"This is something that I'm very concerned about," Haslam
said. "We want everyone to have a good time at Sundown, but
we are not going to allow underage drinking on Market Square or
Captain Rausch added, "This is a serious issue and one we
intend to address swiftly and aggressively. Our officers will take
a zero tolerance approach to anyone who is underage and is caught
Beginning with tonight's show additional officers, both uniformed
and in plainclothes, will be present at Sundown. Underage drinkers
will be arrested and transported to jail.
Anyone caught supplying alcohol to an underage person will also
"These are great shows and we all have a good time at Sundown
and this is not going to change that," Haslam said. "But
we're seeing this trend toward more underage drinkers showing up
at Market Square and we want to stop it before it becomes a problem
and before someone gets hurt."
A.C. Entertainment is supportive of the city's plans and has created
a program called "Sober at Sundown."
The grassroots campaign includes outreach to area middle and high
schools as well as the University of Tennessee campus.
Anyone under 21 who pledges not to engage in underage drinking
receives a Sober at Sundown button or t-shirt, and is eligible for
rewards ranging from concert tickets to merchandise.
Sundown in the City performers have recorded public service announcements
aimed at reducing underage drinking, which are currently airing
on WUTK 90.3 and WMYU 93.1.
The increased police presence will be in place for each of the
remaining Sundown performances this season.