On Friday night 2-thousand college kids squeezed into Burlington's Memorial Auditorium for a rave style dance party.
"It was pretty crazy. There were a lot of people there. It was definitely crowded but it was really fun," said Gwendolyn Child, a UVM freshman.
Barstool Sports organized the 18-plus event. Multiple DJs and strobe lights kept the young crowd dancing all night long.
"It's just a giant rave -- just pretty much going dancing with your friends, having fun, listening to crazy, cool music," said Ken Wenner, a UVM freshman.
But Mayor Miro Weinberger had a different impression of the underage party. "I do have a fundamental problem with an event that's going to endanger public safety. We could have had someone die on Friday night. We're lucky we didn't," he said.
He readily admits the party should never have happened on city property but says the Parks and Recreation employee who approved it was just doing his job. Until now, the city did not have any guidelines for approving or denying permit requests for events like this. The mayor called the party "out-of-control" and said overcrowding in the venue did not help. A bathroom window was broken, curtains torn and an exit sign smashed. Sixteen underage party-goers were treated for intoxication. Students WCAX-TV spoke to said party security was tight and most of the drinking happened before they arrived.
"Most people pre-gamed before just to get a buzz and have a good time -- being drunk or intoxicated," said Taylor Noble, a UVM freshman.
Although only a small fraction of the kids who attended the rave needed medical attention, the mayor says the city cannot be hosting events that promote drunkenness. "I'm not looking to turn Burlington into a nanny state," he said.
But the mayor is calling for immediate changes to the city's event permitting. Over the next month the head of Parks and Recreation and the city attorney will be drafting a new protocol. As for Barstool's encore performance -- The mayor says not a chance. "I can tell you unequivocally the Barstool Blackout Tour will not be returning to Memorial Auditorium in February, he said.
Students call the decision an over reaction. "In any big event some people are going to take it to an extreme and out of control and I don't think it's just Barstool that would do that," Gwendolyn Child said.
The city is withholding Barstools' 12-hundred dollar deposit until Parks and Recreation can tally the damage. As for those underage drinkers caught by police -- they will be required to attend an alcohol safety course.
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:57 AM EDT2013-05-23 13:57:59 GMT
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