Spoiling the ultimate party

I have a lot to say about the B-52’s [Aug. 4 concert] and won’t be surprised if a lot of others do, too. I also think the preview [“Know Thy Beehive,” Aug. 1] was abysmal and did not do the band justice. If anyone knows anything about the B-52’s (the author didn’t seem to know much) other than what was on the press release, comparing them to the Georgia Satellites is like comparing Meat Loaf to Cream.

Although the band was awesome and [gave] the best performance I have seen in years, it was like watching the B-52’s at Gitmo/Buckingham Biltmore Bay. After the cattle drive from the parking lots, we were frisked for drugs and alcohol (guns weren’t mentioned), and then we tried to watch the band and dare to dance under the hostile gaze of an army of security personnel. My husband witnessed a dozen people dancing that were moved to accommodate an elderly Biltmore employee sitting near the front, in order to facilitate his view. The man winked at the officer when all the paying dancers were moved aside. When asked why the dancers were treated in such a way, the security officer blamed the band for allegedly saying those that had paid the most deserved to not have their space invaded. But we had paid reservation prices, too, and there was little way for them to gauge who paid a few dollars more (which is pathetic, considering most of us paid $45 to $50, minimum). I also believe this is the last thing a band that calls itself the ultimate party band would have wanted.

We also witnessed a young girl pleading with a guard who hauled her off from her friends for what appeared to be drunkenness, and a young man in handcuffs. The crowd was primarily white, middle-aged, middle-class professionals and about as threatening as a golf convention. We looked for a vendor selling B-52’s merchandise, but found instead shameless self-promotion of Biltmore merchandise only. By 9:30 (little more than an hour later), we were fortunate enough to get an encore (“Planet Claire” and “Rock Lobster”) and then [came] the cattle drive back to the parking lots and a traffic jam (one lane out only). It took more time to get out of the park than it did to see the band. A great band, nice view, but it was like a party at the Pentagon—it was an insulting way to treat customers who paid for a great gig at premium prices.

— Julia Childs

Biltmore Company Public Relations Manager Southard Nowak replies: During Biltmore’s Summer Evening Concerts, our priorities are the safety and enjoyment of our guests, employees and performing artists and crews. On Saturday, Aug. 4, at the B-52’s concert, Biltmore’s company police enforced North Carolina statutes when confronted with inappropriate guest conduct with what they perceived to be a public-safety concern. The activity began outside the audience-seating area and continued into the audience. Due to the status of the pending case, we are unable to provide further comment about anything that is not public record.

Regarding the length of performance, the band fulfilled their contractual agreement to play for 75 minutes, which is the time they allot for performances on their current tour. The B-52’s provided merchandise, which was available at the concert. It sold out quickly, before the show commenced.

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