The Howard County police have reported that they arrested 21 people over last weekend on drug-related charges at last weekend's Phish concerts at Merriwether Post Pavilion.
Good to the HoCoPo for their work; I'm sure they had the grounds and the concerts well-covered. But, 21 arrests? Really?
Back in my day (the early to mid 80s) at Merriwether you couldn't walk 100 yards in the woods without seeing at least 20 illegal acts take place. Thinking mostly about the Dead concerts I attended there (and yes, I can remember parts of them) but there were plenty of other acts that brought the chemical culture out (hello, Jimmy Buffett!)
Of course, the changes that were implemented at Merriwether to close off the woods had to be done. But in all cases, they were not welcome. I appreciate being able to listen to concerts from my deck in Stevens Forest, but I regret not being able to hang out in Symphony Woods while a concert is going on.
I understand that the concert promoters don't want an open-access Merriwether either; more people hanging out in the woods mean fewer ticket sales. But it also seems to me that, especially with the coming downtown redevelopment, that some opportunity exists to make Merriwether a more open place, even while activity is going on at the pavilion. For example, make some parts of the woods open for a small fee (say $5) while concerts are going on, and maybe even open up some parts of the woods for free? While at the same time, direct better full-price concertgoers directly into the pavilion area?
Not sure if that's the answer, but I'm sure something can be done.