Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon released this statement Thursday evening in reference to an upcoming Widespread Panic concert at the Wharf Amphitheater on Memorial Day weekend.
“While I appreciate that there are good and decent people that cause no trouble at Widespread Panic concerts, the facts about the negative impact of Widespread Panic concerts in the City of Orange Beach speak for themselves:
– On average (there are) more than 100 arrests and it could have been three or four times that many.
– Concertgoers sleeping in the halls and business doorways of the Wharf, in resident homeowners’ garages, in vacant rental homes without permission, in the woods, along our recreational trails and in cars all over town
– Inebriated and stoned concertgoers, who walk down Beach Highway at all hours of the night out of their minds, causing traffic issues, risking harm to themselves and those on the road, running the emergency medical services ragged
– Public and private property destruction, trash left behind all over the city and the list goes on and on with vandalism and a lack of respect for property.
These are documented and factual results of the chaos and destruction as a result of the previous Widespread Panic concerts in Orange Beach. These shows have caused the City of Orange Beach more grief than all other concerts behind. Of additional concern, this concert has been scheduled on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, the kickoff of the summer season, one of our busiest weekends.
The bottom line is from a business perspective, we are a family friendly destination. Those who act irresponsibly, as do a large number in previous attendance at Widespread Panic Concerts, don’t promote or support what we stand for as a community and have repeatedly proven not to respect our laws, the residents, business owners and visitors of our city, while they are here.
If after the May 22 concert at the Wharf we see a positive change in behavior we may reconsider our position, but until then, all we have to go on is past behavior and impact on our city.
I was elected as mayor to represent and protect the City of Orange Beach. I absolutely make no apologies for taking this position. I do not speak for the council, or Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Silvers, although I do understand and support his level of frustration and concern about the return of an event that has caused chaos in our community time and time again.”