A thirst for obedience

Brian Jones
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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 bjones@thetelegram.com.

Organizations: The Grand Falls-Windsor town council, The Telegram

Geographic location: Centennial Park, Grand Falls

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Recent comments

  • michaeljkavanagh
    July 19, 2013 - 19:26

    Brian Jones [dead Rolling Stone] you really should get out more ... it is a big world. Cheers michael

  • M. Atkinson
    July 19, 2013 - 15:01

    When I attended a Rolling Stones concert (outdoor venue - Lansdown Park) in Ottawa -- no one was allowed to bring in either water or cameras (other than cell phones). And no one could leave during the concert and come back. This is not unusual. Other concerts I've attended are the same.

    • grumpygeorge
      July 20, 2013 - 09:38

      That doesn't make it right.

  • A concert goer
    July 19, 2013 - 13:54

    You know there is a lot of feedback on the water shortage and the price that people had to pay for a bottle,but I think they may have learned from this.There is no reason at all that a person can't bring in a couple bottles of water if the seal is not broken when you have a hot day most people are going to drink more then their couple of bottles then they will buy it so whats the big deal if someone wants to bring their own.But the big deal is when you have someone with a medical condition and they are refused to bring their own meals or snacks like myself whois insulin dependent,my sugars go low I should have a right to keep a bottle of orange juice with until I can get my meal which again I should have with me,but waiting in line for an hour to get my food,then what happens my blood sugars drop then I can go into a diabetic coma,when people have conditions like these it is much safer for me tp have a sandwich,fruit, a slice of pizza with me,not like we can wait.There're people out there with very serious allergies and they need to know exactly what's in their food they are eating.The list goes on and on for god sakes you can take food and snacks though customs and on an airline.But not water not until you get though security.So either way they still would have sold their water.Over all the music was great.In other words hire enough security to check back packs,There's enough people who would have volunteered just to get to the concert nothing wrong with water,juice,snacks,coolers I can understand saying no.

  • Dave
    July 19, 2013 - 10:33

    Ok....i see no point to this other than to take a swipe at a band you don't like. Maybe for the sake of your future readers, which WON'T include me, you can stick to comments that don't insult people whose musical taste doesn't coincide with yours. Good luck with that.

    • Chantal
      July 19, 2013 - 13:21

      Oh, please consider giving him a second chance. I know YOU would never insult someone whose views don't coincide with your own, but not everyone is as humble and divine as you, David. Then again, he's a Newfoundlander, so what can you expect?

  • Peacefull easy feeling
    July 19, 2013 - 09:39

    Oh well....looks like Jones has decided to "take it to the limit one more time". I would ask, does it take a punk to like punk?

    • PaulNorthRiver
      July 19, 2013 - 12:56

      No. It takes a music lover to like punk. I like the Eagles AND punk. Amazing, isn't it?

  • saelcove
    July 19, 2013 - 08:35

    Never done drugs in my life, thats a mighty big brush you are using may i suggest to readers to ignore this idiot the next time

  • Another Buisness Man
    July 19, 2013 - 08:10

    The sheep going into this concert only had to read the conditions on the tickets. SRO did an excellent job of making a profit, although I would have raised the price of water when it became increasingly scarce ensuring that only those who really needed it could get it (the same way healthcare should be run). It's not the promoter's job to coddle people who were too cheap to pay for water. If you don't like the conditions, leave the park.

  • B
    July 19, 2013 - 07:32

    The point of this article was......... Also, note that it was the promoter SRO that said "no re-entry", not the town. All this said was "I hate the Eagles".....and who cares? There were 30, 000 people who would disagree.

    • John Smith
      July 19, 2013 - 07:49

      actually...there are many,many millions that would disagree...

  • PaulNorthRiver
    July 19, 2013 - 07:24

    It is a sad commentary on our culture to have gone from asking "how can we ensure everyone has access to water?" to "how can we ensure nobody brings any water so we can sell more?" in such a few years. It is a sign of the times. Nothing matters anymore except the pursuit of personal wealth. Community be damned, society be damned. Get what you can and get it fast. I am not sure how I would have reacted, had I planned my day at that park and brought a few bottles of tap water, only to have it taken away from me in 30 degree heat. It makes me angry just thinking about it.

  • craig
    July 19, 2013 - 07:12

    Interesting Brian however you probably could have made your point without insulting the taste of 25,000 plus concert goers. Just because you and your buddies dislike the Eagles doesn't mean your assessment of the band is a fair one. I suggest to you sir that your journalistic contribution to the of the 2000 to 2020 era will be considered far less important or significant than the Eagles contribution to 70's era music has been. Yes our political "leaders", after being elected, seem to get infected with a "holier than thou or a mother knows best" virus. However, I am sure that if you could have dug deep down into your journalistic training you could have found a far more appropriate way to make your point.

  • Dawn
    July 19, 2013 - 07:08

    I have to strongly disagree with you that the Eagles are "one of the most over-rated bands of the 70's." They are THE MOST over-rated band of the 70's.

  • Aub
    July 19, 2013 - 07:04

    So, you don't like the Eagles. For your info, a lot of people do. I don't like punk but I don't say you shouldn't.

  • Jay
    July 19, 2013 - 07:01

    Well said!!! While much has been reported about the water rules, very little has been noted about the arrogant Don Henley threatening to cancel the Eagles part of the concert if people didn't stop taking pictures, as if he were looking for an excuse to leave. Are we still too green to burn?

  • John Smith
    July 19, 2013 - 06:44

    Does he actually get paid to write this stuff, or does he submit it for free, so the tely can use it as filler?