Volume #21, Issue #3
I was in San Francisco when the news reached me that there had been a riot during the Grateful Dead's Spring Tour stop in Orlando. It wasn't until I arrived back at my desk a week later that I was able to better assess what went down.
The Dead cancelled their Sunday night (4/3) show when a band member had to leave to be with his father who was gravely ill. Newspaper reports indicated that the fans who had come to see the band were disappointed, but in no way disruptive. Monday night (4/4), a reported 1,500 people without tickets remained outside the venue after the show had started. About four hundred of them attempted to crash the gates. When police intervened, they were pelted with bottles and rocks. This gave police cause to subdue the crowd with tear and pepper gas. Dennis McNally, the Dead's publicist, asserted that the rowdies were locals and not Deadheads. The media seemed to recognize that this was an isolated incident and not a Deadhead problem. Thankfully, no one was injured, but Orlando will still think twice before inviting the Dead back.
Take a long look at the big picture. When the band asks people not to come to shows without tickets, this is an example of what could happen. With summer here, and the Dead's East Coast tour itinerary starting them off later in the season than usual, it's going to be HOT! The warnings are there, so take heed. Not everyone in the crowd is your friend and not every friend should be in the crowd. Stay home if you don't have a ticket to a show. Don't vend. The band has made it clear that they don't want merchandise sold outside of shows-it will be confiscated and you will be hassled. Be careful on the road. It wouldn't hurt to take out the razor blade and remove some of the Dead stickers from your vehicle. Police have been very open in stating that this is a prime reason to stop and search someone. And most important of all-please don't let yourself become another statistic in the War On Drugs. It breaks my heart to read all the correspondence I get from first-time non-violent drug offenders. These people do not belong in jail, yet with mandatory minimum sentencing a reality, too many Deadheads are sitting in jail for intense portions of their lives. Don't set yourself up. You're part of our future-we need your light.
In closing, just take this message from my heart to yours-be aware and care.
Enjoy the summer and watch each card you play.
Toni A. Brown, Publisher
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