It wasn't the volume of the music that turned me off, or the behavior of the crowd during the show. It was what went on before the concert that convinced me that I just might be too darn old to party all day with a bunch of strangers in a parking lot.
Pittsburgh's north-shore riverfront is home to both Heinz Field, and PNC Park. The river-walk, from which one may view the city center, Mount Washington, and Point State Park, provides easy pedestrian access to both. It also serves as mooring for pleasure boats, water taxis, and Pittsburgh's famed Gateway Clipper fleet.
Last Saturday, the river walk, as well as the parking lots surrounding the football stadium, served as a playground for thousands of concert-goers waiting to attend a late afternoon music-fest. By all accounts, a staggering amount of alcohol was consumed outside the stadium in the hours before the concert. I repeat, staggering!
What appalled me most about this drinking crowd, was the revelers blatant disregard for the immediate environment. Granted, there didn't seem to be any real effort made on behalf of the city, or the stadium to provide trash receptacles, but come-on folks! It's 2011! Didn't we renounce the public disposition of our personal trash back in the 1960s?
While the party raged, it was difficult to really assess the amount of trash accumulating on the ground around us. Not so, after the concert, when the virtual mine field of plastic cups, broken bottles, and empty beer cans that littered the landscape between the stadium and our car was clearly visible. I can still hear the crunch of broken glass under the exiting auto tires.
The relationship between the the local police and the tail-gaters was also quite intriguing. The merrymakers didn't seem at all intimidated by the police presence in the parking lot. Apparently, there are few, if any restrictions on open containers of alcohol in the city, because the police made little if any effort to rein anyone in.
Totally unreasonable, was the prohibition against awnings and canopies. With temps in the 90s, it only made sense to get out of the sun, but each time a canopy went up, the police arrived with instructions to tear it down. Call me out-of-touch, but I have to wonder about a city code that blesses beer bongs and Margarita machines, but outlaws a basic 10 x 10 EZ-Up.
All in all, I tried to be non-judgemental, and to look the other way when they hauled our inebriated neighbor off to the first-aid center. I wanted to fit in, honestly I did. But, in spite of my kick-ass cowboy hat, I couldn't forget that I was five somebodies' grandmother.
Maybe next time I get the urge to play dress-up with the kids, I'll skip the tail-gate party, and just set-sail with Captain Morgan instead!
All photos taken by Mrs. Green Jeans at Farm Fresh Photography, 2011