Zac Brown Concert Raises Concern for Underage Drinking

Hartford police are preparing for traffic and anticipate a lot of drinking at Thursday’s Zac Brown Band concert at the XFINITY Theatre.

Hartford police are warning drivers to expect heavy traffic during the evening rush hour. The backup, police said, will affect I-91 and I-84, so give yourself plenty of time to get there.

Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley said around 25,000 people are expected for the show, which begins at 8 p.m. at the XFINITY Theatre on Savitt Way. The parking lot opens at 4 p.m., and other area lots open even earlier.

With good weather in the forecast and a near sold-out show, police have a warning for parents.

"If you have underagers, coming to the concert, teenagers without any adult supervision… there is so much alcohol out there. They will find it and they will take it and use it," Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley said.

Foley said police plan to up the number of officers on the street and anticipates a lot of arrests as well as a lot of kids being taken to the hospital.

This year police have seen a spike in underage concert drinking. Twenty-nine individuals were arrested for underage drinking and 30 sent to the hospital for alcohol poisoning at the Sam Hunt concert earlier this year. At the Dierks Bentley and Future concerts multiple underage individuals were arrested and hospitalized, police said.

Doctors at Hartford hospitals expect to see some patients tonight.

"They have no experience and typically little to no tolerance, so they go way overboard to the point of vomiting, not uncommonly losing consciousness," said Dr. John Brancato of Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

Police said they will be out in force making referrals for underage drinking to community court and crews will be prepared to ship anyone off the the hospital that needs it.

"The most important thing is to be wary of the risks, a little bit fearful frankly… You want the child to be not afraid to call and ask for a ride and seek help," Brancado said.

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