Kenny Chesney Concert in Photos: 37 Hospitalized & 48 Tons of Garbage

This is not a post-apocalyptic future you’d see in a Mad Max movie. It’s worse… It’s real.

Statistics so far:

A mysterious benefactor gifted Jekko a ticket to the concert. I knew getting into the parking lot turned thunder-dome would be easy, but getting out unscathed would be the hard part. It requires a lot of effort not to spook the herd of 40,000 migratory Chesney fans that flocked to Pittsburgh’s North Side. I fitted up with bland cargo shorts and a non-descriptive short sleeve plaid shirt. I took a small camera, my Olympus OM-D EM-5, for it could be easily hidden when the time came.

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The first tailgating tribe we encountered had a particular affinity for their version of water they called, “Bud Light”. They mentioned their tribe was part of a larger one called ‘Murica. You could recognize by their American Flag hats, shirts, and butt tattoos.  But in all seriousness now…kenny-chesney-pittsburgh-fans-8

American Tail Gating is a weird culture where truck beds become porches for miniature barbecues. Most people were kind enough to share food and drinks given the excess they brought. It’s that excess, and no clear plan to clean up, that turned the parking lots into trash heaps. Thus as the day went on, two things grew: piles of trash and blood alcohol content.

Fights would break out around the lots every fifteen minutes.  The first one had an impassioned fellow screaming, “I’ll kill you. I’ll kill your family. I’ll end your kin.” From what I gathered this was over a stolen beer. The second fight I ran into was aimless like the punches thrown. After they were broken up, one turned on me saying, “You don’t photograph the fucking loser.”

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Shortly afterward, I was gifted a fifth of Jack Daniels. I wound up sharing it with train hoppers who swapped stories of the rails. We then swapped the Jack Daniels for some mushrooms they harvested from the woods. Then I traded up for a cooler full of beer in which I’d pick up after the show.

I headed inside. #Music. I left a bit early.

Shadowy characters wander the parking lot as the music roars over the stadium’s bleachers. Intoxicated fans struggled to walk straight lines.  As I retrieve my bartered cooler, I noticed two other characters. Two men in their forties. They didn’t have a bottle opener and were trying to smash it open against a railing.  I offered them some of my cans instead. I asked them about life. We talked about North Side for a bit. Then after dodging questions they alluded to that they were stealing, ‘just beer’, from unattended vehicles.

We parted ways and they left with a suggestion, “Stay safe out there.”

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