Don’t Fear the Festival Reaper

Tanglewood Shed and lawn (photo by Seth Rogovoy)

Tanglewood Shed and lawn (photo by Seth Rogovoy)

You can almost predict with certainty — you could even put money on it — that any time there is a rock festival in town, anywhere in the greater Berkshire region, the local newspaper will run a story about how the nearest hospital emergency room is overrun with incoming — drunk and disorderlies, drug overdoses, physical injuries, and a cardiac case or two. For example, this story in the local paper about this weekend’s Solid Sound. And as the story usually goes, the emergency room is caught with its pants down, understaffed, even though presumably most people in town knew that the entire population of the town was going to double over the weekend.

This used to happen every summer in Great Barrington when, for a number of years, there was an annual summer festival called BerkFest.

Just ONCE I would like to see some actual, real reporting by a local newspaper examining the incoming stats at local emergency rooms on evenings when Tanglewood attracts 8,000 or 10,000 or 12,000 classical music fans. How many additional cardiac cases wind up at Berkshire Medical Center on those nights? How many arrests are made for overenthusiastic imbibing of fine chardonnay? How many senior classical music fans actually kick the bucket each year on the lawn outside the Shed? How do these numbers compare with other more typical nights? And does BMC actually staff-up on afternoon and nights when there’s a good chance Tanglewood will attract a huge crowd (Tanglewood on Parade; Beethoven symphonies; Yo-Yo Ma; etc.)??

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