ABC Shed Probe Continues

A Virginia state agency concluded the Verizon Wireless Virginia Beach Amphitheatre didn’t violate its liquor license during a September 6th Mötley Crüe concert but is reportedly looking into the venue’s crowd control procedures.

Department of Alcohol Beverage Control enforcement director Frank Monahan told The Virginian-Pilot that ABC officials want to meet with shed management, police and a city representative to map out strategies including added security.

The probe was initially prompted by a complaint about drummer Tommy Lee’s infamous “breast cam,” where he encourages women to bare their breasts. Footage of compliant audience members is then shown on the venue’s large projection screens.

But ABC investigators were mollified after learning that a worker at the Live Nation-run venue climbed a catwalk and pulled the plug on the electrical boards, cutting short Lee’s racy display, according to the paper.

But that wasn’t the end of things. Local attorney Kevin Martingayle, who represents bars and restaurants in the area, wrote a letter to Monahan and Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Harvey Bryant III asking for an investigation into the city-owned amphitheatre’s alleged history of problems during concerts.

Martingayle specifically referred to information he’d obtained through the Virginia Freedom of Information Act that said there had been more than 1,200 incidents reported at the amphitheatre between 1999 and 2005, mostly arrests or citations for drugs and disorderly conduct.

Martingayle further alleged the concert venue is getting special treatment from ABC and law enforcement officials.

“It appears there is some evidence that the officers and agents are being instructed to treat the amphitheatre differently from other ABC licensees, which, if true, raises many serious legal and ethical questions,” Martingayle wrote.

Monahan denied the double-standard allegation, saying each case is judged independently. The ABC reportedly hasn’t levied any charges against the facility.

Bruce Eskowitz, Live Nation president of venues and sponsorships, did not comment on Martingayle’s allegations, but told Pollstar, “We are pleased that the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control found that Live Nation in no way violated the terms of the liquor license at the Mötley Crüe concert.

“We are committed to the compliance of all state laws as well as ensuring the safety of our patrons in all of our venues and are looking forward to another successful concert season.”

– Tina Amendola