Mixfest Marred By Overcrowding, New Security Measures
Published: Monday, September 16, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 16, 2013 13:09
Hosted by radio station Mix 104.1 and celebrating its 20th year, Mixfest 2013 had all the makings of a promising performance: nostalgia, open air, and no cover charge. The DCR Hatch Shell hosted three headlining acts, with Alex Preston—a 20-year-old from New Hampshire who won Mix104.1’s “15 Seconds of Fame” contest—opening the show.
Gavin DeGraw, a MixFest alum, followed Alex’s set with The Backstreet Boys and Of Monsters and Men taking the stage afterward, respectively. Though the clouds rolled in, the wind picked up, and the air turned brisk, the concert, which began at 4 p.m., attracted a lot of hype and attention, drawing eager crowds ecstatic to see big name musicians for the price of some fried dough and a soda. Mixfest proved to be a huge disappointment, however, to many a fan as the heightened security at the venue made the show almost entirely exclusive for those who managed to make the 1 p.m. opening time.
In comparison to last year’s Mixfest, many spectators were bewildered to see security lines, bag searches, and access to the main seating area limited to only a certain number of people. Large bags were not allowed into the Esplanade at all and a significant number of state policemen patrolled the grounds and guarded the various gates into the lawns in the front of the Shell. After the lawns had reached their “limit” (which happened around 2 p.m., still two hours before the start time), the main section was closed off completely, with numerous confusedconcertgoers saving seats for latecomers crowding around the gates hoping to barter their friends inside to no avail. No notice was given to the limited lawn seating and the guffaws and disgruntled grumblings of the now disheartened fans could be heard all around.
Although the Esplanade was open for seating as well, its location obscured the view of the Shell and transformed the music into a cacophonous swirl of bass and muffled words. Although a good number stuck around and grabbed the closest spots they could find, there was a noticeable trail of people exiting the park, choosing to spend their time elsewhere in the city.
When asked if a comment could be made about the heightened security measures this Mixfest, a policeman could only turn questioners away as they were not allowed to share any information on the subject. Such increased measures are taken with the best interests in mind. After the events of the past Marathon and the week that followed, it can only be seen that security tightens up everywhere, especially at a free event featuring popular musicians. It was only much to the dismay of thousands of eager attendees to be turned away at an event that has always been known for its open and easy-going atmosphere.