STAMFORD, Conn. — After years of concerns and complaints over underage drinking, Stamford’s Alive @ Five concerts will be limited to those over 21 only this summer.
In previous years, those under 21 were able to attend the concerts provided they entered the concert area before a certain time. The series is a signature summer event of the Stamford Downtown Special Services District and draws huge crowds for Thursday night concerts.
Stamford Downtown Special Services District President Sandy Goldstein said months of deliberations went into making the change.
“This is not a decision we came to lightly,” she said.
Upon the advice of the police department, “We decided it was in the best interest of the concert to have 21 olds and older,” she said.
Goldstein said she “loved” having the hundreds upon hundreds of the under-21 crowd at the event, but a “very small percentage” of that population would arrive to the concerts inebriated. Some would even continue to drink within the venue despite attempts to curb that, she said.
The number was enough, though, to warrant concern, she said. According to Goldstein, the downtown district examined best practices in other cities and discovered that over-21 concerts were “the way to go.”
When asked how the new policy would affect attendance, Goldstein said she expects to see a decrease in the short term but is hopeful in the long run that the numbers will stay big.
“I’m sure that for a while our attendance will be weaker, but then we had innumerable complaints from people who were really upset at the underage drinking and the lack of control by people who were underage and drinking,” Goldstein said. “I think that after awhile the numbers will plateau and become positive for us.”
But under-21 concertgoers will still have an opportunity to experience live musical acts in Stamford, Goldstein said.
“We’re going to have a Teenage Tuesday concert,” she said. “We don’t know when it will be yet. We don’t know what the format will be. It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be non-alcoholic and it’s going to be nice.”
The Alive @ Five concert series has brought thousands of concertgoers to Columbus Park to see big-name acts ranging from Andy Grammer to Sugar Ray over the years. This summer's lineup has not been announced yet.
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