Jiffy Lube Live Bans Tailgating

Parking Lot StanchionsAnd the hits just keep on coming for tailgaters. Add Jiffy Lube Live, an outdoor concert amphitheater in suburban Prince William County, about 35 miles west of Washington, DC., to the list of venues tailgaters are no longer welcome. Yup, you guessed it. Management has decided to ban tents, portable grills and alcohol in the parking lots. On top of that, parking areas will only open one to two hours prior to the scheduled start of the concert.

NBC Washington: No More Tailgating Fun at Jiffy Lube Live

This is not a new phenomenon that the management of stadiums and concert venues have banned tailgating. Dodger Stadium is probably the most notable sports venue to ban tailgating while PNC Bank Arts Center only bans tailgating prior to concerts that tend to appeal to a younger audience. Jiffy Lube Live has always had a “no alcohol” policy for the parking lots but apparently in years past that policy has been overlooked. This year police will be taking a “zero tolerance” approach to alcohol consumption in the parking lots. Apparently grills and tents are the baby that was mixed in with the bathwater with this new approach.

Tickets for concerts this season will have “No Tailgating” stamped on them. On the Jiffy Lube Live Facebook Page an official cited that safety, and abiding by Virginia’s law banning public alcohol consumption, prompted the change. The statement said:

“The safety of the fans is of paramount importance and we have an ongoing commitment to work with the local police department on all shows to ensure a safe environment for all of our fans. As part of this commitment, it has been determined that it is in the best interest of the fans and their overall experience at the venue to not allow tailgating.”

Although the statement does not specifically mention alcohol by name as the main culprit for a non-safe environment, we all can pretty much assume that boozing before the shows was the issue at hand. So if alcohol is such a problem that causes an unsafe environment, you would assume that Live Nation, the owners of the venue, would refuse to sell alcohol inside the venue, right? Please feel free to take a moment to stop laughing before you read further.

This blatant hypocrisy by Live Nation by banning tailgating yet continuing to sell alcohol inside (at outrageously high prices no doubt) has caused an uproar on the jiffy Lube Live Facebook page. Posted on Wednesday, May 18th, the fan page said:

Hi guys,

We appreciate all of your feedback on the tailgating policy change and are reading every single comment. We empathize with those of you who are upset – we are music fans ourselves and know this change isn’t a perfect scenario. We work hard to provide a fun, friendly and safe environment at our venue and will continue to look for ways to improve the fan experience.

This elicited a rash of responses. In 18 hours of the post going up, only eight people “liked” the post. On the flip side, close to 200 people commented on it with the lion’s share of comments highly critical and downright nasty. Here are a few of the better ones.

Jason Edwards ‎said,

Improve the fan experience”. Yup, that’s exactly what you’re doing. LOL. NOBODY should buy ANYTHING once inside the venue, if you choose to attend a show.

This comment received 11 thumbs up.

From Julie Dey Maurer

The new tail gating policy should have been disclosed sooner than a week before the first concert!! Thank god I didn’t buy the mega tix. And not everyone gets loaded while tailgating. Some people actually enjoy just socializing before the concert or not wanting to sit in a bunch of traffic-which is what we are gonna have to do now!!! But at least you all got your $$$$, Right??????

18 People liked this comment

Elyse Granger comments

Let’s see…horrendous traffic, no tailgating, overpriced food and beverage–does this sound like a policy that enhances the fan experience? The folks at Wolftrap are enjoying the business you’ve managed to generate for them. And BTW, I’ve seen the food and beverage lines at your shows; you’re not hurting for sales. This is about greed. Shameful.

Shay Kemble writes

This policy is not fun, friendly, or safe! I will not be having fun sitting in my hot car for three hours while waiting in traffic, it’s not very friendly of you to force your patrons to buy your overpriced food and drink, and I don’t think anyone will be safe with the riot that this is going to cause!

Ryan White opines

B.S. Alert!…B.S. Alert! What is “safer” about having people drink prior to reaching their destination? Because that is exactly what this “policy” is going to do. People who drink are going to drink. If not when they get there, then prior to. Been to tons of concerts out there and have never seen any trouble come at the hands of tailgating. Never. This is nothing more than an attempt to capture more of the peoples money. End of story. What, does Dan Snyder own this venue as well?

And the complaints go on and on and on. I read all 188 comments that were posted as of press time and not one was in favor of this change. Many people admitted to only liking the Jiffy Lube Live Facebook page for the specific reason to post a comment documenting their outrage. They then promptly unliked the page after posting their comment.

Before you ask the question, yes, Jimmy Buffett has a scheduled tour date at Jiffy Lube Live on August 27, 2011. And yes, the Parrotthead message boards are on near meltdown over this.

With so much outrage to this sudden change in policy, a Boycott Jiffy Lube Live Tailgating Policy Facebook page has already sprung up. The boycott page has close to 6,000 fans already compared to the 4,500 Facebook users who are fans of the Jiffy Lube Live page.

We would encourage those who live in the Washington DC area to join the boycott of Jiffy Lube Live. If you have already purchased tickets to a scheduled event, try to get a refund. If refunds are not being issued, then attend the concert but DO NOT buy anything inside. No food, no alcohol, not even a t-shirt of the artist you paid to come see. Music acts make money off of the ticket sales but they also make a good chunk of change off of merchandise sold on the premises. If word gets back to the bands that they sold zero t-shirts and hats at Jiffy Lube Live, you can be sure their tour manager will be asking questions. And when those question come back with answers there was a coordinated boycott, do you think that band will schedule to come back to that particular venue again? I’m willing to bet Jimmy Buffett won’t be going back to Jiffy Lube Live in the future if the tailgating ban is not lifted.

It’s high time tailgaters act with some solidarity and purpose. If the Virginia law bans alcoholic beverages in public places, so be it. But enforcing a law on the books does not mean tents and grills need to be banned as well. If alcohol is truly the problem and the police are enforcing state law, then please only enforce the law. Tailgaters should not stand for this and should be calling and emailing state legislators and asking when did a BBQ grill or a pop-up tent in a parking lot become a dangerous item.

If the concert goers at Jiffy Lube Live take this lying down, then it gives other venues license to ban tailgating in the future. These policies and practices of vilifying tailgating as the culprit for all bad behavior at concerts and sporting events needs to stop.