Going to Musikfest? Advice from Bethlehem Police Chief Mark DiLuzio
Every year, Bethlehem Police Chief Mark DiLuzio writes a bulletin to the community and visitors to Musikfest. A lengthy missive full of reminders about the laws and local customs, its primary function is to suggest how to be safe and enjoy yourself during our busiest 10 days.
This year’s press release was replete with topical images of cats, dogs, camels, cat drones and a baby judge. We’ve included only DiLuzio’s helpful text here, but if you prefer visual aids or just a good laugh, at least some of the images are posted on the department’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BethlehemPolice
A Helpful Message from the Bethlehem Police Department concerning MUSIKFEST 2017.
HOLY COW! It’s here. Smile. Do your hair. Get ready for great food and music. Musikfest 2017 will open within the week in Bethlehem. Every year Musikfest brings in around one million people to partake in “America’s Largest Outdoor Music Festival.” And it’s only here in Bethlehem. So, you better get ready!
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT MUSIKFEST
PUBLIC SAFETY YOU ASK?
Musikfest encompasses two large areas of the City; on the Southside by Steel Stacks and on the Northside along Main Street, Monocacy Creek and Johnston Park area. Bethlehem Police Officers, Firefighters and EMS are assigned to all areas to help you. Officers are on foot, bicycles, in vehicles, on motorcycles and on horseback. “HAY” - that’s a lot of officers! There will be plainclothes officers in the crowd to monitor crowd behavior. Musikfest personnel are also on hand to assist you. Remember, if you have an emergency, dial 911 on your cell phone and we will respond to your emergency. We want you have a great, safe time at Musikfest.
Each year, a small number of people misbehave and get arrested. Needless to say, your behavior has to stand out from the crowd in order for you to be arrested during the festival. That being said, we would appreciate your cooperation. Be respectful and courteous, and remember that everyone has rights, not just you. All we are asking for is your cooperation so that your visit to Musikfest 2017 is remembered as a safe and enjoyable experience….a “PURR-fect” experience for you and your family, spouse or friend.
Anywhere you go today, there is a normal course of behavior that is expected. Musikfest is no different. Festival rules are posted throughout Musikfest indicating what is acceptable and what is not. Please read them and please obey the rules. You can also find them on the Musikfest Website along with other useful festival information. The following are some examples of what not to do at Musikfest.
This is the most common violation. It is primarily used for people who are disturbing the peace, physically fighting, yelling obscenities towards others, threatening others, repeatedly being obnoxious, throwing things in a crowd, making excessive noise and/or creating problems. These types of behaviors will not be tolerated and will result in your arrest for Disorderly Conduct. Think of it this way: If your mother was with you, and you acted this way, would she be embarrassed and ashamed of your behavior? So don’t do it and don’t act that way.
ALCOHOL BEVERAGE POLICY
Many cities have Open Container Ordinances. There is an Open Container Ordinance in Bethlehem. This Ordinance prohibits people from carrying an open container of alcohol in a public place. During the ten days of Musikfest, this ordinance is not in effect at Musikfest locations because a “Special Occasion Permit” has been issued by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to Musikfest. The permitted areas only encompass the actual Musikfest areas on the north side and the south side. Nowhere else.
We understand that people like to walk between the Musikfest locations on the north and south sides. The current laws do not allow anyone to carry an open container of alcohol outside of the Musikfest venues. We suggest that you finish your beer or alcohol at the Musikfest location you are visiting before traveling to your next location.
People ask us every year if they can do this. The best piece of advice to offer everyone is this: If you and your friends are peacefully walking down the street between Musikfest locations talking and drinking something from your Musikfest Mugs, no problem. If you are walking down a city street drinking a bottle of beer or a fifth of whiskey, with your pants down, screaming at people, jumping out into traffic, kicking over trash cans, banging on the hoods of cars, cursing at police, kicking a dog or cat (you don’t want to do that!), or drawing unwanted attention to yourself and bothering others, you can expect a visit from one of our officers and expect to send some time in our “Cellblockplatz.” In short, if your behavior doesn’t attract our attention in a negative way, you will most likely be OK.
