Treasure Island drum circle regulars worried about arrests and regulations listen07/06/12 Janelle Irwin
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Drum enthusiasts who flock to Treasure Island on Sunday nights might be facing more regulations. City officials are already beefing up police presence at the weekly drum circle.
According to Treasure Island city manager Reid Silverboard, participation at the long-time drum circle gathering has soared to more than 400 people over the past month and it’s starting to cause problems. He said that forced the city to increase police presence in the area.
“Generally there hasn’t been an issue with the drum circle participants themselves. It has been since school has been out we’ve really had some issues with some of the younger people coming in.”
He said teens celebrating summer vacation have landed themselves in trouble for underage drinking and by getting into fights. He added, they’ve also had issues with possible gang activity. Silverboard wants people to know those infractions will not be tolerated.
“Those types of things, if they do occur and when they occur, we typically will arrest and take those people to the Pinellas County jail.”
One drum circle participant told WMNF News he counted 20 police cars at a recent event. The group will gather again this Sunday around dusk until 10 pm. The stop time is regulated by a current city ordinance. Some people are worried that the city’s concerns could lead to more regulations. D.J. Palumbo started a change.org petition to keep Treasure Island from requiring permits for the event.
“Well, there was an article in the newspaper recently and their lawyer said they really can’t stop people from gathering but they can try and pass a permit law to carry an instrument on the beach. That is to discourage people coming out and playing together. So, that is being used as a tactic. He doesn’t want us there.”
As of today more than 900 people have signed the petition. But Silverboard said nothing is officially on the table yet.
“The Commission may be looking at reducing those hours to some extent and quite frankly, that is one of the things our city attorney is looking at – what, if any, other things can be done to try and ensure that the drum circle is not a burden to the taxpayers of Treasure Island.”
The Treasure Island City Commission will meet on July 17. The city attorney, Maura Kiefer, is expected to present some possible regulations for officials to consider. The change.org petition called Sunday Drum Fun Without Permits asks on supporters of the event to attend that meeting.
Here's video from YouTube of police presence at last Sunday's (1 July 2012) drum circle. It was filmed by a participant named Nick Dubya: