In early March, Jason Buelterman, mayor of Tybee Island, Ga., announced the city would be imposing fines on several well-known Orange Crush promoters if they did not fill out the proper paperwork to hold the large event on Tybee’s beach.
Every year the city of Tybee looks for ways to stop Orange Crush. The town says the efforts are because no one will officially sponsor the event.
“In the past, Savannah State sponsored the event, but now it’s just a group of people getting on social media. There’s no organization,” said Buelterman. Buelterman said he has reached out to some well-known party promoters who have shared the event on their social media accounts and none of them responded to his request for the filing of a permit application.
Orange Crush is an unofficial annual beach party held on Tybee Island in April. Floods of college-aged students crowd the beach from universities all over the southeast. It was started by a group of Savannah State students and was, at first, sponsored by Savannah State; however, the university decided to withdraw its sponsorship of the event long ago.
Savannah State students have also started organizing a beach clean-up every Sunday following that Saturday’s festivities following complaints of litter being left after the event.
Still, Buelterman wants the proper paperwork done, or there to be no Orange Crush, he says.
At the end of 2017, Tybee City Council passed legislation introduced a ban on alcoholic beverages and amplified music the weekend of the scheduled Orange Crush in 2018. The beaches were still crowded and there was still music and alcohol in that April event.
Now, the city of Tybee is trying to curb Orange Crush with a proposed fine of up to $50,000 for anyone promoting the event.
Buelterman said the city of Tybee and its law enforcement must be able to prepare for events like these. A permit must be applied for to host such a large-scale party, though Tybee is a public beach. “Right now, it’s just young people swarming the beach and without the permit Tybee has no way to protect them,” Buelterman said.
When asked if the city’s tone would change if promoters were more willing to cooperate, Buelterman said, “The only problem here is no one wants to take responsibility. If some person or group were willing to do the paper work and fill out the permit, we would be welcoming them here. We are very welcoming. Tybee doesn’t push anyone away.”
The promoters refused to comment.