Over the last few years, there have been very few citations handed out for Open Container violations at Musikfest. Of the few citations handed out by officers, most accompanied another violation like Disorderly Conduct or Underage Drinking. It’s quite simple. If you don’t act like a jerk, drink and act responsibly, you will have no issues.
Beer and some other alcoholic beverages are served at Musikfest venues. DO NOT bring alcoholic beverages to Musikfest in cans, bottles, coolers, pitchers or other containers.
DO NOT bring backpacks thinking you can hide your cans or bottles. DO NOT hide bottles or cans on your body. The tape really hurts when being torn off…ouch!! We know all the tricks. They are nothing new. We do this for a living. Every year, someone thinks they have a new way of hiding alcohol. Trust me. The method is not new. Someone else has already tried it and failed. People have been drinking and hiding alcohol since biblical times, so your idea is nothing new. Little known fact:Noah actually concealed bottles of wine in the pouches of the two kangaroos he took on the Arc. Bet you did not know that. I read it on the internet, so I know it must be true! So, your idea is nothing new.
Some people will re-fill their Musikfest mug inside one of the area establishments. If you do this, our suggestion is that you drink it there before you leave to walk around Musikfest. Pennsylvania Liquor Control Enforcement laws prohibit anyone from leaving an establishment with liquor or wine. This is State Law. Musikfest has many venues at each Platz for you to re-fill your mug or buy other alcoholic beverages. Take advantage of it. The fest is all about having fun with your friends, family and neighbors and we hope you all have a fun and safe visit or visits to Musikfest 2017.
This is a serious violation and will always result in your arrest and removal from the festival. You will be fined and you can kiss your driver’s license goodbye. It will be suspended. If you are under 18 years of age, you will be turned over to your parents. That, in many cases, is more punishment than the arrest. We can all remember the old “wait until we get you home…” or “ wait until your father gets home” statement from our parents.
Despite how old you think you look or how much makeup, eyelashes or a large fake mustache you put on to look older, or all of them, you look really young to us and probably don’t have much of an ability to behave properly after drinking. We know all about fake IDs and fake out of state driver’s license. Musikfest personnel have all been trained and some of them are better than us at spotting fake IDs. We know the backpack trick, the water bottle trick, the soda can trick, hiding liquor bottles in your pants, taped to your ankles, in your underwear (don’t offer me a drink…wow) under your hat and quite a few others. Some are quite ingenious, but just remember this: Someone before you probably tried it and was caught. So we probably already know it. This one is very simple, if you are under 21, don’t drink at Musikfest, or anywhere else in Bethlehem. Remember Musikfest is 34 years old and about one million people come each year. Do the math. We have dealt with over 25 million people over the years and have seen every way humanly possible to conceal alcohol and drink alcohol – some very interesting, some shocking – some you don’t want to know about.
Public Drunkenness arrests occur all year long in the city. Musikfest is no different. Some individuals simply do not know their limit. This arrest is usually for people who are passed out, acting up, can barely walk, falling down and/or unable to take care of themselves or exercising irresponsible behavior. Again, if you behave in a manner that does not attract our attention in a negative way, or are not creating a hazard to yourself or others, you will most likely be OK. If you become intoxicated, have a friend quietly get you home. Please, if you do get intoxicated, do not bother other people, and do not make a spectacle of yourself. Call a friend, call a taxi, call Uber, call your mom. Have someone you know get you safely home.
DUI - DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
These arrests occur all year throughout the Lehigh Valley. We understand, it’s Summer. It’s hot. You just got done with a hard day at work and you and your friend come to Musikfest. Those cold beers go down very easily. The funny dancing kicks in. We all have done it and have been there.
We understand that people are going to consume alcoholic beverages. All we ask is that you drink responsibly and have a friend or a plan in case you drink a little too much. Don’t risk your life and the lives of others by driving drunk. It’s not worth it. Getting arrested for drunk driving will hurt you financially and you will lose your driver’s license. You can go to jail. Musikfest has set up Uber pickup sites and drop off locations throughout the festival area. If you feel you are a little buzzed or impaired to drive, please call a taxi, a friend, or Uber. Please do not hurt yourself or anyone else by driving drunk. Again, please drink responsibly and do not drink and drive. We don’t want to see anyone get hurt.
