Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bowl Blues for The Offspring and Pennywise

Last night KJEE's Summer Roundup featured The Offspring, Pennywise, Everlast, The Whigs, and Rebelution at the Santa Barbara County Bowl. One dedicated reader who was in the audience had the following to say in an email to me:

I'm wondering if the County Bowl's rules are getting too heavy handed and the focus is on fundraising and fancy new buildings and not the concert experience - the lawns gone, and the seats are more uncomfortable than a High School gym's.

This was our experience at yesterdays concert - and no-one in the group is under 40:

- bag searched 3 times on way in

- our sunblock confiscated [from a grandmother and mother of three] in our group - in a heatwave - "because we might throw it at the band"

- can't stand still anywhere in the shade ... moved 8 times times before going to seats

- and the most insane rule: YOU CAN ONLY BUY 2 WATERS AT A TIME!

We were told it's because we might spill them. I am NOT kidding!
Its 88 degrees, they've confiscated our sunblock and won't sell me enough water for our group during a 7 hour show !!!

- and there was no crowd control where it actually is important - in the bathroom tunnel entrance area

One has to assume that there is stricter security for some shows than others. I would think The Offspring would get tougher security than James Taylor. Still, on the hottest day of the year they are restricting water like they would beer? and confiscating sunblock? There are probably a few things people could throw on stage, I wonder who makes the list? (perhaps Homeland Security as it sounds as sensible as airport regulations)

Anybody else have a less than positive experience at this concert? The changes at the Bowl will mean a different set of acts and likely a different set of rules -- perhaps only time will tell if the big changes over the last couple of years are fan improvement.



Anonymous Bowler said...

The bowl should take a "fan appreciation" class from the creators of Coachella, a production that prides itself on quality and accommodation. Get with the 2000s, bowl! Water gouging / water weirdness went out with Woodstock '99. Sara, I'm glad your reader commented on this. Ten years on, Santa Barbara music fans deserve better. Bowl, get with the program!

5/20/2008 1:21 AM  
Blogger jlawford said...

To clarify the water situation - they would only sell one person two waters at a time - and only in cups [because we might throw bottles at the bands]. Which meant either larger groups having to go down to the bar area, or one person hauling up & down with 2 waters each trip. A truly bizarre rule as spilled water never really hurt anyone on a scorching day, and have they ever been to Starbucks and seen those cardboard multi-cup holders?

5/20/2008 8:59 AM  
Anonymous Follow The Money said...

Apparently limiting bottled water is really an excuse to generate more trips to the window to buy overpriced stuff with high profit margins, like sunblock.

Let the lawsuits begin when patrons try to bring their own water in a bottle and have it confiscated too.

5/20/2008 10:25 AM  
Blogger Greg Knowles said...

It does sound over the top. I hope you get a few more comments from folks that were there.

5/20/2008 11:58 AM  
Blogger Syrah Swigger said...

I knew it would happen, along with the changes- they would change their attitude. We saw Robert Plant a few years ago, and I knew it was going to be my last concert. I have been considering John Mellencamp/Lucinda Williams though- she ROCKS.

The structural changes at the bowl, from the pictures I have seen, look great.

I have never seen a "bad fan" at the bowl, maybe a drunk one, or a smokin' one, but never a bad one- one that could not be contained by his/her neighbor- most folks that go to the bowl, IMO, are decent.

Anyone else?

5/20/2008 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Syrah Swigger,

Please cease the naievety.

If you have never seen a bad fan at the bowl you certainly were not there last Sunday. I witnessed at least 7 fights. Pennywise stopped playing several times to alert security about fights in the pit. Did anyone else out there witness any of this? There were gangs of guys going around punching random people in the pit. The pathetic thing was those troublemakers who were all covered in tattoos were mostly closer to 35 years old. They looked like they just got off a prison bus...seriously.

Perhaps the Bowl security should focus a little more on crowd control in the pit than on water and sunscreen control.

So much for the land of the free.

5/20/2008 10:44 PM  
Blogger Syrah Swigger said...

That is correct- I was not there, I gave up going to lame concerts where 35 year old tattoed marouders go around hitting on people A LONG TIME AGO!

You get what you pay for friend!

5/21/2008 10:27 AM  
Anonymous Zack said...

I was at the bowl for the concert and was told we couldn't bring in bottled water or sunblock. The amazing thing is that I was searched once on the way in, and it was the least effective pat down I've ever experienced. Not only that, but cameras are banned and I saw at least 30-40 digital cameras in use (not camera phones) and no security people stopping them from being water bottles are evil, but that's acceptable? The seats were extremely uncomfortable, and it just wasn't a pleasant experience. The Offspring leaving at 9:40 without an encore didn't help the feelings. Maybe installing some misters in the stands would be a good move to improve the venue. But then again, that would improve the Bowl-goers experience...

5/22/2008 4:22 PM  
Anonymous shoreline shark said...

Any of you guys get a call from someone asking you to donate to the Bowl? They wanted me to commit to giving some amount per quarter, and when you added it up it came out to something like $5,000! I told them they must have put me on the wrong phone list.

5/23/2008 10:24 PM  

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