Amherst discusses future of Blarney Blowout

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – The Town of Amherst wants to make sure next year’s Blarney Blowout doesn’t end with more than 70 people being charged for disorderly, and in some cases, violent behavior.

Just last week dozens of college-age people were arraigned in court after a pre-St. Patrick’s gathering near UMass Amherst got out of control.

On Saturday March 8th, more than 4,000 college age people gathered at various off campus apartments near UMass Amherst in North Amherst. By the end of that day Amherst Police had arrested 55 people. About 30 of those were non-students or students from other schools.

The Amherst town Select Board met Monday to discuss the aftermath of the Blarney Blowout.

Town Manager John Musante gave a special report on the pre-St. Patrick’s Day gathering in North Amherst that quickly got out of control.

Musante told 22News because the annual gathering draws so many visitors, they are looking for new, more effective crowd control measures.

“Very much a community resolve that, despite all of our efforts, town and university and even some students, it’s not good enough,” said Musante. “And we have to double our efforts. Bystander intervention for example, students with students, you know, to discourage unruly behavior and crowd control.”

Police Chief Scott Livingstone told the town Select Board they want to make sure they have enough police officers next year to deal with a rowdy crowd of four to five thousand people.

“I’ve been a police officer in Amherst for over 30 years, and we’ve been dealing with these large scale disturbances for the last 15, 20 years,” said Livingstone. “We need to get to some sort of a resolution for manpower issues.”

Recently UMass Amherst hired former Boston Commissioner Ed Davis to take a look at crowd control measures as well.

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