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Walnut Creek Amphitheater Stands Behind 'No Alcohol' Policy

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RALEIGH — You pack up the car with a load of friends, food and beverages, but leave the spirits at home if you are heading toWalnut Creek. Picnicking is allowed, but alcohol is not, and people do not seem to be following the rules.

Thursday night Lauryn Hill grooved into town, and a lot of the fans arrived early to the concert as they often do before events. However, alcoholic beverages are not allowed for safety and business reasons.

Raymond McCall and his friend were law-abiding concertgoers. "That's always a positive thing," he said.

Walnut Creek Amphitheater officials want alcohol-free picnics like McCall's to be a parking lot signature. McCall agrees.

"It gets the whole evening started, just having fun, relaxing, talking to people as they walk along," he said.

However, discarded beer bottles in the parking lot mock a strict open container policy that is enforced.

Some concertgoers say the beer prices inside the Alltel Pavilion are too steep to pay. They tested the open container law with the risk of getting caught.

"You can check the drive, and specifically the driver, rather than trying to target the whole parking lot," says concertgoer Keith Smith.

The parking lot remains a target for security officers keeping tailgaters in check. Adrienne Parker would like to see the policy relaxed a bit.

"I think with the ticket prices being what they are, even at the lawn, you should be able to bring your own, and if you are not responsible then they should be able to ask you to leave," she said. "But until that point, you should be able to bring yours."

Do not expect any policy changes in the future. Walnut Creek officials say they are sticking by their open container policy, which is actually a city ordinance.