When walking through the crowds at Bele Chere this past weekend, I normally see everything between the music stages as commercials. I skip right by them, ready to see and hear what is beyond all of the marketing. Not that there's anything wrong with commercials, they're just not my bag. I didn't drink beer from any of the stands at the festival (I chose rather to spend a couple of dollars at our locally owned co-op some fifty yards away from one end of the festival. I was saddened to hear the way the beer bracelets apparently served no purpose at all in the festival — none that I could see at least.
Two friends of mine reported to me how, after showing their IDs to the bracelet sellers and paying $2, then showing their bracelets and IDs, again, to beer sellers and paying a few dollars, they were then, and still, interrupted while enjoying their beers by undercover police officers to show them their IDs.
This makes a total of showing an ID three times for one beer! Too, a wasted $2 on a bracelet that made no difference to beer vendors or police officers. It's not like they were applying for a passport to get across imaginary lines or anything. They were just drinking a beer. These friends of mine are the “one or two beer on the weekend” kind of drinkers, not the kind of people stumbling around a festival drunk.
Does anyone have information on why they mandated beer bracelets at the festival? Or was it just good, old-fashioned “let's create trash and make some money while we do it” capitalism mixed with a bit of over-policing?
— Larry Rogers