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The city of Lawrence rented out their football stadium this past Sunday to organizers of a Brazilian festival billed as the largest in the country. The tickets were $100 for regular admission or $180 for VIP access; there were reportedly 8000 people in attendance.
This is what it looked like on Monday morning:
Besides the trash that was left behind, there was also Coors beer truck parked in front of Lawrence High School, which is adjacent to the stadium.
While the trash left behind is the visible remains of what occurred the real damage comes from the shards of glass imbedded in the artificial turf. The field is unusable and needs to be replaced at a cost of $875,000. The organizers paid $20,000 to rent the field and were required to have a $750,000 insurance policy as well as an additional million-dollar policy to go along with the beer and wine license they were granted. The rental agreement stated that they need to clean up and not cause damage or alter the premises as well as stipulating that glass, cigarettes and colored drinks were not permitted.
From what I could gather in the comments on the event’s Facebook page, I had to use the translate feature, it appears that the organizers weren’t very organized. There weren’t enough bathrooms, it took hours to get any food or drink and there was a lack of trash barrels, and the ones that they did have weren’t emptied. I would also guess that there wasn’t much in the way of security checking people entering for any of the prohibited items.
I really want to be on the City’s side on this, but I think they hold some of the responsibility in this. The organizers needed to pay for a 20 officer police detail, that really doesn’t seem like enough to watch 8000 people in this type of setting. And what, if anything, did the police do when they saw what was happening? Is that even something they should get involved in or are they there to keep the peace?
Someone from the City should have swung by to check on things. Even if it wasn’t a policy, you would think that someone would take some initiative and check it out. You rent out a recently renovated stadium to a group who is hosting 8000 people and not even think about taking a peek? You’re going to have 8000 people trampling all over the turf and no one gave it a second thought. You just assume that everyone’s following the rules? And now we know that they weren’t so what does that get you? You need to pay for the repairs upfront while you attempt to recoup your losses from that train wreck of an organization. Meanwhile, the teams that call that stadium home need to practice and play games elsewhere. Good work.
I’d also like to note that in July of this year these same organizers, Floripa Productions, were denied a permit to put on a smaller event in Hudson, MA. The town tried for months to get some pretty basic questions answered to no avail. I found that out with a Google search, too bad the folks in Lawrence didn’t do the same thing.
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