Having No City Officers At Riverbend Is Unreal - And Response (3)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Again, event organizers at Riverbend never cease to amaze me.  The idea of no city officers at Riverbend is unreal.   

I, for one, have stopped going to Riverbend, which I call the drunk fest.  I went to the Lynard Skynard concert and had a guy light a joint right in front of me and my family.  I ask him to put it out and he laughed.  Needless to say, he wasn't laughing when I got two city officers walking on patrol to arrest him for it.   

Safety should be the ultimate decision for an event this size.  The rent-a-cop idea doesn't work for me.  Their training and arrest powers just don't make me feel safe.  For my family, we will keep our money and stay away.   

Thank you, Riverbend, for making this an easy decision for me.  I will not be back for sure as long as this is your policy.  Maybe someone needs to remember the Boston Marathon, not thinking about profit margins.  Sworn, certified police officers make me feel safe and they should.  What you are doing should make anyone attending think twice.

Skip Burnette

* * *

Of course, you do know a private security firm has been hired to replace a portion of city officers, but not all of them? You should also realize this is a cost saving move that will free up extra money that can be used to book another washed up oldies act or some up-and-chucking painfully hip (only to Jeff Styles) new group. By the way, ratting out one person smoking pot, while being surrounded by a festival full of rowdy drunks, puzzles me. I guess different things can offend different folks.

I'm not staying home because I fear another Boston at Riverbend, although I'm sure there's a small chance it could happen. Nope, I'm staying home because I abhor drinking with a mob and listening to substandard entertainment.

Herb Montgomery

* * * 

There are a lot of things about Riverbend that are unreal.  I worked a beer booth at Riverbend one year to raise money for a good cause.  It was the worst experience of my life.  For starters, the amount of money that Riverbend makes on the beer sales there is unreal.  It is astronomical. Yet, the amount of money they pay each group to work their beer booths is unreal... it amounts to nothing more than peanuts.  Putting in 12-14 hour shifts at a beer booth for the tiny amount of profit we were given is unreal.  

During the training every beer booth worker must undergo, we were all told, repeatedly, that we were not to try to break up any fights that may occur close to our booths, and instead we were to call one of the folks in charge of Riverbend, and that she in turn would send a police officer to help... or if we happen to see a police officer, we could ask them for help ourselves.  This was about the dumbest plan of action ever created.  For starters, the woman we were supposed to call was often so busy she either wouldn't answer the phone, or if she did, she promised to send officers over immediately... and then the officers never showed up.  There were never any officers around to ask for help.  

Not to mention, the Chattanooga Police Department and Friends of the Festival, the organization that runs Riverbend, don't exactly have the best relationship.  There were several times we were forced to close our beer booth early, by the police department, only to be raked over the coals by the Riverbend folks and told to open back up.  It is a poorly organized, poorly run festival that has no idea about security or good business relationships.  

I'm old enough to remember when Riverbend was a small, family friendly festival.  It's now nothing but a huge out of control drug infested drunkfest, that only has a few good acts every once in awhile.  Riverbend is not worth the outrageous prices they charge for admittance, food, and beverage, and the lack of security this year is only going to make it worse.   It is in a word, unreal, and as long as the same people are in charge of it, neither I nor my family will be attending. 

Allen Buchannon 

* * * 

Actually Mr. Montgomery, no.  All of the city officers have indeed been replaced, save one that will be working as a consultant.  While I am unclear if or how many sheriff's deputies will be present, this is indeed being handled by private security guards now. 

It’s easy to misconstrue the numbers based on yesterday’s statement by Friends of the Festival, but it is my understanding that “…a mixture of Chattanooga police officers, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office deputies and private security officers would staff this year’s event” actually translates to only one city officer working with Riverbend as of the time of this writing.  

I am personal friends with many of their staffers and their ethics are matched only by their hard work (year after year after year), but for just these assumptions alone, I felt this was too open to interpretation for me to let this go without clarification. 

Craig W. Joel

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