At this year's Skinful Halloween party on Sat. Oct. 27, you're going to be seeing a lot of people dressed up as police officers and security guards, only they're not going to be in costume. In order to ensure the safety of all attendees, the amount of off-duty police presence for the event has been doubled.
On Oct. 23, 2011, after leaving Skinful, Beau James Froehlich was struck by a vehicle driven by Matthew Reid Fisher while crossing Folly Road. Froehlich passed away from his injuries a week later. Fisher was charged with a felony DUI, but it was later found that his blood alcohol level was 0.07 (though THC metabolites were in his system). Before the trial, Fisher died in a traffic accident while riding his bike down the same road.
In order to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again, 15 off-duty sheriff's officers (as well as two to three commanders) will monitor the perimeter of Brick House Kitchen property, where the party takes place. According to Brian King, Skinful's founder and organizer, that's in addition to the 40 security guards inside the event, and there will be a full-force DUI presence lining Folly Road. Officers from the fire department and EMTs will also be on site. Also, any cars parked illegally on Folly Road or its side streets will be towed.
There is no parking at the Brick House Kitchen; attendees are shuttled in from lots. Also, there has always been a no-walking rule in place outside of the site, and officers will be enforcing it even more strictly. "They're not going to tolerate any walking up and down Folly Road," King says. He's currently working out deals with cab and limo companies that will hopefully provide per-head packages that to take revelers directly to and from their houses. "We will gladly buy anybody a cab ride home that's too drunk, and that's always been in place," King says. "There's really just no excuse for people to even consider driving or even walking impaired, because they're just not going to tolerate either."
Big Hair Productions' Dave Brisacher is planning the entertainment, and he says that there are close to 30 acts performing at Skinful this year, from bands to circus performers, burlesque dancers, aerialists, and more. "From the moment you walk in, it's just going to be over 20 acres of stages, performance artists, and some of the craziest production stuff that anybody's ever seen, definitely in the South," he says. The production value has been upped. Brisacher describes the main tent as being on par with the one you see in Marion Square during Charleston Fashion Week. It'll host the main musical acts: DJ Muggs (the legendary hip-hop and electronic producer from Cypress Hill who's worked with House of Pain and Depeche Mode), Cut Chemist and Chali 2na (playing together for one of the first times since their Jurassic 5 days), and New Orleans band Dumpstaphunk. Brisacher's own band the Dubplates will feature special guests Future Fambo and Zumjay.
And the guys behind last year's legendary fire-breathing dragon sculpture will be back with a bunch of different metal contraptions, in case you were wondering.
"I think that the No. 1 tip is to play by the rules, to take responsibility, and to arrange for and plan ahead for a ride home or a designated driver that's going to stay absolutely sober," King says. He also offers some additional tips for partygoers: Don't include anything that could be considered a weapon as part of your costume. Stay hydrated (there are water stations around the venue) and learn your bearings, including where the EMTs are located. And watch out for your friends. "Have a good time, but be as safe and responsible as possible."
General admission tickets are $40 before Oct. 1 and $50 after. VIP passes, which include an open bar from 7 p.m. to midnight and separate entry lines, are $80 before Oct. 1 and $100 after. Skinful is a 21-up event. Visit skinfulhalloween.com for more.