Are Country Concert Tragedies the New Normal?

Arrests at Keith Urban Show Follow Death at Jason Aldean Concert

When Cory Barron died, his Jason Aldean concert ticket was in his pocket.

That says so much about the environment at country shows these days. I wish it didn’t, but it does.

Barron’s body was found in a landfill on July 22 after attending Aldean’s July 18 concert at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Sadly, his tragic death isn’t the only news surrounding country concerts this summer.

Keith Urban’s Saturday night (July 26) concert near Boston resulted in a steady stream of ambulances from five different communities showing up to take 22 people to the hospital. Police also reported that more than 50 people were taken into protective custody.

Another concert — Luke Bryan’s June show in Pittsburgh — made the news because the city was so furious about the trash the fans created. The city had to pay an additional $2,000 to have the trash removed and the public areas cleaned. Plus, that show resulted in 100 medical calls, 34 people taken to hospitals, 15 fights, 10 citations for public urination and six citations for disorderly conduct.

Nights like that have apparently become the new normal.

It’s easy to look back on a night when there is excessive drinking at a show and know exactly what could have prevented the accident.

You might blame the venue. You might blame the promoter. You might blame the headliner, the cops, the lack of cops, the buddy system, the liquor store that fueled the tailgating or even the concession stands at the venues that kept serving alcohol.

But no matter who you blame, country concerts are attracting bigger crowds than ever and a younger audience, too. With that comes a greater level of personal responsibility and the need to take care of others.

Barron’s death is still under investigation , but there are some undeniable facts from several news sources. Law officers have confirmed where Barron had been sitting (in the upper deck in the northwest corner of the stadium), where he fell five stories into a garbage chute (near the restrooms and the elevator) and that a police report quoted a friend who described him as extremely intoxicated.

Even Aldean, who knew nothing of Barron’s disappearance that night, had a heavy heart when he learned the news.

He tweeted about Barron right away, saying, “My sincere condolences go out to Cory Barron’s family and friends. My heart is heavy for you all, and you are in my thoughts and prayers.”

Barron was 22 and had just graduated from Bowling Green State University. He was at Aldean’s concert with friends and family and went to go see friends in another section of the stadium.

His funeral is Monday (July 28).