Big Mess & Fights Left in Kenny Chesney / Eric Church Concert Wake
(6/22/14): A similar incident happened again in 2014. READ HERE.
For years Saving Country Music has been preaching that the result of these idiotic, bellicose laundry list country songs perpetuated by country music’s belligerent males would result in a trash culture full of fighting and general disrespect for everything but materialism and the consumer culture. As the Mansfield, Mass police chief was quoted in an SCM story from 2011 entitled Country Checklist Songs Causing an Erosion of Values about the rise of fighting and assaults at the concerts of mainstream male country artists, “Country used to be an easy night for us. Now it’s anything but. Country’s just changed.”
This was on full display this Saturday (June, 22) when Kenny Chesney’s “No Shoe’s Nation Tour” (would you want to walk around with no shoes in the above filth?) made a whistle stop at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The result was a field of debris that would give some Oklahoma residents flashbacks, as well as 73 arrests: 49 in the concert, and another 24 in the ensuing melee afterwards.
Fights reportedly broke out all over the place (see video below) and even after the mound of trash was cleaned up, the stench remained. “It smells horrible, you can smell the beer and the urine,” said Harletta Walker of Ross Township to CBS Pittsburgh. “They cleaned up the trash, but they should have run the street sweeper through here, it’s horrible.”
“The Kenny Chesney crowd is the most difficult crowd for our staff to work with of any of the events of the year,” Merril Stabile, president of ALCO Parking also told CBS Pittsburgh. But it may have not been just the Kenny Cheney fans causing problems. Along with Kacey Musgraves, who’s been traveling as Kenny’s opener on the tour, the Heinz Field concert also included Eli Young Band, and the always polarizing Eric Church.
This month’s issue of Playboy Magazine features a long article on Church, the same one that quotes Saving Country Music. It references Eric Church’s fans fondness of fighting on multiple occasions, and the propensity of his concerts to descend into donnybrooks, specifically referencing one concert where it was characterized that “half of the crowd was fighting,” and how one of the roadies re-named the tour the “Fucking & Fighting Tour” because of the common occurrence of tussles and gratuitous public sex.
As country music’s males continue to search for rock bottom when it comes to lyrical content, occurrences like this could become more common as ethically and culturally-starved males use violence as a way to communicate and interact, many times acting out the behaviors championed in the songs they listen to, and fueled by artists who like to have fighting associated with their “outlaw” imagery.
Congratulations country music, this is your “evolution.”
June 24, 2013 @ 6:18 pm
Frat boys, the new audience for the new “country” music. No better than a rap concert.
June 24, 2013 @ 6:47 pm
And now that country music laundry list songs have devolved into country rap, we can probably expect it to get worse.
June 24, 2013 @ 9:28 pm
I was introduced to traditionalist country through my fraternity. I’d say in the South, most fraternities have at least a large number of people who are into red dirt and classic country.
While it’s possible that some of the people in that video were in fraternities; none of them looked remotely like “Frat boys.” Granted this was in the North, but I think that most people do not associate Cargo shorts with long inseams. wife beaters, necklaces, earings, and buzzcuts with “frat boys.”
June 25, 2013 @ 9:05 am
Welcome to Pennsyltucky. That describes a frat boy round here.
June 25, 2013 @ 11:42 am
I put Penn State Fraternities and and University of Pittsburgh Fraternities into google images and while the people certainly do not look like your stereotypical southern Fraternity member (lots of cargo shorts); they do not look anything at all like the people in the video.
Let me speculate on where this misconception originates:
Most punk rockers were outcasts in High School and they associate “frat boys” with jocks and popular kids. I’m sure in some lower-middle class places in the Midwest, that’s how the cool kids look.
June 25, 2013 @ 12:02 pm
You’re probably right Mike. When people say “frat boys” they’ might simply be referencing people who grew up in affluence that many times behave in this idiotic way as a sense of release. It may not be technically correct and no stereotype is typically helpful, but I understand what they are trying to say. Many people from lower classes, whether they end up being poor punks or poor rednecks, grew up around violence and so they use music to escape it, not as an excuse to create it. What I saw were multiple MMA shirts, and this type of testosterone-fueled culture is what artists like Eric Church and Brantley Gilbert are marketing themselves to specifically.
June 26, 2013 @ 11:52 am
I grew up in a town where the farmers were the jocks, were the popular kids…
Therein lies the problem, generally to become popular, you must be a part of the majority demographic and more importantly you have to crave popularity.
Although these kids identified themselves with blue collar/redneck living, little of that translated into any interest in country music in high school (Most preferred the sweet sounds of Hinder, Nickelback, 3 Doors Down, and weirdly mainstream Hip Hop and maybe a splash of Toby Keith or Skynyrd).
As everyone finds out after high school a popularity reset button is pushed, sending over testosteroned 20 year olds scrambling to regain there once dominant high school notoriety and hairline. What better way to combat these natural forces than with a wicker cowboy hat or a tightly curled longhorns cap(*wink *wink, Kenny Chesney), along with a genre of popular music that can simultaneously wave their blue collar flag and flood them with nostalgia of their superficial high school summer days filled with Busch Light and 4 wheelers.
