Only One Arrest Out Of 40,000 At Kenny Chesney Flora Bama Concert

August 17, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  35 Comments

kenny-chesneyOn Saturday (8-15), Kenny Chesney performed his only concert of 2014 at the beach area on the Gulf Coast known as Flora Bama straddling the Florida and Alabama state lines. It was a free concert Kenny threw for his fans, and one of the biggest major country concerts in the South during a summer concert season that has made headlines for the amount of trash, arrests, medical emergencies, alcohol incidents, DUI’s, rapes, and even death that has occurred at big mainstream country shows. Kenny Chesney’s Flora Bama concert saw “hundreds” of medical calls due to heat-related issues on a day with no clouds and 95-degree temperatures, but only one arrest was made in the crowd estimated at nearly 40,000.

Ken Grimes, the City Administrator for Orange Beach told WKRG News 5, “It was a very calm crowd for the most part, and heat was a big issue. So yeah, medical high intense. On the police side, very very low. So we appreciate the crowd. I think next year or anytime in the future, hydration in this [is important], and hopefully temperatures will be a little bit better. Heat index was high. But that was a the big issue, and I think traffic has moved well. I’m just real proud.”

Ken Grimes said that coordination for the event, especially when dealing with cross-state entities, was key. “I’m amazed with the staff. I appreciate all the staff with this. The impact is strong on the economic side. From a public safety side, all staff involved, both sides, both states, it was huge. Flora Bama’s done a great job with the event operation group … I think it worked great.”

Kenny Chesney took stage a little after 5 PM, and finished just before 7:30. Fans were let in on a first come basis, and were given wrist bands for admittance. Even though it was a free concert, with a lack of parking in the area, fans had to park elsewhere and take trolleys and buses to the location at a cost of $25. Nearly 400 boats also showed up along the coastline to take in the concert, and many fans floated in the surf to avoid the intense heat.

The event, entitled “Flora-Bama-Jama” is named for the Flora-Bama Lounge and Package Store. It is a 50-year-old roadhouse that has become legendary over time, and immortalized in numerous country songs, including Kenny Chesney’s latest single. The concert was held on the beach right behind the Flora Bama lounge.

35 Comments to “Only One Arrest Out Of 40,000 At Kenny Chesney Flora Bama Concert”

  • Glad to finally hear some good news from a country concert.

  • evrr notice the country music concerts with a bunch of arests happen in northern citys. why do yankees have to make country fans look bad. Sugarland concerts are allways a lot of fun with not to meny arests.

    • The caveat to this, is that Trigger has said within the past couple of weeks that, as the weather cools down in the autumn months and many country artists turn southward for tour legs, so will the possible migration of undesirable incidents at large-scale country shows.

      There’s no predicting either way, but just something to keep in mind.

    • Don’t worry there are plenty of rednecks who do and say stupid things that also shame country fans.

    • I bet those Yankees who recently showed up to see Marty Stuart in NYC and Philadelphia didn’t make country music look bad.

      • yeah they did. there yankees so they make everything worse. my band Lil Dale & The Rascals wood never play a concert north of the mason Dickson line.

        • It’s Dixon, not Dickson.

          How lucky for me then that I live south of the Mason Dixon line. On second though, since you think Sugarland is the most influential “country” band, I’ll pass.

          • Jack you old skunk! how the hell are you gonna tell me sugarland isnt the biggest band around. Fabulous and Forty country is the biggest genre in country music this side of bro country and Sugarland is the kings of fab and 40. If you include divorcee country bands like kenny chesney, little big town, faith hill, with fab and 40 its the biggest genre in country music.
            Lil Dale & the Rascals influences are sugarland, little big town, kenny chesney, tim McGraw and faith hill and also diamond rio

  • Say what?

    Not all Sugarland concerts were fun.

    • that’s a lo blow. that was a act of God and was not sugarlands falt. Rip those pore people that died. I’ll go ahead and say Sugarland is probably the most influential band in ccountry music.

      • God had nothing to do with it. Me thinks yur trying too hard to mispell yur wurds.

        • sorry I didn’t learn how to type at some fancy colege like you must have. and dont youttell me what happened at that concert wss sugarlands falt! I wont have it. No wonnew that storm was comin tthat big that fast. Not to mention that most bands wood have quit playing after some thing like that but sugarland remaines the bigest and most influential band in country music period.

  • I read somewhere that Blake Shelton’s concert in Atlantic City a few weeks ago drew over 60,000 people and police said it went off without a hitch. I think a few were treated for dehydration (it was on the beach), but that was it.

