You’ll be able to buy beer inside the rural July 31-Aug. 2 concert, and it has all the makings of a bash — Blake Shelton and Florida Georgia Line will headline, and another headliner is expected to be announced as early as next week. But this is a “family-friendly” event with a strictly worded alcohol policy — particularly in the camping and parking areas.
Yes, Joe Nichols, we all know that ”Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.” But if you’re envisioning a fifth of Jose Cuervo being passed around, get ready for a buzz kill: “No alcohol is permitted outside of the licensed concert area,” according to the festival website. “No alcohol is allowed in the camping area and parties with alcohol in the camping areas are prohibited. No alcohol is allowed in the parking areas and parties with alcohol in these areas are prohibited.”
What is this, a music festival or a church camp?
“Please help point out how lame this is,” a reader wrote to me in an email last week. “I'm sure it will discourage a whole lot of people from going.”
Calm down. Pour that tall boy into a cup. Appreciate the spirit of the policy, which is this: If you’re not a drunken moron, you’ll be able to enjoy an adult beverage while hanging out next to your tent or RV. Festivalgoers who behave and adhere to Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup” strategy in the camping and parking areas won’t be hassled.
Organizer Bi-Mart unleashed this tight-sounding alcohol wording during the sixth year of its Willamette Country Music Festival in Brownsville, Ore. The crackdown in 2013 helped eliminate late-night revelers who disturbed other campers after midnight.
“We don’t have the alcohol police out there,” festival president Anne Hankins says. “No one’s going out there and doing strip-sampling of everyone’s red Solo cup. But what that does is it stopped the alcohol-fueled parties and people misbehaving that we were having in the camping areas. So if you’re sitting in your camping area, and you and your significant other are having a glass of wine in a yellow cup and not having 200 people drinking fifths, no one’s going to be bugging you.”
It’s like tailgating at Boise State football games back when alcohol wasn’t legal outside the stadium. If you didn’t flash beer cans around, you kept drinks in cups, you didn’t get voraciously hammered — you could enjoy an adult beverage in peace.
There won’t be any shortage of beer for sale inside the concert venue, and at a reasonable price, Hankins adds.
“You’re not going to pay $10 for a beer,” she says. “We’re always less than what the arenas are. It’s $4 to $5 for a beer.”
Drinkers will be corralled in huge beer gardens inside the Mountain Home Country Music Festival — at least the first year. That might be eased to a “walkaround” policy inside the venue in future years.
“We really are known for being a family event,” Hankins explains. “And I think that the first year, we’ll go in a little more conservative. And if all goes well, we may loosen those reins up a bit.”
In other words, don't pull a Luke Bryan at the inaugural event, OK, Idaho?