Suspicious Backpacks and Other Highlights From the First Night at Arizona Fall Frenzy

They weren't kidding about the "frenzy" part.

An abandoned backpack and a few other suspicious packages left near the front gate of Tempe Beach Park created a whirlwind of disruption during the opening evening of Arizona Fall Frenzy. The Tempe Police Department deployed a slew of officers (as well as their bomb squad) to investigate the situation, shutting down several streets and Fall Frenzy's main entrance and ticket booth as a precaution.

Ultimately, no bombs or other explosive devices were found to be contained in said parcels, the situation caused something of a disruption during the first night of the annual three-day concert series. Patrons such as myself were required to hike up Ash Avenue to a makeshift entranceway at the back of the park. (The arrival of alt-rock band Stone Temple Pilots were also delayed in arriving to the event and started their headlining set about 45 minutes later than scheduled.)

Ordinarily, I woulda cruised over to the side stage featuring performances by Valley bands, but apparently that isn't happening this year. Total bummer if you ask me, since I'm big locavore when it comes to music.

In fact, the festival as a whole seems like it was downsized somewhat. There aren't as many vendors hawking their wares near the back of the park nor are there as many food and beer booths. Even the crowd doesn't seem as big or as boisterous as it was last year.

Blame the economy, I guess.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.