responsibly and with some maturity, but the disgusting and obnoxious behavior of others outweighs the social value of the event in my mind. As for those who would target the police for overzealous reaction, I witnessed a tremendous amount of professionalism and restraint on their part. Young people need to realize that alcohol (or proximity to alcohol) leads to consequences, and arrest and all the embarrassment and other fun that goes with it is the price to be paid.
Steve August 30, 2012 at 12:30 PM
I believe anyone taken into custody at Gillette, either arrested or PC'd, gets banned from the property forever. I know of many people that this has happened to.
Steve August 30, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Also, I might not be opposed to them banning tailgating for THIS event. It has a track record of abuse with no clear plan on how to improve the situation. I feel sorry for the responsible people that would lose part of their festival experience but something should be done to make this event safer for all involved. I'm afraid that if things don't improve/change with this event, a knee jerk reaction might be to ban all tailgating at all events!! That would really be unfair to the tens of thousands of law abiding patrons.
Steve C August 31, 2012 at 05:51 PM
They should implement a mandatory alcohol course for anyone taken in to custody for alcohol or substance abuse, possession, or minor in possession; and it wouldn't hurt to add some community service to the system for those to work off the added costs the town incurs for these instances. Banning a function over even 600 instances at an event where 10's of thousands are in attendance seems harsh. This would be punishing the majority for the actions of the minority, not very democratic if you ask me. I also see no need to ruin a young man or woman's life, through a harsh criminal record, for some minor indulgences even though illegal. Lets put them to work where they have time to think about their actions and do our best to curtail them from becoming habitual offenders. Good job FPD and SPD.


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