If you went to the shows at the Truckee Regional Amphitheatre August 4 and 5, there were a couple of things you could not miss:
1) World class reggae artists doing what they do best
2) A large group of people all getting along sharing the common ground of a love of reggae music and culture
3) An overbearing police presence
Growing up in a family with a 4 different members involved in law enforcement I am not one to just jump on the anti-cop bandwagon. My uncle once explained to me to think of the police as problem solvers – don’t cause or be a problem and they wont have to solve you, and if you have a problem, call them, that’s what they are there for, to serve and protect.
I can understand police presence at any gathering of a lot of people. There are many problems that can be solved quickly – lost children, watching for drunk drivers leaving the parking lots, and just general keeping the peace.
I cannot understand the constant swarming through out the seating areas, the bag checks, and why these things never happen at the free Wednesday shows?
What happened? What caused the sudden necessity for increased police patrol during reggae shows? Reggae music and culture tends to carry a universal message of peace, love and unity. Which one of these three qualities drums up the fear that needs constant police surveillance to quell? What is it about the way these ideas come from a reggae group that is so different than from our local music groups who often profess the same message but who apparently need no police supervision on Wednesday night? Or is it during the free shows there is no one to cover the bill?
When I buy a ticket for the show in the amphitheater I think of it as a way of giving money back in to my community on a variety of levels. I am sure the park gets its cut and I am happy to give it – I love that park with its river access, playing fields, ice rink in winter, disc golf, tennis courts, practice tees, picnic areas and of course the shows. Renegade productions get their cut as and I am always happy to give it to a local business. The performers get their cut – we have seen performers from Africa, St Croix, Jamaica, and all over the world each bringing a piece of their own culture with them to our small little mountain town.
The exposures to these cultures are very important to a town like this. A town where people’s perspectives might start out a little skewed due to an almost monochromatic upbringing that the Tahoe area seems to have. I am even willing to pay a cut of my ticket to the overtime of a police officer who is there to keep the general peace, help solve problems of the general public, and even enjoy the performance being shown. It is when I am paying the overtime of the police who are creating feelings of ‘big brother’ that it seems like it is not worth my money.
I hope that this will not be a regular part of the paid shows in the park. I would hate to see all the other beneficiaries of the shows lose out because people become decline to subject oneself to the police state the Truckee Regional Amphitheater could become. So before it is too late, let’s take this time to encourage both sides to fix whatever happened that led to this situation. Then we can all enjoy our evenings at the park.
~ Concert Goer