Tell me, why wouldn”™t they be a part of this Pop Country nonsense? It”™s what they”™ve always done. After all there is no popularity payoff for countrified soul searching”¦
June 25, 2013 @ 7:20 am
I tell you this,you would never see this at a Scotty McCreery concert ,he has morals and he is true country .I love his concerts.This is what you get when you start singing about drinking and fighting.and allowing drinking and fighting.
June 25, 2013 @ 6:09 pm
Scotty Mcreery knows as much about true country as a tick on an african elephants ass knows about the stock market.
June 28, 2013 @ 10:38 am
June 24, 2013 @ 6:28 pm
“As country music”™s males continue to search for rock bottom when it comes to lyrical content, occurrences like this could become more common as ethically and culturally-starved males use violence as a way to communicate and interact, many times acting out the behaviors championed in the songs they listen to, and fueled by artists who like to have fighting associated with their “outlaw” imagery.”
This. This is the kind of analytical criticism and commentary that I come here for.
June 24, 2013 @ 6:34 pm
This would never be seen, much less tolerated at The Deep Blues Fest, Weber’s Deck, or Farmageddon Festival. This mentality, and the actions of those involved are not “outlaw”, no matter how they want to try and characterize it. I can tell you this- if these Abercrombie Frat boys ever pulled that shit at the fests mentioned above, they would surely be tossed beyond the borders of the property by the biggest, baddest, bearded sons-o-bitches they have ever laid eyes on.
June 24, 2013 @ 6:37 pm
What a disgrace. Granted, the most rowdy concerts I’ve been to have been country but even when I saw Hank 3 (I had heard horror stories about the crowds at his shows) the worst thing that happened was a beer was thrown and the thrower was swiftly tossed out of the club. But you hit the nail on the head with the remark about the trash culture and the fights it inevitably leads to. And so we have yet another reason to avoid pop country like the bubonic plague.
June 24, 2013 @ 6:41 pm
I’m a large, tattooed, bearded, rough n tumble looking metal head/punk/country guy.
Never been in a fight at a concert, but I’ve stopped a handful.
I’ll say, its never (well, more often than not, never) the big, tough lookin’ sons of bitches who are causing the problems at ANY show I’ve been too. It’s the stereotypical (I know its bad to stereotype like this… but… fuck it.) college frat guy, nice dress yuppie asses who are causing problems.
I love a good mosh pit as much as any other self respecting metal head/punk guy does, but this type of bullshit crosses the line and makes us all look bad… but I guess the funny part is this video isn’t from a Slayer concert… its from a fucking Kenny Chesney show.
June 24, 2013 @ 6:49 pm
Seconded on all accounts, fellow Justin.
June 25, 2013 @ 8:41 am
What’s funny is that somebody on youtube made a video of that fight set to Slayer and it doesn’t look out of place at all.
June 24, 2013 @ 6:47 pm
Before my content is misinterpreted, here’s my point: violence at shows is not a uniquely frat boy thing. Punks and rockers have been guilty as well over the years. I love the punks and generally don’t care for the frat boys as much as anybody, but there’s roughnecks in every crowd.
June 24, 2013 @ 6:50 pm
“Comment”, not “content”. Smartphone, indeed.
June 24, 2013 @ 6:58 pm
Every crowd definitely has its assholes. Hank knows how it is though, and he makes sure his fans are treated properly.
Fuck, I remember seeing him with Assjack a few years back at a small venue in Bloomington Indiana. Assjack is an insane live show. I mean, fuck I saw the singer deck a kid in the crowd who was asking for it (I’m pretty sure the kid was literally asking for it). Broken glass on stage, blood, mayhem, and for all that, a fight breaks out in the crowd and they stopped, made sure the jagoff was tossed and let us know “There’s plenty of pit out there for everybody, guys.”
June 24, 2013 @ 8:56 pm
Whether they’re frat boys, rednecks, punks, or whoever, the point is that a big mainstream country show like this used to be a family environment, and now it is not, and I think this speaks to the broader problem of the reduction of culture through country music. And I’ve seen some say this is common at this event annually, but as we learned through the Playboy article on Eric Church, Eric is actively looking to market himself through the presence of violence at his shows.
As for the Hank3 video, there’s is so much embedded in there that we can learn from vis a vis this Pittsburgh incident. I’m sure many folks from the outside looking in would assume that an underground country show would be a violent affair when it truth is it is probably much safer than Heinz field was on Saturday. They will completely stop down a show if someone is getting hurt, and clearly that didn’t happen with Eric Church and Kenny.
But this goes back to the theory that you can enjoy and be fulfilled more by good music than you can bad music, if you know what to listen for. I’ve heard both Hank3 and Joe Buck (who is also in the video) say from the stage to get your anger out through the music; that’s what it’s there for. Joe Buck has a song “Planet Seethe” where he implores the crowd to yell “hate” at him to get it all out of their system so they DON’T go beat up some random dude in the parking lot, they let perceived slights slide.
Hell, if I’d spent two hours listening to Chesney serenade margarita beaches and flip flops, I’d probably want to brawl with strangers too.
And lastly, let’s not look over the mounds of trash. I don’t give a shit what the situation is, that is positively inexcusable. They didn’t provide garbage bins? Then you haul it off the site and throw the stuff away at home or at the gas station down the street. I wasn’t there to know what stimulated the fights. But I can tell every one of those people showed bad character for leaving their trash behind. Cue the video of the Indian crying.
