Friday, August 15, 2008

Alpine Valley

How does Alpine Valley stay in business? Alpine Valley holds nearly 36,000 people. There are VIP decks, lawn seating, and more. What is interesting to me is that there are so few shows each year. Sometimes, Alpine Valley may have only eight events for the entire summer. Half of those events might not sell out.

Live Nation has a great interactive venue map on their site. You can view seating charts, upcoming shows, and overhead maps.

Rumor has it that there is an undercover cop sitting on top of buildings in downtown East Troy. These guys look into people's cars and try to see if people have beer cans tucked in their laps.

These same guys will have someone on the street corner with a can in hand. They see a car pulling up to a stop light and tip their can as a toast. They hope to get the people in the car to reveal their cans and tip back. Then, those people are busted.

Other interesting traps would include the parking situation. If you think about it, there are not enough spaces for all the cars, if everyone came just two to a party. So if you show up late, you end up paying $25 to park in a farm field. Funny thing, the sign at the entrance to the farm lot may say $10, but once you get all the way to the person taking the money, it's $25 to park, and there is no way to turn around if you don't like the strong arm tactics.

So you paid $25 to park, you are a quarter mile from the venue, and you have your cooler full of beer. Don't even think about bringing it into the real lot. The border between private land and Alpine land is not marked. Some cops will give you a very friendly warning and let you know that you have to ditch the brew. Others may wait until you cross the line, and then give you a ticket.

So you are now in the venue and you are having a great time. The show ends, and now you are stuck in a massive traffic jam. You are joined by thousands of people from Wisconsin and Illinois, all trying to get the heck out of the woods.

I went to an Alpine show that ended at 11pm. It took 2.5 hours to get out of the lot, and another 45 minutes to drive the rest of the way back to Milwaukee. When I was a kid, my crappy Chevy overheated while waiting in line to get out of the parking lot. I paid $10 for a gallon of water and poured it into my radiator after the engine cooled down. Finally, after the hellish trip back home, I got busted for bringing my girlfriend home so late.

What do you want to take away from this? Don't drink and drive. Be ready to pay $25 to park in a field far, far away from the venue. Be careful when walking around with a can of beer. The most important thing to do is to leave before the final song. Give yourself a break and get out of there before the encore at least. Missing one or two songs will save you hours of headaches.

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