Local woman wants county to monitor music in parks

A local woman says she wants the county to pull the plug on performances with vulgar music at public parks, but county park officials say they can't stop freedom of speech.

A local woman says she wants the county to pull the plug on performances with vulgar music at public parks, but county park officials say they can't stop freedom of speech.

Dozens of bands took center stage at the annual Rockin' Roots festival in Central Bakersfield. The show draws huge crowds, but not everyone's a fan.

"The behavior that was going on was pornographic, the words to the music was pornographic,” says Martha Gray. “And what do you do when the security men are oogling over this pornography rather than put a stop to it."

 Gray went to a similar event in Stramler Park last year with her grandson and says she was mortified that the county allows any type of music to play loudly in public parks.

"Don't we all want to protect our children? Don't we want Bakersfield to be a better place a nice clean place?” Gray says. “Where the event was held today you have the museum right there and the ballpark.”

County officials say there's not much they can do since foul language is protected by free speech.

 “I’ve talked to the concert promoter and let him know,” said Bob Lerude, the director of Kern County Parks and Recreation. “They do have an ABC license, Bakersfield Police Department is aware, in terms of enforcing those kinds of actions, either people drinking underage or if there's inappropriate behavior."

People at the event say it is all about musical expression.

 “My parents are fine with it,” says 16-year-old Bree Zamora. “They know what goes on, it's whatever.”

Cody Flores agrees and says he has been attending the festival for years.

"If you don't like it, go watch another band,” he says. “There's other people playing, you're not forced to be listening to this."

 

Gray says she knows every one is entitled to free speech, but believes there should be different parameters set in public places.

“Why do we not let our youngsters go into an R-rated movie, why can't they walk into Déjà Vu,” she says. “I’m sure what I saw was a lot worse than Deja Vu, and this was at a family day in the park."

Park officials say if you see any illegal activity, call the police.

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