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Brent Road Bash Busts: Light Attendance Fizzles Festivities

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RALEIGH — So far, so quiet on Brent Road. Compared to last year's big party, some are saying this year's bash is a bust.

It was supposed to be the party to end all parties. But as night fell Saturday on Brent Road, there was no music, no shouting and no rowdy partygoers. A sea of blue dampened what some called a potential powder keg.

Nearly 7,000 people converged to party on the residential street last year. Less than 500 partiers showed up in the early hours of this year's bash. There were just as many, if not more, Raleigh police officers patrolling the street.

"There's not too much going on," says partygoer Beau Mazoway. "I think it's mostly just locals sitting out, seeing what's going on."

Raleigh police flexed its muscle against out-of-hand partying this year. Officers put up "no parking" signs in a half-mile radius around Brent Road on Friday, and the SWAT team dropped in unannounced on some residents.

The price tag for keeping the party under control was between $150,000 to $175,000. City councilman Benson Kirkman says the cost was worth it.

Some partygoers believe the police presence was too constraining.

Bryan Kelly is a member of the band Water to Go. The band was planning to play at the party, Kelly says, observing a rule that the music must end by 11 p.m. Within 30 seconds of the band's first notes, police stepped in, ordering members to stop. Kelly, an N.C. State senior, says he was lied to.

"We've had one person in R.P.D. tell us one thing, and another person tell us another," he says. "We haven't had any disturbances or complaints...This is ridiculous. This is absolutely ridiculous."

Captain Mike Longmire of theRaleigh Police Departmentsays he does not care if people think he is trying to crash the party. He says Brent Road is not a party district.

Students who did not want to party on Brent Road had a bash of their own Saturday night.

N.C. State Universityhelped organize the first"Crossroads" event. The alcohol-free party had food, rides and music, all ending Sunday at 4 a.m.

A string of bands started playing around 8 p.m., with the nationally known band Tonic taking the stage at midnight.

The school hopes the beginning of "Crossroads" will spell the end of Brent Road.

"I am not really into the drinking scene," says student Natefa Wade. "I heard there were cops there. Anyway, I would rather have fun than getting arrested."

Kirkman says the city may have the same strict enforcement policy for several years to come.