June 25, 2013 @ 1:10 pm
There were 100,000 people at that show–that’s the equivalent of 100-200 Hank III shows. I’ve been to 4 hank III shows and in two of them there were brawls with several people involved. Per capita, I think Hank III shows are worse–especially given by all accounts there were not these issues at other venues.
Yes, people should haul off their own trash; but when you have a large outdoor public event and a hundred thousand drunk people, lots of people aren’t going to throw out their trash. This is a fact of life–no matter who is playing.
June 25, 2013 @ 2:33 pm
I’m not sure why people want to compare this to a Hank3 show, positive or negative. The comparison should be a mainstream country show five years ago, and one now. And I don’t see Hank3 glorifying fighting at his shows in the media like I see Eric Church doing. Like the video linked to above demonstrates, he will stop down in the middle of a song if someone is getting hurt. With Eric, they brag about it to the media.
Is Eric Church the big problem here? No, it is the specific idiots that started the fights and dumped their trash on the ground. But I think it is telling that the type of people that perpetuate this behavior are gravitating more to male-driven pop country.
And yes, I think the organizers of the event are partly to blame here for numerous reasons, but buying a 24-pack with your buddies, slugging it down, and then throwing it on the pavement for someone else to clean up I think is a poor sign of character even more so than fighting with fellow tailgaters for no apparent reason. It is that sense of entitlement and the expectation that someone else should clean up after you that is making some call these people “frat boys,” even though I disagree with that characterization.
June 25, 2013 @ 3:05 pm
I remember going to the George Strait Country Music Festival in 99 (Pittsburgh), 00 (Nashville) and 01 (Atlanta) and fights were regular occurrences then. It will happen at any concert that is an all day event and there is a ton of drinking going on.
There reason this years events in Pittsburgh are getting so much media attention is the Rooney’s who own the Steelers and Heinz field and made a boat load of cash off the Chesney concert are suing the Sports Authority of Pittsburgh to help pay for an expansion at Heinz Field that the city feels (and tax payers) shouldn’t have to pay.
June 25, 2013 @ 8:32 pm
A lot People get drunk at country music shows and most shows. Even more people get drunk at daylong outdoor shows. A portion of those people–some who are alcoholics, and some who are just irresponsible and immature– can’t handle their alcohol and then do stupid shit like start fights, vomit, and leave their trash. Yes, I’m sure some of them do it because they feel “entitled” but most of them are just irresponsible or alcoholic.
This does not excuse their behavior, but when you have 100,000 people at a show, a certain number of people are going to do that stupid stuff.
That said, some artists make this worse by encouraging an irresponsible mindset and attracting extra irresponsible fans is spot on. I think you’re criticism of Eric Church is spot on in this respect.
However, this incident does not seem like that big of a deal to me, and apparently many of the other readers, nor does it seem indicative of the more general problems you are describing.
June 25, 2013 @ 10:22 pm
“However, this incident does not seem like that big of a deal to me, and apparently many of the other readers, nor does it seem indicative of the more general problems you are describing.”
I’m not sure how many other readers you’re referring to. It seems to mostly be you and Matt2, and hey, I respect that we can have a spirited debate about this. I do think it is indicative of bigger problems, and I am not alone. This isn’t my theory, it is pulled from the words of professionals in the business: artists, police officers, concert workers, Eric Church himself in the current issue of Playboy magazine. The entire theme of that article is about how Eric Church is shaking country up from its family-friendly environment.
June 24, 2013 @ 9:43 pm
1) Nobody in fraternities wears abercrombie
2) I didn’t see anyone wear abercrombie in that video
3) I was never into punk rock, but I’ve been to a couple of shows and at everyone I went to (I’ve been to four and they’ve always been at small clubs) there were multiple fights, and in one case someone got stabbed.
4) I’ve been to dozens country shows where 95% of the audience look like their in fraternities–In DC, most red dirt bands play at Hill Country which gets a very fratty crowd; and whenever a band comes down to a college town in the South, where there isn’t much of a scene outside of the school (i.e. everywhere besides Athens and Austin) and I have not seen one fight.
June 25, 2013 @ 12:05 pm
There can be fights at any type of concert, but country used to be the safe haven from this type of behavior. Now it is not, and that is the important point.
June 24, 2013 @ 8:37 pm
A new club opened here in Chattanooga awhile back. They had Jamie Johnson in for opening night. The next day all the news talked about was two guys who got arrested. One was drunk and trying to start fights. The other was his friend who started attacking the cops when they tried to arrest the first guy.
Since then they’ve had Jack White, Robert Earl Keen, OCMS and many others but no one in mainstream country. I’ve heard nothing else about fights there.
June 24, 2013 @ 8:58 pm
They better not laid a hand on Kacey Musgraves…
June 25, 2013 @ 5:26 am
I agree. The Liam Neeson will come out in me if that’s the case.
June 24, 2013 @ 9:02 pm
And a point I forgot to make up top: Regardless of how Eric Church wants to be perceived or the promotion of violence and this type of behavior in country songs, in the end the responsibility for the fights and the trash rest with the individuals. We don’t know how every fight was stimulated, and sometimes from the outside looking in you can’t tell who started it and who is trying to stop it. But everyone has an obligation to not just throw their garbage on the ground for someone else to pick up, and I don’t hear littering being condoned in country songs. I may not be a fan of Kenny Chesney, but I am a country music fan, and this is NOT how I want to be portrayed to the rest of the world.
