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May 16, 2010

Zac Brown, O.A.R. and a beer bath at Preakness

o.a.r.'s marc roberge gets his preak onSo I survived yesterday's Preakness infield debauchery, which was much wilder than last year but not nearly as nuts as the BYOB days.

I think that's exactly how organizers wanted it. If you wanted to get wasted, you had to spend half your day waiting in beer lines.

I spotted a dude named Keith Carrier, who was carrying around a metal bucket filled with beer, and stopped him to see where he got it.

Turns out, he stole it from a beer stand and convinced a female bartender to fill it up for $10.

Here's a link to the little piece I wrote about him, and here is a link to a photo of him and his friends with the bucket.

Most of the day, I was in the middle of the masses who came to see the Zac Brown Band and O.A.R. (pictured). Both bands suited the sunny, breezy weather and college-aged crowd perfectly ...

Halfway through O.A.R.'s set, a young woman doused me with what must have been a full cup of beer. It was in my hair, all down my back, in my ear -- even my notepad was soaked. She was actually aiming for another dude, who started yelling at her. Then some guy came to her defense, and the two guys started brawling in the audience. I was content to let them duke it out while I dried off.

Over the course of the day, I had beer spilled on my legs, feet and shoulders, some dude bumped into me with his lit cigar butt and somebody else hurled a hoodie on top my head. Oh, the torments I suffer to get the job done. Hee hee.

Here is a link to my review of the Zac Brown Band, Collective Soul and O.A.R. It's not my best work ever, because I only had an hour to write it, but it's better than nothing.

Did you go to Preakness? Share some stories with me.

(Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth K. Lam)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:37 AM | | Comments (12)
Categories: Concert reviews


Of course "morale" wasn't what it "should be". Deprive the drunken d-bags of their elixir and pouting ensues. Apparently, front loading or actually figuring out a way to get their needed supplies in didn't cross their minds.
So, does a beer bath make your hair shiny like the old wive's tales? Inquiring minds need to know!

The Chop approves of both petty larceny and small-time bribery.

Let Keith Carrier be an example to us all.

Oh? I'll remember that the next time I'm at the Baltimore Chop. I could use a few new free books.

I have nothing to do with the Baltimore Chop bookstore.

I am not "Andy", nor do I know Andy.

That store closed well before I began my blog. I've been surprised at how much confusion this has caused.

Oh. Now that I've found Andy Rubin's myspace, I can see why so many people would make that mistake.

as a loooooooong time grandstand ticket holder, the reduced level of mayhem over the last two years has been quite welcome. my only interaction with the infield has been mostly limited to trying to avoid that scene on the way to and from my box in the morning and afternoon. we'll occasionally walk over there to take a peek. i hope they're able to find a balance to keep the crowds coming while leaving the pandemonium (which was spiraling out of control in recent years) behind.

"If you wanted to get wasted, you had to spend half your day waiting in beer lines."

I confess I've been pretty surprised by the responses I've heard from some of the attendees who purchased "bottomless" beer mugs. Apparenly many were surprised and disappointed by the amount of beer they ended up getting. Seriously, did they really think for $20 they were going get a limitless supply of beer?

Past experience at the Preakness has shown that almost all of the problems there have been alcohol related. So it would be foolish, probably bordering on criminal, for the organizers to provide the means for a drunken debacle.

The solution, I think, was obvious. Sell "bottomless" beer mugs, but provide so few beer stations that it would be impossible for anyone to get more then a few glasses of beer. End result: more money for the organizers, minimal problems with drunken behavior, and almost no call for police involvement. Talk about a "win-win" situation for the organizers.

WNST had someone from the Maryland Jockey Club on this morning, and the lack of beer stations was brought up as one of the biggest complaints/problems. The organizer was quite contrite, and indiated they would try to improve the situation next year. I had to laugh, and am still wondering how many years in succession the current status quo will continue to be the status quo before the knucklehead crowd finally realizes that the Preakness is no longer going to be their personal day to get loud, drunk and profane on cheap beer.

The current vibe of society dictated the need for a little mathematical trickery. Many cups vs not many vendors equals enforced sobriety ( or something pretty close to it).
If it was just making a big mess and acting foolish, it would have continued merrily along, the after cleaning crew parading proudly to the metal scrap recyclers all the way. The drunken violence ruined the party, and here we are, no fun of any kind. First they ruined Preakness, look out for bar crawls and large public holidays ( July 4th, Halloween, St Pat's) next.

I'm setting up a bar crawl to support bringing the Preakness back to its origins. Stay tuned.

Who could have possible predicted this outcome?!?! Oh that's right, everybody.

I'll be back at Preakness when they bring back BYOB.

Really? To get almost 100,000 people in one place on a Saturday in May is not too shabby.

Less jabronies + less police + less trash = More profit. Let's not forget that Pimlico is a business and the only day of the year it makes money is Preakness.

Last year was fun, but noticeably down in energy. This year was pretty much perfect. The Maryland Jockey Club stepped up its game in all areas last Saturday.


Preakness was certainly a success from a business standpoint.

However I spoke to some attendees who said they would not go back next year, primarily due to their frustrations around waiting for beer. Perhaps if Pimlico triples the amount of beer distribution points they'll hit that happy compromise they're looking for.

Just speaking personally though, the appeal of Preakness is the complete anarchy, outrageousness and pandemonium. While there are many others in my position boycotting in hopes of a reversal back to the good ole dangerous times, I think after next year we will be able to say with more confidence if Preakness can thrive financially without people of my mindset.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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