Making An Example of Lock’n Music Festival
Disclaimer: The views in this article are solely the opinion of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Sensible Reason as a whole. Sensible Reason believes in hearing every side to a story. Party safe.
After a drawn out investigation from last year, the Virginia Board of Alcoholic Beverage Control has revoked Lock’n Music Festival‘s liquor license. Undercover investigators from the ABC allegedly witnessed hundreds of cases of drug use, and photographed or videotaped almost 10 of them. While the festival will still go on unscathed to the charges this year, next year is another struggle entirely. The appeals process for the revocation has begun, but who knows what will happen. Those who put on the festival are blindsided by the charges, as they were already working on improvements to the festival for later years.
Everyone knows that music festivals are a time for the hard working people of the world to take a few days and chill out. They are a place where we gather and feel the togetherness we wish we felt every day. We see the biggest and best acts in music and art that we might not be able to see on a regular basis. We drink and dance and have a good time. But let’s be real with each other for a second. I’m going to say something that no one else is willing to publish: There are always people at festivals who bring more than just food, supplies, and alcohol. It’s a bit of an unspoken thing at places where we all get to blow off some steam. Now, don’t get me wrong, festivals should not (and are not) a place for everyone to do a bunch of drugs and hurt themselves. But, yes, there might be a marijuana pipe in the tent next to you, get over it. Problem is, there is a right and wrong way to let it all hang out.
Everyone’s safety should be the #1 concern at a music festival. What Lock’n failed to do was make it clear that safety was a concern. Undercover agents witnessed and videotaped hired security ignoring festival attendees smoking marijuana and engaging in other drug use, as well as another attendee getting topless and sunbathing. While we’ve all seen this happen at a festival at least once, the trick is enforcing enough to allow the festival not to be a free for all. The local sheriff’s department’s account of illegal activities at the festival directly contradicted that of the undercover agents. Was this all just a big cover up? Were the police just clueless? We can never know. Bottom line, Lock’n simply got caught with their guard down. These agents were out there searching for a reason to get the festival in trouble. You’re way more likely to find a 4-leaf clover if you’re staring at the ground looking for one.
It seems as though every year there is a new music festival. Everyone wants to gather people together and show the world what their city can offer, while bringing new talent to the masses. Rules and regulations can vary based on a festival’s size, but we all have to play by the rules. Buying a campground and putting up a stage does not a festival make. It seems to me like the ABC is simply making an example of Lock’n Music Festival by putting such a harsh punishment on their negligence. Taking away a festival’s liquor license can threaten to shut it down completely. Have you ever heard of a dry American camp-out music festival? Neither have I. This punishment is a call to all festivals that they can’t just turn a blind eye to what is happening within the gates. While the past Lock’n festivals have gone without a hitch, one blind eye could mean a death on their grounds. This reminds me of a time while I was speaking to a police officer at a music festival last year, the conversation ended with him telling me, “Just don’t die.”
There is a fine line between letting people do what they’re going to do, and letting people hurt themselves. The punishment for Lock’n is an eye-opener to all festivals. While we all know sinister things are happening, there’s a right and wrong way to go about letting it happen. Good luck, Lock’n, and be safe as you fest!