June 24, 2013 @ 9:20 pm
I have been to many concerts, different types of music, from hardcore rap, to hardcore country and everything in between. I have seen David Allan Coe many many times, and he is known for attracting a “rough” crowd sometimes, but I can honestly say that I have never seen any problems like this at any show I have been to. Its the difference between people that are truly there to enjoy the music, and those that are paying for a ticket just to have a night out drinking and causing a scene.
June 24, 2013 @ 10:54 pm
AAAANNNNNNDDDD I have yet another reason to never attend a concert as long as I live. I’ll be just fine at home with my $12 CDs and a nice drink as opposed to a $100 ticket and idiots.
June 25, 2013 @ 2:13 am
this is the same atmosphere that develops at arena rock/metal shows that feature frat-boy favorites like nickelback, limp bizkit, slipknot, emmure, etc. (I know the frat-boy stereotype is getting beaten into the ground here, but I met a lot of frat guys in college and most, but not all, were grade-a tools). anyway, this shit is throwaway music and a great deal of people just go to these shows firstly to get wasted, secondly to pick up chicks and maybe thirdly to actually listen to the band (I didn’t include fighting or eating, so the music may fall even further down the list for some folks). at underground metal shows, featuring perceivedly more “dangerous” bands or crowds, this rarely happens. if it does happen, it certainly gets squashed before twenty guys are brawling. anyway, these guys are over-entitled pieces of shit with no respect for other people (thus the trash as well as the fighting). unfortunately, their mainstream concert attendance numbers continually grow. luckily, they tend to stay away from anything that’s not force-fed to them by mainstream media, so we’re still able to enjoy shows in smaller settings. one last thing-“mad props” to these guys for acting so tough while attending a Kenny Chesney concert hahaha
June 25, 2013 @ 2:20 am
I bet it all started when someone ripped someone else’s pooka bead necklace off of them
June 25, 2013 @ 4:25 am
There’s a bar in a college town not far from me in Central Nebraska that does a great job of bringing in Red Dirt acts (Boland, Troubadours, Bart Crow, just to name a few from the last several months).
I go whenever I can but I tell you there are fights every night. The venue handles it well and things rarely escalate. But there is always a lot of tension, with hayseeds bowing up for nothing, something as simple as accidentally bumping into someone.
Now, you aren’t going to get a lot of laundry list bullshit from these artists but you are going to get a lot of hicks ready to throw down. Mix that with the snotty dudebros from the University and there is trouble every time.
I’ve been going to local metal shows for 10 years and almost never see any problems, so I guess my experience is the opposite of the gentleman above. These days I prefer the red dirt music but I’ll take the atmosphere of a metal show any day.
June 25, 2013 @ 4:47 am
Same crowd as a Wiz Khalifa concert, different clothes.
This behavior is typical for the yinz-trash crowd in Pittsburgh. This is what happens before, during and after Steeler games every week. The middle-class to lower middle-class yinzers from the burned over, shelled out parts of Pittsburgh embrace the city’s blue collar, rough and tumble image. They like to fight. They could be college kids, but more likely they are welders from Blawnox, plumbers from Brentwood, or just pill-heads from Carrick. I think it is akin to soccer hooliganism in England.
Another problem with these concerts being in Pittsburgh, is that Pittsburgh is incredibly rural once you get 20 minutes outside of the city. Concerts like this attract rural necks who live outside the suburban ring and they also attract the blue collar ghettofied white kids who listen to Jayzee on the way to the concert. The rural necks have no use for the city kids. The city kids always want to fight. The rural necks don’t mind fighting. Voila.
June 25, 2013 @ 10:22 am
To further expand on your points, country music concerts in Pittsburgh are well represented by natives of southeastern Ohio and West Virginia. Pittsburgh sits in the southwestern most corner of PA and is only a half hour drive to both these borders. To the average West Virginian, this concert in Pittsburgh was the highlight of their musical year! They come into the city and mix with the Yinzers that have no clue what the hell is going on and add heavy drinking in 90 degree summer weather…..
June 25, 2013 @ 5:29 am
Come on, Trigger! When I started reading this article, I thought it was one of your tongue and cheek pieces. But, I’m afraid you are serious. The violence and littering had NOTHING to do with the lyrics of these crappy songs! It was a direct result of the all day binge drinking that occurs every year that Chesney rolls into Pittsburgh (7 of the last 9 years). Chesney’s concert is actually a side note to the week long celebration.
– Boats line up on the Allegheny river WEEKS leading up to the concert. Most of the boaters can’t even name a Chesney song and are there for the party -http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/flotilla-of-fans-of-country-star-kenny-chesney-docks-every-year-near-heinz-field-692631/
– Parking lots open at 10 am for a concert that begins at 5 pm – that allows 7 hours of drinking in the hot sun.
– “Tiki Town” is a separate celebration that is free outside Heinz Field put on by local radio station Y108 that runs from 11 am – 7 pm with live music and alcohol.
Of the estimated 100,000 people who flocked to downtown Pittsburgh, only 60,000 attended the concert.
Defending Eric Church is useless since the stadium was only 1/4 full when he hit the stage. And the fans that did make it in to see Chesney probably struggled to sing along either to lack of knowledge or drunkenness. He’s become the new Buffet in Pittsburgh.