    • 60,000 people wanting to see Blake Shelton? Really??

      • You act like that’s a surprise. Just because a lot of people who frequent this site can’t stand Blake doesn’t change the fact he’s one of the most popular singers in any genre of music right now.

        • You act as if you’ve missed the fact that that comment was posted for its comic effect! The truth is I couldn’t give a monkey’s toss about Blake Shelton …. it could’ve been 6 million people I wouldn’t have been impressed!

    • Not that ol’ Blake didn’t do his part. Was curious about this and Googled it. From a article:

      “I didn’t drag my big ass out here today to play volleyball or go swimming or build sand castles. I came here to drink and play country music. C’mon!” he said to roaring approval.

      Midway through his set, he paused to look out on the sun-kissed masses dancing below and said, “I want to get this concert over with so I can come out there and drink with y’all.”

  • Glad it went well!
    That guy at the end of the video ALMOST took out the nearby lady with his board. YIKES.!

  • I am local here on the line ( AL/ FL ) and I am surprised how well this concert came together. What we (locals) all thought was going to be a huge inconvenience turned out to only be a small inconvenience. I didn’t personally attend the show simply because I’m not a huge Kenny Chesney fan and the Flora-Bama song is downright awful. It’s my understanding that the few people that needed medical assistance were among those wearing boots and jeans. Yes, typical attire for most country music concerts….sun,sand,boots, jeans….bad combo. As for the one arrest, I have no clue what happened. I did however see the preparations taking place all week and I have to give props to the Flora-Bama family for all their hard work! The staff and volunteers worked tirelessly around the clock to pull the whole thing off without a hitch….Success! I’m so proud to call this great community my home! On a side note, I’d like to thank you Trigger for your dedication to REAL country music. Especially your accurate coverage of the Wayne Mills case. Wayne was a dear friend and called this area and the Flora-Bama his home. So again, many thanks.

  • Trig is about as fair and balanced as Fox news these days. To borrow from the late Paul Harvey … “Now the rest of the story”

    Alcohol sales were limited to the Floa-Bama Bar ($10 cover was requires to enter even with concert wristband). There were no vendors set up or permits granted for alcohol sales on the beach for the 2 1/2 hour concert. Thus, very limiting the availability of alcohol for the concert attendees.

    No tailgating! There were no parking lots near the event. Furthermore, no coolers – only empty water bottles were allowed to enter the concert area.

    The concert took place between 5 – 7 30 (most concert gates don’t open till 7 30). Once again, limiting the time to consume pre-concert cocktails and keeping it hot enough to keep the crowd calm. I bet if the concert went on till a traditional 11 pm, there would have been an increase in arrests after it cooled off.

    Under these conditions, a concert in Baghdad would result in very few arrests.

    • Trig is about as fair and balanced as Fox news these days. To borrow from the late Paul Harvey … “Now the rest of the story”

      Nice. So I run a story highlighting that not all mainstream country concerts are getting out of control as a counterbalance …. and then catch hell for not being fair and balanced.

      I DID mention that the concert happened between 5:00 and 7:30 PM. I DID mention that all the patrons were bused and trollied in so they couldn’t tailgate. Sure, these things probably led to there being less arrests and problems, but I’m not sure it is fair to organizers to somehow discount their efforts because of that. I think they should be praised. This is a news story, and I don’t think it is appropriate to interject my opinions about why there weren’t as many problems as at other events. I am working on a much broader article about this topic where it will be more appropriate to speculate and offer opinions beside the facts.

      • There’s been a growing sentiment on SCM that this is a north vs. south epidemic. I know you have come out with arguments against this kind of thinking, but look at the concerts you have chosen to cover. All concerts up north – bad (including an article posted minutes after this one); the first one down south – good. Comparing the Chesney CMT special to traditional concerts by Aldean, Bryan, and Urban is like comparing apples to oranges.
        Knowing comparisons would have been made, it would have been more responsible of you to divulge the special circumstances surrounding the Chesney concert. Buy not stating these facts, you are asserting your opinion.

        • I agree there has been a growing sentiment here about this being a Northern problem, but I have also criticized that idea, pointing out that the majority of country music’s large concerts are routing north at the moment, and will come farther down south as the weather cools down. In fact I was criticized for saying that the reason they’re not playing in the South at the moment is because it’s too hot, and lo and behold, that was the biggest problem at the Kenny Chesney concert.

