It would be crass, although intuitively correct, to say outright that anyone foolish enough to pay to see The Eagles deserves whatever displeasure or discomfort they encounter.
After all, The Eagles were, are and forever will be one of the most over-rated bands of the 1970s, with tunes seemingly intended to lull stoners to sleep. As a friend of mine likes to say about a bunch of bad ’70s bands, “They’re why punk happened.”
This could have been the advertising pitch: “You hated them in 1978 — hate them again in 2013 when The Eagles appear live at Salmon Fest.”
Obviously, I didn’t for a second consider going to this year’s Salmon Festival in Grand Falls-Windsor, nor did I pay much attention to the pre-event advertising.
Like many other non-attendees, I’m left wondering whether concertgoers were aware of the draconian rules that have garnered so much post-event backlash and media coverage.
To let people know what they were in for, pre-event publicity could have made use of some of those atrocious yet famous Eagles lyrics: “Welcome to the Hotel Salmon Festival; you can enter any time you like, but you can never leave.”
But seriously: did it say on the tickets that people were not allowed to leave the grounds once they entered? Did it say ticket holders were not allowed to bring water or food onto the site? And since when is a so-called VIP section in keeping with the so-called spirit of rock ’n’ roll?
The debacle of the dehydrated desperadoes is but one more example of our culture of obedience. On the flip side of that coin is the audacity of authority.
These days, it seems any two-bit town council or halfwit concert promoter is willing to tell other people what they can or can’t do in a long list of situations. They have the rules and/or the security personnel to back them up.
My familiarity with Grand Falls-Windsor is mostly as a gas stop, so I’ve never been to Centennial Park. By its name, it is presumably a public park. There must have been some interesting conversations when tickets were shown at the entrance to the Salmon Festival.
“You can’t bring in that bottle of water.”
“Yes, I can. It’s a public park.”
“No, you can’t.”
“Just because The Eagles are playing doesn’t mean it’s no longer a public park.”
“Yes, it does.”
Who knew the Grand Falls-Windsor town council wielded such mighty authority?
As many people have already pointed out, the obnoxious regulations at the Salmon Festival were undoubtedly due to the greed of the concert promoters and vendors.
There can be no other rationale. Not allowing people to bring in bottled water has nothing to do with safety or crowd control.
If some people brought in Vodka — wink, wink — and proceeded to get drunk and disorderly and refused to take it easy, they could be tossed out.
Besides, it’s laughably hypocritical to use the prevention of the bringing in of alcohol as an excuse, when beer flows copiously and profitably.
(Good grief, if I had to listen to The Eagles for an hour or more, I’d want to get plastered, too — public intoxication being far less embarrassing than seeming to enjoy that music while sober.)
The Grand Falls-Windsor town council entered a partnership with the concert promoter, SRO Entertainment, to put on the Salmon Festival, so the politicians must have been aware of the no water/no food regulations.
That they would allow such ridiculous rules to be put in place is typical. At all levels of governance, our political culture has evolved into this: “Shut up and obey.” (See: Harper, Stephen; also Dunderdale, Kathy.)
Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.