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Underage Drinking at Concerts - The Costs and the Consequences

Music concert
Music concert

The Olympics, the World Cup, and U2 have a lot in common. Each of them have drawn millions of spectators, in point of fact, the U2 360° Tour in 2009–11 broke worldwide attendance records when 7,272,046 people attended. Last summer, worldwide concert attendance was reported to be up by 27 percent, and revenues were reported to be 15 percent higher, $2.25 billion, than the year before, according to Live Nation. New bands and industry veterans are drawing concert goers from around the world, with consumer demand making a strong rebound from previous years. (Source:

This year, there are a number of upcoming music festivals and concert tours already generating significant buzz. At this year’s Lollapalooza (Chicago), crowd favorites Outkast return to the stage after a nearly 10-year hiatus. Acts from both sides of the pond, and every corner of the globe will be there, as well. The UK’s Glen Hansard, Australia’s John Butler Trio, and Canadian duo Chromeo are among the dozens of acts on that bill. The Governors Ball (NYC) will be featuring French darlings Phoenix, Jamaican music royalty Damian Marley, and the surreal and soulful British crooner James Blake. The NXNE concert (Canada) is bringing together heirs to the oddity persona that is Bjork in St. Vincent and the Swans, and as many concerts of this sort typically do, drugs both illicit and otherwise are expected to be used to heighten the already otherworldly performances.

With the on-growing growth in the popularity of music festivals around the nation, particularly amongst teenagers and young adults, there is growing concern about the ability to check ID when selling alcohol to the many attendees.

The Challenges for Music Venues of Underage Drinkers

The Coachella Music Festival in California, Lollapalooza in Chicago and The Governors Ball in New York draw attendees from all over the country and the world. The venues, like many musical events, can also get a bit rowdy, as these events tend to involve the sale and consumption of alcohol and illicit drugs. In point of fact, at many of the top music festivals over-consumption of alcohol and drugs is a continuing problem requiring extra staff and medical facilities.

The Costs of Using False Identification

The best way to mitigate the costs of selling alcohol to under-aged and over-served individuals is by proper training. Several organizations including TIPs and other Responsible Beverage Service companies provide low-cost training that yield high-impact results. Adding to the training the use of tools such as the I.D. Checking Guide at the venue sites will help lower the overall costs to concert promoters while also helping to protect the health of the attendees. (Source:

In Indianapolis, 65 people were arrested at two different concerts in one weekend alone for underage drinking. On one evening at the Florida Georgia Line concert at the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana 14 people arrested were minors, including one less than 18 years of age. The following evening, at the same concert venue, another 19 minors were arrested and charged with underage possession or consumption. Two of those arrested were also charged with possession of false identification. (Source: These are the types of success stories that are helping to keep our youth safe.

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