NEW YORK – Drinking songs have long been a staple of country music. But some are wondering if today’s chart-topping bro country tunes about shooting shots of tequila and getting drunk on planes are contributing to an increase in drunken incidents at country music concerts.
"It seems that country has changed dramatically in the last 7-8 years with the Taylor Swift people and the age groups we see at country shows have been a much younger audience," said George Dentino, chairman of the board of selectman of Mansfield, Massachusetts where a July 26 Keith Urban concert led to several alcohol-related arrests and hospitalizations, as well as the alleged rape of a 17-year-old girl on the venue's lawn section.
Bro country is a term for a sub-genre of country music that is used to describe songs about partying, long summer nights filled with red Solo cups and girls in painted-on jeans.
"I think it's the younger audience and the lyrics to be honest," continued Dentino. "This younger group comes first to party and secondary to that is the show."
Just a week earlier, 22-year-old Cory Barron was found dead in a Cleveland landfill days after friends reported him missing at a Jason Aldean concert at Progressive Field. The missing person’s report stated Barron was “extremely intoxicated” and police arrested 35 people for alcohol-related incidents at that show.
Urban and Aldean both released statements expressing their regrets over what occurred, but neither mentioned the flowing alcohol at their shows.
"I think country music does have a drinking problem, it always has," Taste of Country head writer Billy Dukes told FOX411. "And bro country songs definitely promote that sort of thing, but it's not so much the drinking for me, it's this implicit thing that drinking excessively is OK. That every good time means having a bottle has to be in your hand."
Dukes said it's time for country artists who don't drink to stand up and be better role models.
"It's funny because even artists who don't drink at all, like Brad Paisley – the guy wrote and performs [his song] 'Alcohol,' and he doesn't drink," he said. "So I think maybe having a better role model [say], 'You can party and not get wasted' will be helpful. I don't want to call out specific artists, but I think in general, there needs to be a more concentrated effort to promote safe drinking."
But Rascal Flatts' Joe Don Rooney, whose band has nearly 15 years of touring experience, said it's not artists' job to police their fans.
"I think it's not [our] responsibility, but I think if you want to say it you sure should, if it's on your heart," Rooney told FOX411. "But at the end of the day, you've got 20,000 people there that are corralled, that are going to do what they want to do and all we can hope for is that you take responsibility for yourself and your actions and try to have fun. You can let loose a little bit and have fun, just don't go too far with it you know, be careful."
Rascal Flatts lead singer Gary LeVox agreed with his bandmate.
"This is nothing new," LeVox told FOX411. "These sort of things happen periodically every year and normally in the summer time. Maybe not to this extent…it's been a real misfortune that some of the things have happened, but I think when you're outside in the heat and people are out drinking and listening and having a good time, I think they don't know when to shut it down before it's too late."
Rascal Flatts said that in their shows they make sure to call over security if they see a fight break out or someone who needs medical assistance.
"I also think that if you're at one of these shows, and you see something that looks suspect, I know people don't like to get involved, but you know, sometimes it behooves us to walk up and say, 'Hey what's going on here? We need to take care of the situation.'"
It's not just country concert goers causing trouble. Concern over concert attendees driving under the influence after leaving a show, has led New Jersey State police to set up DWI checkpoints at the popular outdoor concert venue PNC Bank Arts Center.
"At every concert or sporting event we always deal with people who have too much to drink [including] underage drinkers," New Jersey trooper Jeff Flynn told FOX411. "It's not uncommon all genres." More than 100 people were arrested for alcohol-related issues at an Aug. 3 tour date of rapper Wiz Khalifa's "Under the Influence" tour.
"The DWI checkpoints there serve one purpose -- to deter people from drinking and driving and to remove people who are impaired and driving which is not uncommon at PNC."
You can find Sasha Savitsky on Twitter @SashaFB.