As a side note, the only fight I have ever been in at a concert has Hank III. Was it because of the lyrics to PFF? Or did I hear the lyrics “Keg In The Closet” on the radio earlier that day?
June 25, 2013 @ 12:21 pm
I understand and appreciate the specific circumstances that led to this happening in Pittsburgh, but I am also taking into consideration the Playboy Magazine article in this very month’s issue where Eric Church and/or his people clearly wanted to portray his concerts as being events that regularly stimulate fights. 3 times they went back to that point in the article, and characterized one concert by saying half of the crowd was fighting. Kenny Chesney probably wants no business with this type of publicity, but Eric Church and his peeps are probably eating it up. They want to be known for this.
And I also reference back to the article I wrote a couple of years ago, where artist Austin Lucas who was on tour with Brantley Gilbert at the time directly coorelated the lyrics and the behavior.
“there”™s also this element, that country pissing contest, that checklist of things that make you more country, and one of them is fighting.”
June 25, 2013 @ 6:41 am
I have a question for y”™all since it seems appropriate. I have never been to a big country show but was given a pair of tickets to see Brad Paisley and Chris Young. I know this sounds ludicrous but I have never heard a song by either artist but figured it might be a good excuse for me and the ol”™ lady to get out and have some fun together.
So my question is this- are all mainstream country shows like this or is it isolated to certain artists/cities? We are too old to be dealing with this type of juvenile behavior.
June 25, 2013 @ 6:46 am
You should be fine. Unless the show is in Pennsylvania, evidently.
June 25, 2013 @ 6:53 am
It is! Philadelphia this Sunday.
June 25, 2013 @ 8:44 am
You’ll be fine. This wasn’t a concert; it was a huge event. 60,000 people attended the concert and another 40,000 went downtown for the events surrounding the concert. Do a little reading on the Pittsburgh Post Gazette for more background information.
I’m sure the arrests were no more than an average Pittsburgh Steeler game. You live in Philadelphia, think of an average Eagles game and the all day drinking and partying. Anytime you get that many people together, stuff will happen. Very rarely do concerts get this big. For some reason, Chesney has hit a sweet spot with Western PA.
I’ve been to hundreds of country music concerts and only once have I ever been in a fight.
June 25, 2013 @ 9:08 am
Thanks for the insight. I have been to (and loved) my fair share of Eagles games!
June 25, 2013 @ 10:35 am
I think that you usually get what you go looking for. Want to enjoy the show and have a good time? I bet you will. If you go starting trouble then you will find it. Have fun
I’m actually kind of jealous. That might not be a bad show by mainstream country standards, as long as Paisley doesn’t play anything he made after about 2005.
He will though.
June 25, 2013 @ 9:35 am
Totally different experiences. Paisley’s real country and one of greatest living guitarists. Kenny Chesney’s really good at cutting sleeves off his t-shirts.
June 25, 2013 @ 10:03 am
I have worked shows for both Brad Paisley and Chris Young. The Paisley show was a fan-club-only taping of a preview for his latest album at Cannery Row in Nashville, so it probably was not indicative of the general concert experience, but it was definitely a good time for all in attendance. Brad is a totally bad-ass (in a good way) musician and performer. The Chris Young show I worked was at Harrah’s casino in Metropolis, Illinois. I was not really familiar with him before I got hired to light the show. I was completely impressed. Everyone on his team, from the tour manager on down, had the best attitudes I believe I have encountered in this business. Chris and his band behave like they’re the luckiest people in the world to able to do what they. They play great songs, they play them very well, and they have a real good time doing it. It’s no wonder that his fan base is growing.
Paisley and Young together? I’d be there…even if I wasn’t getting paid.
June 25, 2013 @ 7:30 am
Went to see this show in Milwaukee at Miller Park. Had a good time, didn’t see the garbage problems like they had in Piitsburgh and didn’t hear about or see any fights. Yeah there was the occasional person who had too much to drink, but that’s typical of the Midwest right? Maybe it’s just Pennsylvania? I don’t know. Either way, it’s a shame a whole bunch of trashy people have to ruin a good time for others, whether or not you like the music being played.
June 25, 2013 @ 8:11 am
This reminds me of the last Woodstock. What a drag. Just when I thought people were starting to care about their ecosystem as a whole.
In response to Acca Dacca: This is another reason not to attend an arena concert. Smaller venues tend to attract people who are actually there to see a musical performance instead of fighting, fucking, and drinking till their blind.
June 25, 2013 @ 8:17 am
A very sad commentary on what society has become. I’d like to think this was an isolate happening but sadly I know it’s not.
TX Music Jim
June 25, 2013 @ 9:08 am
I’ve been to hundreds if not close to a thousand shows in the last 30 years from Country to red dirt to heavy metal and blues in stadiums clubs and arena’s. I’ve seen maybe 10 fights total. I can tell you the Chesney show’s in Texas had none of these problems. I was at a Randy Rogers gig a few years ago some idiot started a fight Randy stopped playing told them to stop are the show was over and to have respect there were kids present. They guy was removed people cheered problem solved. Makes me wonder if there is something different about this situation that we are not aware of. I hope it is not a trend, maybe it is isolated to certian geographic area’s ?
June 25, 2013 @ 9:49 am
After reading the linked article, I have to say that a lot of this seems like pure BS.
