New booze policy keeps campers calmer at Country Music Fest
BROWNSVILLE, Ore. - Some people say country music and a cold drink go hand in hand, but officials at the 6th annual Willamette Country Music Festival say that drinkers outside of designated areas will have to go empty-handed.
The Bi-Mart-sponsored music festival put new alcohol policy in place this year, and for the first time since it began festival-goers can't consume alcohol outside of the beer gardens.
The new rule was also enforced in the campgrounds surrounding the Brownsville venue.
Festival official Don Leber said the new policy was created to quell the rowdy parties that festival staff had to deal with regularly during the 3-day event.
"We'd have large groups congregate after our curfew at midnight and have loud parties and drinking," said Leber.
The policy was also aimed at keeping people from camping without actually having purchased a ticket to the show.
Festival veteran Taryn Urmson said she and many other people camping at the sold-out event aren't happy with the new rule.
"This is where we come to party and have fun at kick back and relax and i feel like that's been taken away," said Urmson. "It's not as lively and as vibrant anymore. It's more of just camping out a campground, it's not even life we're at a festival."
The new alcohol restrictions are being enforced by the festival and the Linn County Sheriff's Department.
Leber said that the new rule has been successful at maintaining a family-friendly atmosphere at the festival.
"We've had very few incidents compared to last year it's been dramatically improved," Don said.
Most of the attendees our news team spoke to said that while they don't love the new alcohol regulations, it's not going to stop them from coming.
"They're not going to lose any business, we come to listen to country music," said Urmson.
Fellow camper Kyle Gomez agreed, saying that even though he's bummed about the new regulations- he understands that people who don't drink could be affected by those who do.
"It's kinda crazy you can hear people late at night having a good time," said Gomez.
Don Leber with Bi-Mart said this year's policy would continue into the coming years.
Law enforcement said they plan a DUII crackdown in the area.