The Scene: Law Enforcement

Words By Nicholas Stock (

Concerts can be anything to anyone. They are a modern day Sodom and Gomorra. Included in the package is a literal traveling black market bizarre in which everything and I do mean everything is available. Wookies wander by whispering Molly, LSD, DMT into the ears of the random passerby. Of course participation is totally optional and not without consequence. Always looking is the ever-vigilant eye of the man waiting to catch the errant dealer in the act. It happens quickly usually at the hand of an undercover or a narc. They make a deal, radio to base, and a squad car pulls up to collect the overzealous baller. In a matter of moments the bait is reset and the game is back on. The arrestee is looking at felony distribution and will most likely see jail time and if not, will at the least be wrapped up in the system for years to come.

Slanging drugs is not all that can net you some trouble with the law either. The harsh consequences for possession of most drugs other than marijuana make it very much worth it for officers to bust kids for use as well. Cops hide in the rafters of various venues looking down on fans in the crowd. They watch for a finger dipped in a bag, a bump off a key, or a dose dropped on a tongue. Catching a kid with these drugs is felony possession and just as good to them as apprehending a dealer. Again this will land you in some hot water with the fuzz, so being careful is of the utmost importance.

The headlines from the last few years read like a multiplication chart of pain; 77 Face Charges from Drugs & Alcohol at Phish Concert, Over 40 Arrests at Furthur Festival, and 200 Arrested on Drug Charges at Widespread Panic Show. I am not advocating that all of these people arrested are blameless for their alleged crimes. More so I am pointing out a very real element of the scene. The police are there to make arrests. The rampant drug use at concerts makes this about as difficult as shooting fish in a barrel. They are getting smarter and utilizing a wide array of tactics to accomplish their mission. Many have heard about the use of infrared cameras at Wakarusa in 2006. This gives a whole new spin to the idea of Big Brother is Watching. Of course the backlash ultimately caused the festival to move but this isn’t always a solution. Federal Agents have gone as far as charging Rave Promoters under the Crack House Law. The DEA are trying to confiscate Jimmy Tebeau’s venue Camp Zoe because he allegedly allowed drug deals to take place on his property without taking immediate action to prevent it. The point is that authorities are going to greater lengths to stop the use of drugs at venues across the country.

I’m not going into detail to scare anyone or to talk badly about the scene. I am merely pointing out some observations as a cautionary tale. As the scene moves inside for winter the confined venues make it easier for the cops to catch illicit activities. Be careful, be vigilant and take care of each other.


  1. I'm not being paranoid I'm just being real. Places like Broomfield have cops up top looking for suspicious activity and radioing down. Be careful.

  2. eeee. i stick to brown liquor and herbal meds. but that is a scary notion.

    "If you're paranoid long enough, sooner or later you're gonna be right."
    ~ Kinky Friedman


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