1) if there were a total of 100,000 people inside and out–everything needs to be taken in perspective
2) Eric Church draws at most a couple thousand people to his shows; so that means that 95% or more of the fans were there for Chesney or perhaps just for the drunken atmosphere outside.
3) It says 75 people were arrested, but explicitly states that they weren’t all for assault; but disorderly conduct and public intoxication. People getting drunk at country shows–or big festivals is nothing new. That also is still less than 1 out of every 1000 people.
4) Similarly, it says that 150 people were treated for medical conditions, but it doesn’t say anything about them being victims of fights. My guess is that was almost entirely heat exhaustion and alcohol related problems.
5) If there is too many empty beer cans in the parking lot, urine etc. Yes; the people should throw away their garbage and use a port a potty; but that is going to happen at any event with 100,000 people getting drunk at; and it is simply poor organization by the planners if they did not do a good enough job cleaning things up promptly.
6) If we are to blame any type of music for this, it is not the pseudo outlaw country of Church, it’s Chesney’s Jimmy Buffett crap, which is about the complete antitheses of “new outlaw”, but encourages everyone to get super drunk. Yes, there would be lots of drinking at any type of large music festival, but that ups it a bit.
June 25, 2013 @ 1:05 pm
I wouldn’t be surprised if the local Pittsburgh CBS affiliate embellished the story somewhat, like local television news is known to do to get you to tune in. But a couple of things I would point out:
1) I think Eric Church’s draw is way bigger than 2,000 people, MUCH bigger. He is one of country’s top tour earners, probably eclipsed only by a select few including Kenny and now Taylor as she has begun to go from arenas to stadiums in some markets. But Eric regularly fills and sells out arena-sized venues that probably seat on the average of 10,000-15,000 fans. He’s won “Album of the Year” from both the ACM and CMA Awards in the last cycle. He is a major, major country music superstar as strange as that might seem for folks who’ve followed him from his “Carolina” days. I don’t know how many people he drew in Pittsburgh, but he was presented as the co-headliner.
2) I would encourage everyone to go and read the Playboy feature of Church that is linked above and appreciate just how much fighting at his concerts is referenced and is really the basis for the article. That is why it is titled “Badass.”
June 25, 2013 @ 1:55 pm
You’re right about Eric Church. I saw him once a few years ago and there were only a couple thousand people there, but that was before Springsteen; which I forgot was such a huge hit and probably upped the size of his show.
June 25, 2013 @ 9:57 am
I was in a fraternity while in college at Troy University in Alabama. We didn’t look like the hip-hoppers in this video. We had more of the Southern, preppy look. My fraternity brothers and I mostly listened to jam bands such as Widespread Panic and bands like the Drive-By Truckers, and of course the grunge staples Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. And also classic country like Haggard and Willie, mixed in with some Bocephus.
These freaks in this video appear to be Yankee white trash.
June 25, 2013 @ 10:49 am
i think nowadays “frat boy” just means any young white guy with steroid titties whos obsessed with convincing people hes a total alpha male.
June 25, 2013 @ 11:28 am
That’s pretty standard at fraternities in the South. The music was a mix of 80s, Jam Bands, Red Dirt Country, and Hank Jr/Alabama type stuff. I went to UVA, which had a good mix of Yankees in all but a couple fraternities; but certainly you had the Same look for and music taste in most of them.
If anything, in the last 10 years since I have been to college the whole Brooks Brothers and Widespread Panic stereotype that really was only in the South seems to be popular among people from the North (I think websites like totalfratmove.com have had some impact–for better or worse).
Regardless, what people on this board are calling “Frat boys” does not seem at all in line with what I, and most people I know associate with them.
And I’m not saying this to say there is nothing wrong with fraternities. Although I had a lot of fun, now that I’m older, I think the pseudo-elitism and drugs and alcohol are a problem.
However, it seems like most of the people on this board whining about “Frat boys” have no clue what they are talking about–and it seems like it is mainly coming from people who came to country from the Punk scene; and are still fighting the Jocks from high school.
June 25, 2013 @ 1:17 pm
Before I posted this article, I carefully looked at the fighting video, and specifically the shirts of the fighters (the ones that were wearing them), and hats. Only two had writing on them, and they were both MMA-affiliated stuff. If some demo’s ox needs to be gored, it would be that one.
June 25, 2013 @ 12:16 pm
It’s not just the music itself that is reinforcing this artificially-constructed “macho” pseudo-masculinity: it is countless music videos. Like Brantley Gilbert’s “Kick It In The Sticks”, which the latter half of the video seems to relish brawling.
Among male artists, there seems to be this bi-polar disposition with how to market themselves: where they have to force their “Aw shucks!” redneck romeo side so they don’t appear too threatening to traditional demographics, but they also have to show off their “hardcore”, “badass” side almost for the sake to prove they are men.
This is for this reason, why, while I know most of it is taken in jest and for shit and giggles…….why I admittedly feel consternation at times with how far you take your teasing of Luke Bryan and Hunter Hayes in particular for appearing and acting effeminate and roast them for wearing skinny jeans, earrings and/or decidedly feminine hairstyles. If you were making this point purely out of calling out the obsession with materialism and product placement in country music and other genres, I would flat-out agree with you. But sometimes I get this impression that many will feel your teasing and that of other prominent blogs that critique the sorry state of country music as being dismissive to outright judgmental of androgyny/effeminate self-expression.
