Connecticut summer concerts 2016
Updated 9:53 am, Friday, May 20, 2016
Summer concert season in southwestern Connecticut will be a bit different this year. Fans of two of the area's most-anticipated events will see big changes: Alive@Five in Stamford is only admitting people over the age of 21 and Gathering of the Vibes in Bridgeport is not even happening his year.
There are still plenty of concerts to enjoy, though. Click through the slideshow above to see.
Alive@Five is not teen friendly anymore; all guests must be at least 21 years old.
"We do not do this lightly," said Sandy Goldstein, executive director of the DSSD. "This is a major change in the concert. It's going to upset a lot of young people who love the concerts and love the music, but it's something we know we have to do."
Goldstein said that while 9 out of 10 youths aren't problematic, the other 10 percent cause trouble.
"I love the youngsters at the event - especially the ones from Stamford," she said. "Unfortunately, the ones that come from out of town - not all of them - view it as an event to drink and come into the concert in not very good shape."
Stamford Police Chief Jonathan Fontneau said last summer's underage drinking problems are well documented.
When Sister Hazel played in August, for example, almost 10 youths were either brought to the hospital or had to be picked up by their parents. The week before that, a total of 27 youths were held in a "drunk tent" or taken to the hospital after an Andy Grammer performance.
Gathering of the Vibes will not return to Bridgeport this year.
"Producing the Vibes as an independent promoter is a challenging endeavor," Ken Hayes said. "And honestly, after 20 amazing years, we need a time out."
And while the online statement promised a "triumphant return" in 2017, Hays said in a later interview that a comeback might not mean going back to Seaside Park in Bridgeport.
While the Vibes' current, five-year contract with the city would conclude after 2017's festival, Hays said, "The venue for 2017 is definitely in question."
In 1996, Hays, a Grateful Dead fan and businessman, and local promoter Bob Kennedy launched the festival to celebrate the music of the iconic band following the death in 1995 of frontman Jerry Garcia.
Fans who had long followed the Dead, traveling from show to show, were looking to gather and celebrate Garcia's life and legacy. First held at SUNY Purchase in New York, the Vibes became a memorial, a celebration and a reunion all at once.
While the venues have changed, over the years the Vibes has become most synonymous with Bridgeport. Hays noted that he has worked with three mayors since first coming to town in 1999 — Joe Ganim, John Fabrizi and two-term departing Mayor Bill Finch.