DRIVING AROUND THE MUSIKFEST AREA
In the ten days of Musikfest, approximately one million visitors come to Bethlehem. Bethlehem normally has a population of approximately 80,000 people, plus two major Universities, Industrial Parks, Hospitals and the Sands Casino Complex which brings public safety agencies daily service population to approximately 100,000 people.
During Musikfest, areas of the city do get congested with traffic and pedestrians. Please show courtesy and have patience toward others. Many people will be walking to and from venues. We do not want to see anyone get hit and/or injured in car accidents. Slow down, get off your cell phone, don’t text and drive, pay attention to your surroundings and drive carefully. There will be officers out directing traffic at certain spots around Musikfest. You can also check the Musikfest website. On their site are maps of the north and south sides venues, parking areas, bus stops, etc.
PARKING AND TRANSPORTATION
We all know that a challenging issue when coming to any city is finding a “legal” parking space. We all want to park right next to where we want to go, get out of our vehicle and walk 5 feet into our favorite Platz. Well, that usually does not happen and we ALL know that.
Every year, I ask city council to pass a resolution making the immediate area around Musikfest on the Northside and Southside of the city a “Special Regulation Parking Event Zone.” Parking fines in the Special Regulation Area around Musikfest are increased during the 10 days of the festival.
OK … it’s my fault … blame me for the higher fines. And yes, if I hand out more than 50 tickets my wife gets a toaster … Well, we do this every year because during the 10 days of Musikfest, the year-round residents of Bethlehem in this area are subjected to some of the most bizarre parking behaviors ever seen in the 275 years of Bethlehem’s existence, or even human history. Over the years before increased fines, we would receive calls of cars parked in front yards, in people’s garages, on sidewalks, on railroad tracks (very bad … had cars hit by trains), on top of flowers and shrubbery, and so on and so on. Some people just don’t care where they park. Please remember; we do.
Musikfest has satellite parking lots on the north side and south side for your convenience. There is also a loop shuttle between the Northside and Southside. Please go on the Musikfest website under “Directions and Parking” and read the information provided by Musikfest to assist you.
When you are driving around looking for a parking space, please be considerate of others when you choose a space. If you are coming from out of the area, the best solution is to use one of the Musikfest satellite parking areas. These lots have bus transportation to the festival. These parking areas can be located by going on the Musikfest website. By the way, all the information you need to have a great time at Musikfest 2017 is on this great website. Please access the website for all your needs and concerns.
Musikfest Website : Musikfest.org (See “INFO”, then “directions & parking.”)
If you are in town, the Bethlehem Parking Authority has many lots (Walnut Street, North Street and others) that are available and convenient. These parking areas can be accessed by going to the BPA website or contacting them. In short, there are many close, convenient, legal places to park your car.
Bethlehem Parking Authority Website : bethpark.org (See “Event Parking”)
Again, please be considerate when parking and respect other’s property. Do not block driveways or obstruct traffic. You will get a ticket and probably towed. Consider it this way … how would you like to come home and find your driveway blocked, or a car parked on your grass in your front yard, or in your flower bed.
*NOTE – Some parking lots in the city are posted private property parking lots. Please do not park in these lots without permission from the owner.
PETS AND ANIMALS
A question that everyone asks every year is “Can I bring my dog (or cat) to Musikfest.” My usual answer is, “I don’t know because I don’t know what type of music your dog (or cat) likes” or “I don’t know. Why don’t you ask your dog (or cat) if he wants to come with you to Musikfest.”
Only kidding. Pets are not permitted in any Musikfest Platz. It’s a safety issue for citizens and also a safety issue for your pet. It gets crowded and very hot sometimes. Some dogs are very small and may get stepped on in a crowd. Some dogs are very big and may step on a small person in a crowd. We don’t want anyone or your pet to get injured. If you love your pet, leave your pet at home. I suggest, leaving a radio on with his favorite music, or favorite TV show, a bowl of cold water, lower the lights, put your dog or cat’s favorite smoking jacket on them, and your dog or cat will probably be very happy. If your pet is like my pet, he or she will be sound asleep within five minutes of you leaving, of course on your bed not theirs, and will not wake up until you get home.