As someone who has been a long-time appreciator of your site and identifies as “genderqueer”, I personally don’t believe and haven’t believed you’ve been intending to be mean-spirited at all toward men who authentically choose to look and appear decidedly more feminine. I just felt the need to express my concerns in that, if you, Farce The Music and other sites repeatedly make hay of male country artists dressing more effeminately, it can nonetheless prove counterintuitive in trying to find a balance from the other end of the continuum that is forced pseudo-alpha male masculinity. It reinforces this cultural attitude, intentionally or not…………that men who authentically (as opposed to be treated like marketing guinea pigs) choose to wear makeup or fashion that has traditionally been marketed to women are not really men, or are inferior, to men who emulate the Brantley Gilbert type of pseudo-masculinity.
June 25, 2013 @ 1:29 pm
The thing is Noah, when I see Luke Bryan stop down his entire concert to show off “The Move,” I don’t see this as any different than Eric Church or Brantley Gilbert encouraging their fans to fight. It’s all gender marketing, just to different sexes. Luke Bryan is just trying to get the girls to scream, and they do. In the end none of it is genuine, and it probably all deserves to be lampooned. I understand what your saying with maybe encouraging other artists to turn up the machismo, but to me being a man or an “outlaw” has nothing to do with fighting in a parking lot. As weird as it may sound, Tim McGraw for years perfected that hard, but soft mixture of presenting masculinity. With these “new outlaws” it is all surface toughness that is transparent.
That is why Sturgill Simpson’s line “The most Outlaw thing that a man can do is find a good woman and giver her a ring.” is so damn genius.
PS: I pulled back from the vagina line of comedy in regards to Luke Bryan a while ago because I agree it had gone too far. It just seems to keep getting brought up.
June 25, 2013 @ 1:49 pm
That’s what I meant when I said that if you or anyone were calling out the likes of Bryan and Hayes for flaunting primarily out of the fact it’s all about materialism and placing consumerism over the love of music……..then I couldn’t agree more.
I think in most respects we were already on the same page. We’re critical of this obsession of polarities among established male artists that are both caricatures in themselves. I just made my missive above more out of thinking out loud; in that I do think, by means of association, that when feminine hairstyles, jewelry or apparel that is traditionally marketed to women are caught in the crosshairs repeatedly of what are absolutely reasonable scathing critiques of mass-consumerism being catapulted in the music scene…………it can lead us down an unfortunate slippery slope when overdone, or the argument is essentially buried underneath it all.
As for your point on what being a man is all about, I completely agree. To me at least, it doesn’t make any difference how you choose to dress or powder your face as long as you are living up to the adage “To thy own self be true!” and its many variations across other cultures. But what truly makes an honest man really boils down to ones character and sincerity. And I certainly don’t think Luke Bryan is being sincere as you pointed out above, especially since we weren’t witnessing Bryan sporting what has since been adopted as his signature fashion prior to the “Tailgates & Tanlines” era.
June 25, 2013 @ 12:16 pm
Glad to see some enlightening comments that put this in its proper perspective. Boys will always be boys. Condemning an entire generation has never worked before, eh?
June 25, 2013 @ 1:30 pm
Nobody is condemning an entire generation. I’m simply trying to draw lines between cause and effect. Maybe I’m wrong, but the evidence keeps mounting in my favor.
And I am too glad folks have come here and given the other side of the perspective and in such a well thought out manner to help stimulate a more healthy discussion.
TX Music Jim
June 25, 2013 @ 2:43 pm
I see Trigs point overall. However, at the end of the day it is still such a small percentage at any show large or small in any genere that as in everything in life it only takes a handful of bad apples to screw things up. Too much alcohol over the course of a long day with a misplaced idea about what being a “man” really means can lead to problems and does. Thankfully, most people are smart enough to not take themsellves too seriously and act like an idiot in public.
June 25, 2013 @ 4:52 pm
Interesting comments…all fraternity guys are douches and like Abercrombie and Nickelback…just like how country music listeners all soccer moms and love Lady Antebellum, Carrie Underwood, and Hunter Hayes. Gotcha. Just stereotypin’.
June 25, 2013 @ 5:51 pm
I hate to admit this but I got arrested for public intoxication at a Zac Brown concert after tailgating with my friends, I’d definitely say these incidents were probably alcohol related. The culture at country concerts has changed into the same thing as going to a football game get drunk and rowdy. I don’t agree with it but it happens to the best of us. “I can make you pick a fight with somebody twice your size”
June 25, 2013 @ 6:28 pm
some people like to fight when they drink, and in crowds of large people bad things can happen. Saw Jamey Johnson stop a show one time and tell the bouncers to get rid of the dumbass who was trying to fight everybody, they kicked the guy out too. Remember the good old days when you could catch a Cash, Jones, and Paycheck (true badasses) package show and go with your entire family? Those days are over folks.
strait country 81
June 25, 2013 @ 7:59 pm
Even Kacey Isn’t Enough For Me 2 Pay to See This Concert.
Chesney’s BoyFriend Must Have Finally Got Tried Of Women Drooling Over His Fag Lover
June 28, 2013 @ 12:44 pm
I heard the same thing when Kenny Cheesy got divorced….. she figured out he liked the strap-on a bit to much for her. Dude has the look, buffed, works out in front of the mirror for half an hour before he goes on stage…. never never see him with a girl. If thats your bag, more power to you but he is portraying a lie IMO.
