The management of The Orange Peel has stooped to new lows. When [I] attended a Feb. 29 concert, the proprietors chose to violate my privacy—along with [that of] every other attendee. This was done under the guise of keeping us safe. When entering the hall after presenting my $23 ticket, I was told by a rude employee to empty all of my pockets onto the table while he searched my entire body, held my grocery list up to the light and sorted through my personal items on a table in view of the whole lobby. I watched all of the ladies around me experience the same, except that their purses were rifled through as well. The performance hall was diminished by [the presence of] a steel gate, keeping the audience separated from the stage, and by a new traffic pattern, creating havoc around the bathrooms.
If [The Peel] truly wishes to keep us safe, [they should] use metal detectors and keep [their] hands off my body and out of my pockets. Anyone wishing to feel violated and have a cheapened concert experience should buy tickets to the Peel. What an unnecessary and terrible shame.
— D. Clere
Justin Ferraby, Business & Operations Manager for The Orange Peel, responds: We apologize for [the writer’s] unpleasant experience. We are trying to fulfill our responsibilities to our guests, the authorities and the bands. … More typically, we get compliments on how polite and considerate our staff is while doing a difficult, and—let’s face it—thankless job. Unfortunately, we are held responsible by our other guests, the band contracts, the Asheville Police [Department] and NC ALE for the criminal, illegal or just plain stupid activities of a tiny minority of our guests. You could be injured, and we can be fined, sued, lose our license, lose our insurance or be closed because some guests bring in weapons, liquor or drugs and then act inappropriately. When that tiny minority starts wearing signs, we can stop searching the rest of you. It’s really no fun on our end, either.