If you do come to Musikfest with your pet, do not leave your pet in your car. It is summer time and the interior of vehicles get very hot. Doing this may injure or even kill your pet, and possibly open you up to criminal charges. So please, for your pet’s safety, leave your pet at home.
We all know that drones are the new “in thing.” Well they are not an “in thing” here. If you arrive carrying or flying your drone, you will be an “out thing.” Drones are not permitted on the festival grounds. As a matter of fact, drones are not permitted in the air above the festival. Federal law prohibits drones to be flown within a five-mile radius of the ABE Airport (controlled airspace) and also no operating directly over people. If you are caught, you will be prosecuted by the FAA. So, stay on the ground, have a drink and enjoy the music like everyone else.
SMOKING, LARGE BAGS, BACKPACKS, BIKES, SKATEBOARDS, LIONS, TIGERS & BEARS…OH MY……Sorry, forgot what I was doing for a moment…..
This is not an anti-smoking ad. It’s your choice to smoke or not. All we ask is that you respect others and follow the smoking rules posted in tented areas, indoor venues and the Steel Stage seating areas.
Riding bikes, skateboards, hoverboards, roller blades, duct taping wheels to your feet, are prohibited within the festival grounds. We don’t want you to run into anyone. We know you are very talented and want everyone to see that. But please, don’t show us at Musikfest. The City has a great Skatepark on the Southside where you can roller blade, skateboard, hoverboard in until the cows come home. By the way, the cows usually come home at dusk, so it’s open till then each day.
A complete listing of all the 2017 rules can be found on the Musikfest website. They are simple common sense rules. Nothing new. Just look under festival rules and Musikfest Code of Conduct. The rules are basically simple…..don’t be irresponsible, have a good time, and respect others as you would want them to respect you.
Musikfest concerts are GREAT and some people try to sneak into paid concerts. Please don’t. Musikfest personnel are very well trained at detecting this. They know all the tricks, all the sad stories, all the excuses. “I had to leave…., my friend has my ticket…., I got a call from the President…., dog ate my homework….., I’m not from here”….they just don’t cut it. They have heard them all over the past 34 years. So, please don’t try it.
When at a concert, please remember there are people “sitting” around you. You may think it is cool to stand and scream “I love you” to the band. The people behind you may not. Remember, everyone is there to enjoy the show. Please respect others sitting around you. If you go to the Musikfest website under Festival rules, please read the rules on cameras and selfie sticks.
HISTORIC, PRIVATE PROPERTY & NOISE
Part of Musikfest is located in our Historic Downtown Bethlehem. We are an old town. “Washington slept here” … and that’s true! Certain historic areas are posted with No Trespassing signs. Please respect our Historic sites. When walking to and from Musikfest, please remember that people live in the area around the venues. These are neighborhoods. Do not walk through their yards, throw garbage in their yards, pass out on their sofas, swim in their pools or destroy anyone’s property. These are a NO-NO and will get your arrested.
When walking home, also remember that many people work in the morning and they might be asleep. They don’t want to hear you yelling about how much you love your girlfriend or boyfriend, singing or shouting with “Joy” (or whatever her name is). If you want to sing out loud, please audition for next year’s Musikfest and yes, maybe you will be one of the acts on stage at Steel Stacks … or maybe NOT. Respect others privacy and quietly walk home. Thank You
FINAL NOTE … FINALLY …
Musikfest is one of America’s largest outdoor Music Festivals and great fun for everyone. Hopefully this message will help you understand the rules and proper behavior at Musikfest. Please drink responsibly and act responsibly. Please be courteous and respectful to others. Please remember the rights of others and that people come to Musikfest to simply relax and have a good time. If you understand that and respect others, the only time you will have contact with a Bethlehem Police Officer is when you ask him or her directions to the next venue or where a good Platz to eat or drink at is.
On behalf of the City of Bethlehem Police Department and all its Officers, Personnel and 911 Staff, and Pharaoh, George, Asa, and Grey, our Police Horses working Musikfest, we hope your visit to the City of Bethlehem and Musikfest is a very enjoyable one. Enjoy yourself and be safe. See you at Musikfest.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
City of Bethlehem