Dozens appear in court after mass arrests at weekend country music festival at Gillette Stadium
The charges ranged from being a minor in possession of alcohol to interfering with an arrest, but for most of the defendants, the charges will be dropped if they complete a diversion program by late November.
More than 100 people were arrested during the two-day event highlighted by country music star Kenny Chesney. Events at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough have resulted in several mass arrests in recent years, mostly of suds-soaked concertgoers.
Police have said another 466 people were taken into protective custody over the weekend.
About 27 defendants, most in their late teens and early 20s, appeared before Judge Emogene Johnson Smith in court today. The rest of the defendants are scheduled to appear Tuesday and Wednesday.
None of those in court today had criminal histories. They agreed to several conditions in exchange for their cases being dropped. They must complete a diversion program that includes a day of community service and classes on substance abuse and risky decision-making.
The defendant’s cases were continued until Nov. 23, but if they satisfactorily complete the diversion program, they won’t have to appear in court that day and the charges will be automatically dropped.
Sydney Matteson, 17, was among those who appeared in court. She said she was just “having a good time,” with friends at the stadium’s parking lot and was not drinking when she was arrested.
“It was intimidating,” said Matteson, from Johnston, R.I.
“In the moment, I said something wrong which as soon as I said it, I was, like, ‘Oh no,’ and I was put under arrest, and then I was charged with something. So I wasn’t arrested for possession, I was arrested for saying something.”
She described the massive arrests as chaotic, her experience like being “a dog in a kennel.”
“When I went in there, there were, like, 15 girls and they were just all talking about how they didn’t do anything,’’ Matteson said. “One was eating a hot dog and got arrested.”
It is unclear what penalties prosecutors may seek against defendants with criminal histories or who were charged with multiple or more serious offenses.