Bonnaroo 2018 is from June 7 through Sunday, June 10th. It is the music festival’s 17th anniversary here in middle Tennessee.
We are expecting bigger crowds than ever this year, and probably the same number of arrests and citations issued.
Every year there are reports of police aggressively patrolling campers on site, and traveling in and out of Great Stage Park, also known as “the farm”. We get calls on a wide range of drug charge citations, DUI arrests, and other offenses.
Since 2015, the DA’s office in Coffee County has required a mandatory court appearance for all criminal citations written. You can’t just pay a fine and forget about it. You will need to return for a court appearance with an attorney. In 2015, hundreds of citations were written by law enforcement, including the Tennessee State Police, sheriff’s deputies, and the Manchester Police Department.
In 2016, arrests (and overall festival attendance) was down a bit.
The final tally on the farm was 277 criminal citations and 37 arrests by the Coffee County Sheriff’sDepartmentt. Other law enforcement departments such as the Manchester Police Department, the Tullahoma PD and the Tennessee Highway Patrol also made arrests. While police citations started at a record pace, it doesn’t look like it was a record year overall. Most of the citations were for drug possession for Molly, Ecstasy, and LSD.
There was one major arrest on the grounds by alleged serious dealers that were said to be in possession of:
“… 202 jars of THC oil, weighing about 15 milliliters; two bags of mushrooms, weighing about 7 grams each; three bags with about 60 panes of blotter acid; 241 bags of about 120.5 grams of what is believed to be Ketamine; 22 bags of a white powdery substance weighing about 144.5 grams of what is believed to be cocaine; six Xanax bars; and 220 bags weighing about 1,210 grams of a green plantlike material believed to be marijuana.”
The other individual “was found to be in possession of six bottles containing 15 milliliters of THC oil; 10 bags of a green plantlike material weighing about 20 grams believed to be marijuana; two grams of a white powdery substance believed to be cocaine; four Molly capsules; 14 bags of a crystal substance weighing about 14 grams of a substance believed to be Molly; and 13 bags of a powdery substance weighing about 13 grams believed to be Ketamine.”
If you are arrested or given a criminal citation by the police, don’t panic. We can help. Very often we can work it out so you avoid a criminal record. Call us now at (888) 622-4510.
I Got a Ticket for Drug Possession (or other charges). Is that Serious?
For minor charges, we can often take care of them without a big penalty, but you can’t ignore it, or it absolutely can turn into a huge problem. Especially with the recent procedure changes by the Coffee County district attorneys.
What if I can’t absolutely can’t make it to the court date?
We can cover the first court date for you, but you will have to appear at the second date. We can talk about options to make this more flexible.
Do Cops Target Bonnaroo Concertgoers?
Sometimes, yes. Especially the local cops on back roads in and out of the farm. If your car is decked out with decorations making it obvious that you are headed to the festival, you can make yourself a target.
If you have out of state plates, Bonnaroo signs, and a marijuana leaf logo on your car, the police will come up with any possible excuse to pull you over.
- Don’t speed, and obey all traffic laws.
- Make sure your vehicle is in compliance with all safety regulations, inspection stickers, working tail lights, not too much tint on the windows, whatever it takes to not give them any reason to stop you on the road.
While on on-site at the festival, there are lots of police too, of course. There will be undercover cops in plain clothes looking for drug sales and making arrests, as well as writing citations.
How We Can Help You Fix This:
Our goal for minor misdemeanor citation charges is to:
- avoid a criminal conviction on your record, and
- get your problem solved in one day.
If you are concerned about your future, avoiding the negative impact of a criminal record can be of primary importance. And if you traveled to Bonnaroo from out of state and got in trouble with the law, coming back to middle Tennessee for a court appearance can be a real hassle.
We can talk about how to minimize both these problems in a quick legal consultation over the phone.
Is Bonnaroo a Big Deal?
It is a huge local event, yes. We are privileged to have one of the premier music festivals in the country right here in Tennessee. Bonnaroo is truly a world-renowned 4-day music and arts festival in rural Manchester, attracting over 100,000 fans.
Bonnaroo will attract thousands of people to the area, ready to relax, enjoy some music, and have a good time. But the music festival and surrounding area will also attract a lot of extra law enforcement. And though there won’t be as many cops as festival-goers, you can bet they’ll be out en masse, looking for reasons to break up the party.
Visitors to the festival arrive in the area days and weeks before the event. Coffee County (Manchester, on the farm) transforms into a massive city during Bonnaroo.
The surrounding areas of Rutherford County (Murfreesboro), Putnam County (Cookeville) Dickson County, White County (Sparta), Van Buren County (Spencer) and Summer County (Gallatin) will have extra officers patrolling the area, 24 hours a day for the week before and after. Interstate 24 will have patrol cars everywhere for a 10-mile radius.
Even during the weeks before the event, police will be out looking for travelers committing traffic violations, or causing any disruptions or trouble.
In years past, dozens of people have been arrested at the festival and coming and going from the festival. Usually, they are charged with drug offenses—marijuana possession is the most common, and there will certainly be people with ecstasy/molly or mushrooms to enhance their musical experience.
And while drug use at Bonnaroo is against the rules, they are decent enough to have a “no questions ask policy” at the medical tents. So if you do have a medical problem, definitely don’t let any drug use stop you from getting medical help.
If you are having an issue or a reaction, get to the medical tents!
You want to have a good time and you want to go home without a record when it’s over. Avoiding arrest is your best bet. While the knee-jerk response to, “How can I avoid arrest at Bonnaroo?” is “don’t bring drugs,” we all know that advice isn’t realistic for some.
Avoiding Arrest at Bonnaroo
The best way to avoid contact with the police at any time is to not give them any excuse to pull you over. In other words, make sure your vehicle doesn’t set off any red flags. Of course, you can’t change your out-of-state tags, but you can make sure your headlights work and you obey the speed limit and traffic laws.
If you drink (or smoke pot) and drive, you can expect to get pulled over and the smell of alcohol or weed will be justification to search your car and possibly arrest you. In other words, don’t do it. Have your party at the festival, not while you are en route.
If you are pulled over by police, be polite and follow the officer’s orders to hand over your license, registration, etc. Being defensive and rude will only aggravate the officer, and like a dog, aggravating them will only make your time of things more difficult.
However, if you are pulled over or questioned, know your rights:
- You do not have to consent to a search of your vehicle. If they ask, say no.
- If you are being cited for a traffic offense, ask for your ticket. The police cannot continue to hold you indefinitely without reason.
- Be polite about it, it can really help.
- If the police seem to be holding you, ask, “Am I being detained?” If not, you are free to leave.
- You do not have to answer questions. If the officer seems to be questioning you, you can ask for an attorney.
What to Do If you Are Arrested
In previous years, we have represented dozens of clients who were issued citations for simple possession and other offenses.
The good news is that in many cases, we can settle the case in one day, and keep it off of your criminal record.
Give us a call right away and find out how we can help.