          Trust me, I did not run this story because this concert happened in The South. I ran it because it is pertinent to the evolving thread of how country music concerts are allegedly getting out of control. I personally believe there are many other factors behind it, and geography at little, if anything to do with it.

          • Trig, random thought; could it be because Kenny is one of the older mainstream country artists and has widened his appeal to the parrot head community that his audeience is starting to skew a tad older and this could be a factor in there being less issues at this gig ? I think the same could be said about Zac Brown. As a veteran of several statidum sized Buffett gigs there were zero problems and mass consumption of adult bevarges. However, a fairly older crowd. Becauise in a gulf coast beach setting I could see the parrot head side of his audience perhaps out numbering the younger mainstream country fans.Who knows ? Like I said more of a random thought.

          • I think the slightly older-skewing audience for Chesney could have had something to do with it, but I also think the early start time and lack of a true designated tailgate area probably helped as well. Remember it was the Kenny Chesney concert in Pittsburgh last year that was the very first event to start off the media reports on this trend.

          • Looks like the Darien Center (site of the Luke Bryan concert) will be featuring concerts by Zac Brown Band, Miranda Lambert and Rascal Flatts in the next couple of weeks. The place looks to be between Buffalo and Rochester. It’s the same general part of the state where the dirt track incident took place in which Tony Stewart’s car struck and killed local driver Kevin Ward, Jr.

    • Trigger, you are incorrect. There were stands set up outside the Flora-Bama selling mixed drinks, fruity cocktails, rum drinks and plenty of beer. Free water refills. What I didn’t like was no soft drinks — I am a diet coke addict! But they did have lemonaide. There were also food stands with great burgers. We had no problem getting drinks until closer to concert time and then it was just difficult walking through the crowd. I am a local and was amazed as to the number of event workers, emergency vehicles, police, etc. Everything ran smoothly accept people in cars still got on the road after a week worth of warning and caused a traffic jam. Go figure.

      • Dorothy,

        I never said there weren’t drink stands set up. Hoptowntiger94 is who seemed to allude that access to alcohol was hard at the event. I think your beef might be with him.

      • I’m just going by the Flora-Bama concert page –
        and comments left on the florabama FB page -
        The number one complaint is there wasn’t enough food and beverage tents outside and most ran out by the time the concert started. Getting inside the crowded bars was difficult and expensive.
        Regardless, we can all agree the sale of alcohol was very limited compared to the average concert.

    • Restricting alcohol on a hot beach sounds smart to me.

  • Sounds like it was a well orginized event and well planned and run. It is about time a big gig came off without much of a hitch. Proof it can be done.

  • Hosting this event actually cost the Flora-Bama close to a million dollars. The free concert was far from free. Of course alcohol sales would be limited to their venue! People started getting here in droves on Wednesday so I’d say there was plenty of time for pre-concert cocktails. And the gates were open at 10 am on Saturday…. not exactly “tailgating” but I’d say beach side drinking with your friends is equivalent or better. Or you could stay inside and enjoy live music from 3 stages along with your refreshing beverages. It’s also my understanding that there were 12 beachfront bars selling beer and bottled water. Cocktails had to be purchased at one of the 8 bars inside. Coolers are never allowed on the beach here ( not strictly enforced). It’s an rule implemented to help keep our beautiful beaches clean and safe. Something most tourists have no respect for. As for parking….it’s an island not a football stadium..and a very narrow part of it. It’s logistically impossible to accommodate 40,000 concert goers arriving in vehicles. The shuttle busses are used often during any big event taking place here. i.e. Hangout Fest, Mullet Toss etc. The 5-7:30 show time makes perfect sense…It’s the beach…sun, sand, water….Encore timed with sunset. The party rocked on till closing time at 2 am in true Flora-Bama fashion.

  • When I first read this article, the first thing I thought was, ‘It was nice of Trig to showcase a mainstream country show that didn’t end in chaos.’ But then, my second thought was, ‘how sad that so many do end in chaos that reporting a non-event is actually newsworthy’

  • great news video.

    the people in the back half, wouldn’t have seen/heard much…. so many boats…there

    must be a few hundred of them. check out the very old style sailboat, looked like a chinese junk.

    very interesting.

    would not want be on that little island in a hurricane.

    anyway, looks like a very nice event all round. thanks a lot.

  • I think the fact that this was an early outdoor concert, with huge heat and sunlight probably made less people want to drink alcohol and more people drink water or soft drinks. Even if people were drinking they probably also had some bottled waters to beat the heat which would have diluted the alcohol in their system.

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