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Tailgating ban at Jiffy Lube Live sparks Facebook boycott

Friday - 5/20/2011, 4:43pm  ET

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Jason Aldean's concert is the first at Jiffy Lube Live to have the ban. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)
BRISTOW, Va. - A new ban on tailgating at Jiffy Lube Live has sparked a Facebook-based boycott.

The "Boycott Jiffy Lube Live Tailgating Policy" page started by Chris Gellner has drawn more than 6,100 "likes" on the social media site. The effort comes after owners of the pavilion announced a tailgating ban along with a "no tolerance" alcohol policy.

Since 2009, four people have died in drunk driving crashes after leaving the venue. But Gellner says banning alcohol outside the amphitheater isn't going to solve the problem.

"I don't know where they're talking about being safe," he says. "Alcohol's still going to happen inside, and people are still going to drive home drunk."

The Facebook page and accompanying boycott asks patrons to forgo buying beer or any alcoholic drinks inside Jiffy Lube Live.

Gellner also says tailgating isn't just about drinking: He met his girlfriend in the venue's parking lot last year.

"They've got 6,000 customers right now telling them what they should want to hear, and that's, 'Tailgating is a big part'" of the concert experience, Gellner says.

Jeremiah Xenakis, a spokesman for Live Nation -- the company that owns and operates Jiffy Lube Live -- says the ban follows a review of operations and input from the community and law enforcement.

He also notes that state law prohibits drinking in public and public intoxication.

"The policy is in place for the safety and courtesy of all of our guests," Xenakis says an an email to WTOP. "We are committed to promoting a fun, friendly and safe environment for our fans to enjoy the shows at Jiffy Lube Live while also observing everyone's obligation to comply with the public drinking laws."

Xenakis says there are no plans to change or eliminate the new ban, but that Live Nation understands "how upset fans are about the policy change."

"We especially appreciate some of the alternative ideas fans are proposing and we will continue to discuss solutions that make sure fans continue to have a fun and safe concert experience at our venue," he says.

Enforcing the ban will be up to staff at the pavilion, who will ask anyone violating the rules to stop or leave. Prince William County Police Maj. Steve Hudson says police will be there if they are needed.

"If they won't desist in what they are doing, and they continue to refuse, police will be brought in and they could be charged with trespassing," he says.

Police Chief Charlie Deane says in the past they have warned people, made arrests and set up drunk driving checkpoints, but nothing seemed to work. Deane says he is glad the owners of the pavilion made the decision.

Country singer Jason Aldean's sold-out show on Saturday will be the first to take place under the new ban. Those coming to the concert also will not be allowed to set up pop-up tents or portable grills in parking lot before the show.

WTOP's Thomas Warren and Hank Silverberg contributed to this report. Follow Hank and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All rights reserved.)