June 25, 2013 @ 8:38 pm
Since with Eric and Kenny being on the “pop” side lets talk about some underground/non mainstream concerts.
To me one I artist I love in the underground country world is Jackson Taylor and The Sinners. Now they are ( judging from the music alone) pretty rowdy and I would think you would have fights at nearly every show of theirs.I will also say from just seeing videos and seeing how certain fans carry themselves I think I would fear for my own life at a Hank 3 show ( as judgmental as that sounds).
If that is indeed the case I don’t thinks its really fair to say pop country music causes this when you have moronic fans everywhere causing trouble (as well as aggressive/macho country songs on both sides of the tracks).
Oh to the people that are going to see BP and Chris Young you have nothing worry about at all. Not saying there will never be a fight or idiot or two. No one can make that promise, but over 90% percent of the time those two have great track records when it comes to a great atmosphere.
June 25, 2013 @ 10:12 pm
This article at no point attempts to compare pop country and independent/underground country and the respective rate of violence at their given concerts, and attempting to draw that comparison completely misses the point of this article. In fact I will give you that Hank3 and Jackson Taylor shows are more violent than mainstream shows. Whatever.
The point is, mainstream concert used to be safe, tame, family environments, and now they are increasingly becoming environments for violence. It is not comparing two different things to each other, it is comparing the same thing over time: how mainstream country concerts used to be, and how they are now, and relating that to the content of laundry list country songs that openly condone violence as one of the primary elements on their “lists.” And don’t take my word for it, read the quote from the Police Chief of Mansfield, Mass above, read the quote from artist Austin Lucas who toured with some of these “new outlaw” artists, and read the massive, 6-page spread about Eric Church in this month’s Playboy where they go out of their way to portray Eric Church as a “Badass” and promote the fact that there are so many fights at his shows.
Trust me, things have changed. Is it because of the lyrics? It is my opinion that it is, at least partly.
June 25, 2013 @ 9:27 pm
I’m glad my truck wasn’t in that parking lot.
It’s normal to see the inside of a venue trashed, after a concert. I’ve left a plastic cup on the floor when I was through. It’s not like I’d lose my spot or miss part of the show to go throw something away.
That picture from the OUTSIDE, though? Whoa. Verizon Arena in Little Rock doesn’t have trash cans out by the doors. I was waiting in line to go in, and one worker specifically told me to just leave my cup on the ground when I was through. I’m sure there were a few more left by the time everyone got inside, but nothing like that picture…. and this is Arkansas – the worst crowds at concerts I’ve ever been around. Granted, I’m sure it was nothing close to the Kenny Chesney scale of people, but that’s beside the point.
I bet it won’t be like that when I see Loretta and Merle from the front row at her ranch. Thank God, too. I’ve been going to all kinds of country concerts since I was 13. Now, I’m 19, and too old and worn out for that crap.
June 26, 2013 @ 5:54 pm
I’ve been to plenty of rowdy concerts in my day and never, never, ever have seen anything even close to this. This is just inexcusable. Pigs. Trash. Dirt Bags. This makes Woodstock look like a day at the park.
We’ve become a nation of self absorbed followers of pop culture with too much free time, unemployment, addiction to violent video games, too little respect for anyone and anything. When I was in college, we all tried marijuana, we all drank a bit and had long tireless discussions and debates. Now drinking has become what people do instead of communicating. I am always shocked to see people having margaritas at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Well, call me old school or just old, but there definitely is a problem and it’s not with the performers, it’s with what our culture has become. Some would say that we can’t separate the two, but dirty water finds its own level.
June 26, 2013 @ 9:00 pm
I couldn’t help wonder how many flat tires and how much vehicle damage came out of that.
June 27, 2013 @ 2:21 pm
What a perfect testing area for O’s drones.
June 27, 2013 @ 2:23 pm
BTW,..Any word from Kenny on this mess?
June 27, 2013 @ 7:29 pm
I was at an Eric Church show last year and nothing like this happened. Hell, there’s always fights at concerts simply because there’s a large population of drunk people with redneck bad attitudes. I don’t see why people are acting like older country music shows were wine and cheese festivals.
July 2, 2013 @ 3:04 pm
So sad. I remember Garth Brook arena concerts and it was family friendly show where everyone left happy. The last Kenny concert I went to was in Tampa. The crowd came to drink so puke was everywhere. Our culture has changed. Now we drink to get wasted, not just a few to relax. Country music will destroy itself. Rap in country plain sucks…thanks Jason Aldean, Brantley Gilbert, Colt Ford, now Blake Shelton.
October 18, 2013 @ 10:22 pm
And this is why I stopped going to Kenny Chesney concerts. Eric Church isn’t the problem here. A lot of Kenny Chesney fans always stay out in the parking lots drinking until he’s about to go on. They come in obnoxiously drunk and ruin the show for the others who can control themselves. I’ve seen Eric Church a lot, seen him headline multiple times and have never come across this problem.
November 8, 2013 @ 5:00 pm
I don’t get the “frat boy ” comparisons-
I was in a fraternity and we didn’t start fights at the Jimmy Buffett or U2 concerts we went to