Relaxing Liquor At Bend Shed

A regional liquor commission has eased the rules for an amphitheatre in Bend, Ore., that claimed it was losing shows because of increasingly strict alcohol regulations.

During a recent meeting with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, officials for the Les Schwab Amphitheater said the commission’s oversight had become restrictive to venue operations.

“We are not treated like any other comparable venue throughout the state, and we can no longer compete with them,” amphitheatre director Marney Smith told the local Bend Bulletin.

Smith explained that while the shed had not been issued any previous warnings or violations from the OLCC, bright lighting was required at the venue, alcohol sales were cut more than two hours before some concerts wrapped, and concertgoers who purchased beer and wine were restricted to a fenced beer garden, leading to complaints from fans and bands alike.

OLCC officials, who heard from several local businesses regarding inconsistent enforcement in the region during the meeting, explained the rules had been put in place to promote public safety and prevent minors from drinking alcohol.

However, after hearing the shed’s policies and event plans, OLCC Director Linda Ignowski said the commission would agree to test reinstating walk-around privileges for select shows, given that alcohol purchasers wear wristbands, and alcohol sales end by designated times, the Bulletin reported.

“It sounds like you have a pretty good plan and, from my standpoint, I am willing to give it a shot,” Ignowski said. “I hope there will be successful events, and we won’t have to be talking about the amphitheater anymore.”