Tennesseans, and honorary Tennesseans for the week, are going to get an experience at Bonnaroo this year! Here’s to hoping their experience is a positive one, free from drug busts, disorderly conduct charges, and any other offense in Coffee County (or in the state of Tennessee, really). This is a guide to security at the festival and what to do if you get trapped. Sit back and relax, because it’s not Coffee we’re spilling, it’s tea.
Bonnaroo Kicks Off
The 17th Annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival (Bonnaroo) kicks off this week in Tennessee and runs from June 7-10. Bonnaroo is a rite of passage for music lovers across the nation. Thousands of people attend the festival each year, with the number of attendees topping 65,000 last year.
Don’t Get Lost In The Music
Right now, there is, understandably, a lot of anticipation by festival goers. However, over the course of the year, there has also been a lot of planning by law enforcement across the state to ensure that attendees are safe and stay out of trouble at the festival, and, perhaps, bust you.
What You Have To Lose
In recent years, hundreds of attendees have been either cited or arrested at Bonnaroo, and each year, the numbers of citations and arrests increase. Last year, the numbers totalled more than 300, with 295 citations and 42 arrests, according to Coffee County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Lucky Knott. As evidenced by the numbers, most of the attendees apprehended by police received citations and were not taken to jail.
Whatever You Do, Don’t Deliver Or Sell
The majority of the citations and arrests each year are related to drug offenses, including simple possession, possession with intent to deliver or sell, and unlawful drug paraphernalia use/advertisement. Based on prior years, simple possession of drugs, regardless of type, and unlawful drug paraphernalia use/advertisement, will likely result in a citation. Possession of drugs with the intent to deliver or sell, on the other hand, will likely result in an immediate physical arrest. Other offenses at the festival have included public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and misdemeanor assault, any of which can result in either a citation or an arrest.
We Don’t Want You To Lose
We want to guide you out of trouble at Bonnaroo and let you in on the security presence outside and inside the venue. In the event you do find yourself in trouble, we want to help you get out of it. It is wise to consult an attorney, particularly one who specializes in criminal defense, after being cited or arrested. We have helped hundreds of clients get their drug, alcohol, and assault cases dismissed or downgraded. To learn more about SBL’s legal experience, clients’ testimonials, and victories, see our criminal attorney services.
Be Secure: Know Who Is And Isn’t Security
According to Spokesman Lucky Knott, the Coffee County Sheriff’s Office will be policing the perimeter of the Bonnaroo venue in addition to policing the remainder of Manchester and Coffee County. The Sheriff’s Office has set up a Bonnaroo Command Center, and they will be checking all vehicles for forbidden items and substances before they are allowed to enter the toll booths to get into the venue. (For a full listing of what you can and can’t bring into the festival, click here.) A vehicle check might also include a full search if the sheriffs have reasonable suspicion that something illegal has taken or is taking place. The uniformed security (wearing mostly t-shirts) inside of the Bonnaroo venue, which includes security patrols and stations, will, by contrast, be comprised entirely of event staff. These safety stations are safe havens, and whatever you tell the patrols or other safety staff is confidential, so you can’t get in trouble.
Don’t Forget About The Undercover Agents
Spokesman Knott said that it is a rare occurrence, such as a life-threatening matter, when the Sheriff’s Office gets involved inside of the venue. When asked if he could comment on undercover agents at the festival, he said he could not. Despite the spokesman’s comment, there will likely be undercover agents inside the venue. Undercover agents are typically dressed in plain clothes and looking to find and arrest people who are distributing drugs illegally, or, possibly, people who are simply in possession of drugs.
You Should Be Careful Once You’ve Entered Tennessee
As previously mentioned, Coffee County Sheriff’s Officers will be patrolling Manchester and the rest of Coffee County. Likewise, law enforcement across the state will be on alert for attendees traveling to and from Bonnaroo. What does this mean? If you are traveling to, attending, or leaving the festival, you may be the subject of a police stop and search of your person and/or your vehicle.
You Don’t Have To Go Home, But You Do Need To Remember These Main Points
1. Getting caught with possession of drugs, of any type, will likely result in a citation.
2. Getting caught with possession of drugs with intent to deliver or sell will likely result in an immediate physical arrest.
3. There are three (3) different types of security at the festival: the local police, event staff, and undercover law enforcement agents.
4. The local police force will be patrolling outside the festival, including searching vehicles.
5. The event staff will be patrolling inside the festival. They are not going to get law enforcement involved unless there is a life-threatening event.
6. Undercover agents from the local police force, dressed in plain clothes, will likely be present inside the venue to trap attendees intending to distribute drugs.
7. Click here if you are curious about what might be the subject of a police search, citation, or arrest. Alternatively, you might remember as a general rule of thumb that if it is not legal outside the venue, then you shouldn’t do it inside the venue.
8. It is your constitutional right to refuse to consent to a search of your vehicle or your person. Nevertheless, police may search your vehicle or your person if they have probable cause or they have arrested you.
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