Open E-mail to Lisa Goodman

Might do a weekend recap tomorrow or Thursday. For now, an e-mail I sent to Minneapolis Ward 7 Council Member Lisa Goodman regarding 18+ shows.

Dear Council Member Lisa Goodman,

I've become aware of an initiative by your office relating to 18+ music shows and the availability of alcohol at those shows. I read an article in the City Pages (link below), which I recognize is most likely biased, but as a resident of the Twin Cities and a frequent concert-goer, I feel the need to inform you of my concerns, and make a humble suggestion for future action.

Firstly, the main concern of your office seems to be the potential hazards of having underage youth in such close contact with alcohol while at concerts. One of the dangers, in particular, is that of individuals aged 21+ passing alcohol off to minors. I agree that this is a major problem. The issue is that the minors who get drunk and attend concerts aren't getting their alcohol at the show itself. Most of them are actually pre-gaming the show - that is, procuring alcohol through a legal adult before the event, and then going to the event after they're already drunk. This is the logical source of alcohol for the minors - if their alcohol consumption were restricted to the show itself, they would not be able to preform the binge drinking that has been observed, due to the restrictive cost of drinks at venues and the suspiciousness of a patron continually purchasing a large volume of alcohol. I don't know of any venue that wouldn't investigate such behavior.

Secondly, 18+ shows represent a unique niche in the world of bookings. The main issue at hand is a matter of ambiance. All Ages shows have a very particular feel - the average age is much lower, the performances less serious, the crowd more rowdy. 18+ shows on the other hand, allow young adults to attend concerts with people not closer to their physical age, but closer to the age and maturity level that young adults wish to have. This, along with the general increase in maturity, makes for a more intimate atmosphere, less rowdy crowds (particularly at punk and metal shows) and better performances. There have been many times when my friends and I have forgone seeing great bands, simply because the show is All Ages, and we'd rather wait for a better atmosphere in which to appreciate the music.

I'm sure that your office will weigh all the positives and negatives of any restriction, and make a well-thought out decision. Also, if I may, I would like to make a couple small suggestions. The primary problem with this initiative at the moment is that it appears to the public as an instinctual, puritanical strike at underage drinking. To help you learn about the source of the problems, as well as give the public an impression of consideration and deliberation on the part of your office, I would suggest you conduct some research about the source of underage alcohol consumption, the strength of venue underage drinking policies, etc. Along with this, you might also consider other solutions to this problem besides a booking restriction on venues.

Here's the City Pages link: http://www.citypages.com/2009-07-22/news/proposal-to-ban-18-shows-could-kill-minneapolis-s-music-scene/

Thank you for your concern in public health and safety, and thank you for taking the time to read this. I would be willing to discuss this matter further with you, and I trust you will make a well-informed decision.


Colin Welch