‘Blackout’ party banned
Barstool concert detoxes 16, mayor voices concern
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 23:10
The return of the Barstool Blackout Tour last weekend may have been its last.
Out of a crowd of more than 2,400, 16 people were detoxed after attending or en-route to the Barstool Blackout Tour, a rave-like dance party hosted by Barstool Sports, Oct. 19.
Although that number represented less than one percent of total attendees, it was 16 students too many for Mayor Miro Weinberger, who denounced the event at a press conference Oct. 22.
“I do have a fundamental problem with an event that’s going to endanger public safety,” he said at the conference. “We could have had someone die on Friday night. We’re lucky we didn’t.”
When the fire department attempted to reduce the crowd in Memorial Auditorium, security guards blocked off bathrooms later into the night, said sophomore Olivia Stewart.
“Girls were crying hysterically outside of the bathrooms saying they were going to pee their pants,” Stewart said. “[The guards] were also making anyone who appeared to be under the influence leave all together.”
In response to claims by attendees that they were not allowed to move freely, Burlington Fire Marshal Terrence Francis said the fire department’s decisions were made with safety in mind.
“When we have people drinking alcohol and taking drugs and becoming rowdy, we have a situation that affects public safety, and that’s when we get involved,” Francis said.
In the days following the event, Weinberger said the city should not have granted approval without looking into it beforehand, and revisions would be made to the city’s assessment policy for future events.
David Portnoy, president of the tour and founder of the website, Barstool Sports, criticized the mayor’s response in a blog post on the Barstool website.
“This whole Vermont thing is just so preposterous,” Portnoy wrote under his pseudonym, elpresidente. “The safest people at the entire UVM campus were the ones at our party with professional security. Not the ones pouring shots down their face in their dorm rooms.”
Considering the total number of people who attended, Portnoy stated that 16 incidents shouldn’t be cause for concern.
“There were 16 total ‘incidents’ out of 2,400 people,” he stated. “For all you mathematicians, that is less than one percent of the crowd.
“Bottom line is nobody was hurt — there were no fights,” Portnoy said. “Everybody had a great time.”
Senior Charlie Kelley questioned the level of attention Weinberger has given to the tour in a Facebook post in the group, “UVM Students for Fair Treatment in Burlington.”
“It’s funny how the mayor raised such unwarranted scrutiny on this event,” he stated. “I didn’t see him hold a press conference after all those armed robberies.”
Sophomore Caroline Cadieux had a different take on the issue.
“I agree that the city should not sponsor such an event anymore,” she wrote. “I mean, let’s be real, it’s called Barstool ‘Blackout’ – obviously that’s going to come with issues.”
Sophomore Jake Cohen said the event was the same as a typical party he would go to downtown, just with more people.
“I feel like it was overhyped a little bit, but still entertaining,” Cohen said. “I went to Skrillex last year at Memorial — there were more people and it was rowdier.”
When Cohen heard that 16 people were detoxed, he said he was shocked.
“It seemed a lot calmer than a usual concert,” he said. “The number of detoxes seem disproportional to how big it was. I’d like to see stats of other concerts that had gone down there.”