NEWS- Dry idea: Prine bans booze during show
Folk legend John Prine's signature song is "Illegal Smile," but some of his fans weren't smiling when they discovered they couldn't consume legal beverages if they were sitting in the primo seats under the canopy during his performance August 18 at the Charlottesville Pavilion.
"I found it very bizarre," says attendee Tom Daly. "People paid a lot of money and didn't know they couldn't drink alcohol at an event sponsored by Budweiser."
Although attendees sitting under the canopy– where the seats cost up to $50– were asked not to drink after 8pm when Prine came on stage, it was perfectly okay for people on the lawn or in the concession area to have a drink.
The alcohol-free zone was written into Prine's contract, explains Pavilion general manager Kirby Hutto: "I wouldn't call it common, but it is at the artist's discretion."
According to Hutto, Prine's manager said, "John used to play bars early in his career and now doesn't play bars or any place that serves alcohol."
People attending were advised by signage at the show and by Pavilion staff, Hutto says.
"This is nothing out of the ordinary," he adds. "We have a show coming up this Sunday with no alcohol." That would be Third Day, a Christian band.
"I think people should have been advised before the concert," says longtime fan Sandy Seal, who had lawn seats at the show. "If I was going to pay that much money and was told I couldn't drink when he came on, I would have been [annoyed]."
Seal says she heard beer-sellers at the Pavilion tell patrons that Prine is a recovering alcoholic, hence the booze ban.
"Just because someone is a recovering alcoholic doesn't mean you can demand no one else drink," says Seal.
Prine's manager, Al Bunetta, did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Hutto says he received "zero" complaints about the suspension of suds during the Prine show. "People had two hours to drink," he says. "Once the show starts, the focus should be the music."