As reported by the Santa Barbara Independent (you can read Kelsey Brugger's words here), last night Mac DeMarco was detained by UCSB police during a concert at the hub for climbing the rafters after crowd surfing. Apparently he climbed to a second level and was detained as he was coming down the stairs. The police didn't even know that he was the performer. Amazingly, the police were on stage shining flashlights into the audience 10 minutes into the concert. I know as of late a lot of artists and concert attendees have been objecting to all the cell phone cams detracting from the concert experience well police shining flashlights in your face is about 900 buhzillion times worse. According to the aforementioned article there is speculation that the police were looking for people smoking pot. Whaaaaat???
This is the thing. The actions of the police in this situation was the problem. At indie venues every night across the country, kids mosh, band members crowd surf and YES hang from rafters or climb on unsteady PA speakers. Kids smoke some pot too. Usually crowds at indie shows do a good job of regulating themselves. If crowd surfers get out of hand the bands shame them. If moshers get too pushy the crowd calms the situation. No police, no moms or dads needed.
This whole story is even more disturbing after all the recent stories about the increase in sexual assaults and rape at UCSB. Comments by concert goers seem to indicate that the armed police presence was severe including one officer wearing a bullet proof vest. I would only hope that UCSB police would use their resources, would shine their flashlights during campus patrols to heighten their presence in general to make the campus safe for real crimes as opposed to unruly moshers at an indie concert.
The last time I saw Mac DeMarco was at Burgerama 3 back in March. This festival had around 70 bands and a huge police presence by the Orange County Police Department. The OC police are no nonsense kind of scary dudes and to their credit did not over step their boundaries. Their mission their was to keep the peace. At all the stages people moshed, crowd surfed and their was copious amounts of pot smoke in the air. To my knowledge their were no obvious arrests. No polices on stage shining flashlights. No police being bullies. They kept their presence to a minimum and did their job. Obviously, crowd control for thousands is a different animal than for hundred but clearly the UCSB police overstepped their bounds. Their presence on UCSB didn't make anyone feel safer, they just aggravated a lot of people who otherwise would of enjoyed some killer music and Mac DeMarco's antics.