'Blackout Parties' Draw Inebriated Students, Police and Ambulances

Barstool Blackout parties draw inebriated students, police and ambulances.

ByABC News
March 30, 2012, 4:27 PM

April 3, 2012— -- When 24 young adults were hospitalized for intoxication at a dance party in upscale Montclair, N.J., last week, the promoters of the party, the Barstool Blackout Tour, added another blemish to their record of alcohol-fueled party events.

The party, which bills itself as a laser-light and electronic dance music show, is part of a 40-city concert tour created by Barstool U, a website geared toward young men with content focusing on sports and pictures of women.

More than 2,500 young adults - many of them students from nearby Montclair State University - arrived at the venue sporting neon outfits and, according to Montclair police, high levels of intoxication.

Police quickly decided to cancel the event as they watched thousands of inebriated people pushing and shouting to get into the theater, according to Police Chief David Sabagh. As police tried to disperse the crowds, they transported two dozen individuals to hospitals for alcohol-related illnesses, he said.

"We made the determination to shut it down, and then deployed ambulances. People started fighting with the police, so there were a half-dozen arrests, and 24 people hospitalized. Most cases were, apparently, young females passed out or who had fallen because of their level of intoxication," Sabagh said.

Barstool has had problems like the one in Montclair in the past. In Huntington, N.Y., earlier in March, a Barstool Blackout show was canceled at 11:30 p.m., seven arrests were made, and nine individuals were treated, many for alcohol-related incidences.

Boston police made one arrest and sent an undisclosed number to the hospital for alcohol poisoning during a March show, and more than 300 fake IDs were confiscated by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission during a February party.

The Blackout Tour, which Barstool U created for the 2011-2012 school year, is named for the black light portion of the show, and not the act of getting "black out drunk," according to its founder Dave Portnoy. The tour travels to cities and college towns on the East Coast and in the Midwest, including Lehigh and East Stroudsburgh,Pa., Charlotte, N.C., Chicago and Detroit.

"Almost no drinking is happening at it. It's a terrible bar night," Portnoy told ABCNews.com. "It's not like you're out at a bar for a typical night or a concert. It's high energy fast music. From when the show starts to when the show ends, nobody moves, it's just dancing the entire time. It's not conducive to holding a beer or drinking during the concert."

A search on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, however, shows that drinking and Barstool Blackout events seem to go hand-in-hand.

Twitter user @MackFreedman wrote, "Schedule for today: pump the biceps, consume as much alcohol as possible, listerine to the face...#barstoolblackout" ahead of a concert in Boston on Saturday.

Another, @SallyF1190, wrote, "200th tweet goes out to not remembering #barstoolblackout beginsssss.....now"

The official Barstool Blackout Tour page for Northeastern University on Facebook warns guests to "be quiet, don't have bottles, and look as sober as possible," while waiting in line to enter.

Portnoy, however, said his company and the Blackout Tour have little to do with drinking.

"No, I haven't noticed (attendees drinking heavily). I'm sure there's a few kids that drink before hand, but it's no different than any other concert or sporting event that goes on in the country. If people are going to pre-game, they're not doing it any differently," he said.