ROTHBURY, Mich. (June 27, 2014) – For the sixth year, the small town of Rothbury has been transformed in a tent city filled with music fans here for the Electric Forest Music Festival.
This years festival sold out three weeks prior to the event, meaning 40,000 people are spread out over three acres. Festival organizers rolled out 9-miles of fencing to make sure only the people who paid get in.
Fans come from around the country, putting up tents side-by-side with complete strangers. The fans we spoke with today said it is all part of a larger experience. The Michigan State Police are here to make sure the experience is the only thing they take away from the festival.
According to the festival organizers, it takes about 2,000 to 3,000 workers and volunteers to pull off the four day musical event. The festival has more than 80 acts playing music all day and well into the night.
Organizers said with a crowd this size safety is the number one priority. Security at the event is handled by a private firm hired by the festival promoter. MSP does have a large presence here as well. A command center is set-up on site to provide any help that is needed.
Michigan State Police said undercover officers are stationed throughout the grounds seeking out a certain criminal element, whether it is drug dealing or thieves.
Lt. Jeffery White with MSP said the most concerning element of a festival this size is everything that is out of there control.
“The weather is probably our largest concern,” he said. “Hyperthermia is a real danger here. People are away from their home, sometimes shade is hard to find. People are committed to seeing a specific act and they won’t move, they got a perfect spot and they didn’t bring enough water.”
Police said as of Friday, there were already people who were treated on scene for minor hyperthermia.
The State Police protection is provided at no cost to the taxpayers of Michigan. the organizers pick up the tab for the troopers staffed at the event, the equipment used by police, the transportation and even make sure all the posts aren’t left short-handed in their absence.