This past weekend, several dozen fans got more than they bargained for during a Rascal Flatts concert at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center in upstate New York. A total of 62 people were ticketed during the event. The charges? Most of them were due to underage drinking.

According to The Daily News, 59 of the tickets given during the June 30 event went to underage fans that were charged with possession of alcohol with the intent to consume. The three remaining charges were for trespassing and possession of marijuana. The two fans charged with trespassing allegedly reentered the concert after being kicked out, warranting tickets.

At least for the rest of the attendees–and the band–it was a great show.

Fans of the country group, though, weren’t the only ones affected. During a Drake concert at the same venue earlier this month, 71 underage drinkers were cited. Thirty more were given out during a recent Eric Church show.

The police here weren’t always this strict. The Daily News found in 2009 that the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department issued only 50 tickets for liquor violations for the entire year–less than those given during the Rascal Flatts alone.

The crackdown on underage drinking, though, isn’t coming out of nowhere. Bob Montgomery, General Manager of Darien Lake, recently issued a statement to local news outlets about what he called a “zero tolerance policy” toward underage drinking. “We are actively enforcing a zero tolerance policy for underage drinking,” the statement read, “and the local sheriff’s department has stepped up related arrests. Our focus is on what is best for the community, and concert goers.”

In 2010, the police tripled their efforts from the past year at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, issuing 130 tickets. In 2011, they issued 244 tickets at events that included concerts by Brad Paisley and, again, Rascal Flatts.

As the Daily News noted, though, teenage fans in the local area of Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans counties seem well aware of the crackdown. Of the 76 teens charged during the June 9 Drake concert, “not a single one was from those three counties.”

-Ashley Quadros, CBS Local


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