A new bill would allow people under the age of 21 to attend music festivals in Wisconsin without issue.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Rob Summerfield, R-Bloomer, and Sen. Terry Moulton, R-Chippewa Falls, and would impact festivals on private grounds throughout the state that have more than 2,500 attendees, which includes Country Fest, Country Jam, Blue Ox and Eaux Claires, Nathan Duerkop, Moulton’s chief of staff, said.
Moulton recognized the state Department of Revenue was going to start enforcing this year that no one under the age of 21 could be on festival private grounds unless a parent or guardian was present at the event, Summerfield said.
“What this legislation is doing is making sure what has been happening in music festivals on private grounds in Wisconsin will continue … and [people under the age of 21] will be able to continue attending,” Duerkop said.
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Without the bill, music festivals would have to choose between responsibly selling alcohol or sacrificing the “essential” attendance young adults provide, Moulton said.
Northern Wisconsin festivals bring in a total of $40 million, which account for more than 10 percent of total yearly visitor spending in the Chippewa Valley alone, Moulton said in a statement. The ability for young adults to attend these festivals has a significant impact on the economy.
It was important to get this bill introduced quickly, because festival season is approaching, Duerkop said.
“The essential economic boost of not only these events, but similar events throughout the state, will be endangered without a modification to state law which will allow the festivals to continue to operate as they have done for decades in connection with alcohol sales,” Moulton said.
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The bill is now on its way to the Senate. Both Summerfield and Duerkop said it should not have trouble passing.