Comcast Center problems prompt discussions in Mansfield

by James Swierzbin

JSwierzbin@abc6.com

 

Two deaths and dozens of arrests at the Comcast Center in Mansfield has community leaders talking, and they hope that the discussions, will help make things better.

On July 26th at a rave show called Identity Fest, two young men died, likely as a result of drug use, while 19-had to be hospitalized, and 45-got arrested.

Just one week later at a hip–hop show there were 35–arrests, with 60-people taken into protective custody, mostly for underage drinking.

It's a problem that one of Mansfield's selectman believes is a result of young people going to shows at the Comcast Center not just to hear the music.

“I do think that the show has actually become secondary for the patrons, I think that they come to party.” said selectman George Dentino.

Dentino says that the problems at the Comcast Center have been piling up over the last few years, with arrests and the number of people being put in protective custody, surging.

“So many of them stay out in the parking lot and party and don't even go into the venue.” said Dentino.

At Thursday night's System of a Down show, concert goers said that the problems the venue's having are the result of specific crowds, brought out by particular kinds of music groups.

And they think it's unfair that all concert-goers are getting a bad rap.

“We're just trying to have a good time, have a couple beers and just chill out, and that's really what we're trying to do and it's ridiculous when the heat comes down on us, when its not even our fault.” said Norton's Kevin Liberty.

To address the problems, the Comcast Center staff has beefed up its security detail and started patting down people hoping to catch anyone who's trying to bring drugs or alcohol into the venue.

But even with these moves, Selectman Dentino believes it will take a total team effort, to put the problems the venue has had, behind them.

“We all have to get together, the town, the police chief, the fire chief, our town manager, Comcast, the security team, live nation, and we have to sit down and say listen, this is what we have to strive for.” said Dentino.