Update: Brass Against singer Sophia Urista took to Instagram yesterday to apologize for her actions on stage at the Welcome to Rockville music festival, where she brought a fan on stage and then urinated on him.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal
DAYTONA BEACH — When Brass Against singer Sophia Urista urinated on a willing fan onstage during the Welcome to Rockville music festival, the incident generated worldwide publicity for the band, but it appears that it won’t result in any charges being filed by police.
“No incident report was created because we didn’t actually speak to the reporting party,” said Messod Bendayan, Daytona Beach Police spokesman. According to police records, a call to a dispatcher about the incident was received at 9:49 a.m. Saturday morning.
The caller, who identified herself as Nicole Shields, advised dispatchers that the singer had urinated on the fan on stage and wondered “if there are ramifications for this,” as her 16-year-old daughter was there to witness the event, according to dispatch records.
“She spoke to a county dispatcher initially,” Bendayan said. “We tried calling her back twice and received no response. Beyond that, we’re not giving any further comment on this matter.”
Shields didn’t respond to a voicemail message on Monday seeking comment by a News-Journal reporter.
Likewise, publicity representatives for the band also haven’t responded to emails seeking comment or an interview with Urista or other band members.
As audience members watched and videoed on Thursday night, Urista urinated on a willing male fan who rested face up on stage as the band performed Rage Against the Machine’s “Wake Up,” videos on social media show.
Following the incident, the band posted an apology, of sorts, via Twitter: “We had a great time last night at Welcome to Rockville. Sophia got carried away. That’s not something the rest of us expected, and it’s not something you’ll see at our shows. Thanks for bringing it last night, Daytona.”
Florida statute 800.03 makes it unlawful to for a person to “expose his or her sexual organs in public or on the private premises of another, or so near thereto as to be seen from such private premises, in a vulgar or indecent manner.” Indecent exposure is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable with up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine.
Brass Against no longer welcome at Speedway
Brass Against is known for its horn-powered covers of material by Rage Against The Machine, Tool, Audioslave and others. Although the band is receiving an enormous amount of publicity out of the incident, the group is no longer welcome at NASCAR properties, according to a statement released by NASCAR on Monday.
” Daytona International Speedway doesn’t condone the inappropriate actions that took place during Thursday’s Welcome to Rockville event,” said the statement emailed by NASCAR spokesman Russell Branham. “We are working with promoter Danny Wimmer Presents to address the issue. The band will not be included in future programming at NASCAR venues.”
The festival’s promoter addressed the incident over the weekend in an email from Rockville spokeswoman Kristine Ashton-Magnuson, who sent a statement from festival producer Danny Wimmer.
“We are aware of the situation. We do not condone the inappropriate behavior that was displayed and have addressed this directly with the band, as well as other artists to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again,” according to the statement from Wimmer.
Ashton-Magnuson said the company had nothing more to add on Monday.
There has been no shortage of chatter about the incident on social media, however, where a steady stream of Facebook posts over the weekend expressed a flood of reactions from disgust to amusement.
“We 3 saw something we can not unsee,” wrote Michelle Zborill, of Jacksonville, who attended the concert with friends. “I expected cops to come on stage and arrest her but not so.”
Others, who weren’t in attendance at the festival, took the opportunity to make jokes at the expense of Daytona Beach and its reputation for rowdy events.
“Somebody got their face peed on in Daytona,” wrote Will Walker, owner of Will’s Pub, an iconic bar and music hall in Orlando. “I don’t even know how this is news from Daytona.”
Beyond social media, some residents also were upset by the incident as well as the noise generated by the four-day festival.
“I would sue whoever is responsible for letting this happen and I would hate to be a parent of those kids watching,” said Peter Grosfeld, an Ormond Beach resident who emailed The News-Journal to report that noise from the concert competed with the volume of the TV at his home six miles from the track.
“We have newspapers from all over the world showing this,” he said of the Brass Against incident. “So much for the name Daytona to the rest of the world.”
Another image issue for Daytona Beach?
The incident occurred at the same time the Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau has hired a consultant to help elevate the destination’s image in the wake of unruly events such as the Daytona Truck Meet.
A selection is made: Daytona Beach tourism board picks firm to help with image overhaul
Nevertheless, the potential impact of the isolated event is being overblown, said Rob Burnetti, general manager of the 212-room Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach Shores.
“It’s nothing worth talking about,” said Burnetti, who also is a member of the Halifax Area Advertising Authority board of directors that oversees and funds the CVB with county tourism bed-tax collections.
“It was stupid, but I’m not going to let that tarnish a great weekend,” he said. “I’m not sure that wouldn’t have happened anywhere else. It’s not like they came to Daytona to do that. I’d love to keep people focused on the positive.”
For Burnetti and other hoteliers, the event yielded a big boost in occupancy and room rates during a typically slow time of year.
“It was great weekend,” he said. “It started on Thursday when we had 70 check-ins, with 69 of them going to the concert. It was great people, a great atmosphere and things seemed to go well over at the Speedway. This was a big win.”