The aroma of marijuana lingered in the parking lot, and moonshine measured three-quarters full in a quart jar on the tour bus, officials said.
But, despite citations given Thursday night to six of singer-songwriter Willie Nelson’s band members for allegedly illegally possessing the substances, the concert was scheduled to go on – that was, until it was announced Nelson wasn’t feeling up to playing, according to information from the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement Division agency out of Wilmington and a news release on Nelson’s official Web site.
It was pain in Nelson’s hand, the one on which he had carpal tunnel surgery, that caused the concert to be canceled, according to the news release on Nelson’s Web site. “Doctors say to just give it a rest,” the release said.
Nelson was not on the tour bus where ALE agents found marijuana and “non-tax-paid alcohol, which is moonshine,” said Ted Carlton, special agent in charge of the District III ALE office out of Wilmington.
Carlton said it was about 6:40 p.m. Thursday when ALE agents smelled marijuana in a parking lot by the Duplin County Events Center in Kenansville. After entering the tour bus, agents also saw a jar of moonshine, he said.
Six members of Nelson’s band were issued citations. They were not arrested. A mandatory court appearance is required for both charges, Carlton said.
“We did it as fast as possible so it wouldn’t delay the concert,” he said. “As soon as we processed the last one, we got word the concert was canceled because Nelson was under the weather.” The concert was scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.
Carlton said agents were routinely patrolling the concert grounds. “Because the concert was in town, we went up there to patrol the parking lot just like any licensed establishment,” he said.
And although the band members probably weren’t too happy about being charged just before their concert, Carlton said they all cooperated.
“The band members were very respectful of law enforcement,” he said.