Alive @ 5, a popular music venue located in the heart of downtown Stamford, attracts crowds of up to 40,000 in total over the course of several Saturday performances. Beginning in 1997, the concert in Columbus Park usually spans over multiple weekends in late July through August. Notable past performers are Abba (2003), Sister Hazel (2007), Boyz II Men (2008 & 2015), Smash Mouth (2009), The Beach Boys (2010 & 2014), Hot Chelle Rae (2012), and Shaggy (2015). Not only does the concert create more business for restaurants, taverns, and bars on Washington Blvd, the nightlife of Stamford is enhanced by this widely known event and brings visitors from surrounding towns for a small fee of $10 for admission.
“I can see why they set in place the age rule. Kids from places like Fairfield and Monroe are getting off the train drunk out of their minds and ruin it for the adults that were there to see the music. Also they usually don’t spend any money at the restaurants and they could’ve bought the drinks at the bar to promote business. It overall creates a better environment for the business surrounding the concert and for the concert itself.” Nick Smeriglio (’17) elaborates on how drunk underage students are ultimately the worst aspect of the Alive @ 5 concert experience. Although these irresponsible youths are acting illegally, wouldn’t the Stamford Police rather have them in a public setting where they would be amply surrounded by adults and medical assistance? If these teenagers are unable to act illegally in downtown Stamford, they will surely find somewhere else to carry out their shenanigans.
The Downtown Stamford Special Services District announced, with the breaking news of the strict 21+ policy, that they would be implementing identification verification at all eight entrances of the venue, requiring both either a photo ID issued from the Department of Motor Vehicles or a passport, as well as another form of photo ID in order for concertgoers to enter the premises. “It is a really popular event, and a lot of [high school] people want to go. This policy creates more incentive for people to use fake ID’s,” said James Lombino (’16). The extreme actions the DSSD plans to take are more of an incentive for students who were planning to go (not to underage drink) to illegally enter a venue due to the mistakes of a few hoodlums in the past.
In August of 2007, only 10 youths out of thousands of attendees needed medical assistance or to be picked up from their parents/guardians. This slim to nothing percent of underage drinking mishaps is inevitable in a concert experience, and the precautions the DSSD as well as the Stamford Police are willing to take are not going to be remotely effective in removing the mishaps of the few youths who would carry them out. Not only are these safety measures fruitless, but they are a waste of time and effort for preventing underage drinking that is the responsibility of alcohol vendors in the venue. The alcohol vendors serving underage teenagers should be hassled to be more careful, rather than typical teenagers who are now being restricted from attending a local concert series.