Three days before the Mifflin Street Block Party, students, residents, and law enforcement officials met up to voice concerns over the University of Wisconsin's annual off-campus, all-day boozefest the Daily Cardinal reports.
Police laid out ground rules for party-holders: Do not charge for beer, do not allow underage students to drink, and know everyone at your party. "Only in Madison do we tell you how to avoid arrests," said Madison Police Department Sgt. Dave McCaw.
Interestingly enough, this "spring drunkfest" started out as a protest of the Vietnam War in 1969, the Cardinal says. Activism eventually took a back seat to alcohol and raucousness, which reached a fever pitch in 1996 when the partyers lit bonfires and threw bottles at police, sparking an enforcement backlash.
The pre-party meetings were in response to that riot, and now primary concerns revolve around alcohol and noise violations--and fines that can end up costing thousands of dollars.