February 11, 2010

Cornell Police Prepare for an Influx of ‘Deadheads’

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When Furthur arrives on campus Sunday for a concert in Barton Hall, the Grateful Dead’s loyal following of “Deadheads” is expected to arrive as well. Cornell Police are concerned that large numbers of Deadheads may arrive without tickets and try to break into campus buildings for warmth and conduct other illegal activities. The police plan to increase patrols and take other security measures around campus in response to the expected crowds this weekend, CUPD Chief Kathy Zoner said.

“Generally, it’s a pretty large crowd that follows the band around,” Zoner said. “We had a big problem with trespass and illegal activities the last time [Grateful Dead band members] came to campus.”

Zoner said she does not know how many Deadheads to expect on Sunday, but “we had quite a non-ticketage crowd” when Grateful Dead members last performed at Cornell.

Sunday is the first time Furthur, which was founded in 2009 by original Grateful Dead members Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, has performed at Cornell. The Grateful Dead first came to Cornell in 1977, when they performed their famous “Barton Hall ’77” concert. The band returned in 1980 and 1981, according to the Ithaca Times.

This weekend, in addition to break-ins by fans, the police expect drug and alcohol violations, Zoner said.

“There will be an increased [police] presence on campus, and we’ll be patrolling inside the concert and outside,” she said. Zoner declined to discuss any other security measures the police are planning for the event.

Cornell Police Sgt. Philip Mospan sent an email to campus building coordinators yesterday advising them to be “extra vigilant in securing [their] buildings” this weekend to prevent fans from breaking in.

“Our concern is that this particular group of fans will set up camp wherever they can and will certainly avail themselves to the warmth of any open building,” Mospan said in the email. “Even if they do not have tickets to the venue, they will still come in the hopes of gaining access to the concert, and they will be seeking shelter from the elements over the weekend.”

Original Author: Michael Linhorst