TABC opens probe into Palladium Ballroom concert

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on November 5, 2012 at 10:59 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 5 at 11:51 PM

HIGHLAND PARK — The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission opened a case Monday night after being contacted by News 8.

Multiple viewers reported seeing teenagers drinking, smoking marijuana, and passing out inside the Palladium Ballroom during a concert by the band Ghostland Observatory.

"It was really crazy," said 25-year-old concertgoer Brandie Almanza. "I saw a group of kids with a big bottle of Grey Goose [vodka] and they were passing it around to people I don't think they knew and having them take a swig of it."

"I saw marijuana. I saw flasks," she added.

Almanza and a friend were at the concert. She was shocked, she said, by the age of the crowd.

"They were 14, 15, 16," she said, "doing things they shouldn't have been doing."

Agents with the TABC opened their case Monday night to determine if minors were served alcohol at the Palladium. If that is not the case, agents said they will try to determine if an adult anywhere provided alcohol to teenagers.

The event in question is the concert where police say 19-year-old Highland Park High School baseball player Ryan Romo met a girl he is charged with sexually assaulting.

Highland Park ISD will not discuss student discipline, but the district has suspended Highland Park High School students from extracurricular activities because they attended the concert.

One father told News 8 that 31 Highland Park students — including his own child — have been disciplined.

The Palladium Ballroom has referred questions to the promoter of the event, a company called AEGLive. News 8 sent an e-mail seeking comment Monday night and did not receive a response.

"It was really really hard to watch," Almanza said. "I wanted to help, but I was afraid to put myself in the middle of it. It was a scary thing to witness."

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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