By Kathryn Reed
Two SnowGlobe attendees were found unconscious and suffering from hypothermia Tuesday night near a dumpster at Lake Tahoe Hard Rock.
“The security at Hard Rock did a great job knowing what was going on around the property. They found her by a dumpster and the kid had crawled up on one of the vehicles. Both were unconscious when they were found,” Eric Guevin, spokesman for Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District, told Lake Tahoe News. “They are very lucky to be alive. If they had not been found, for certain they would be demised.”
He said they had been imbibing alcohol, drugs or both. They were taken to Barton Memorial Hospital.
Temperatures were in the teens most of Dec. 30, dropping below zero with the wind chill.
Guevin said when the two were revived they told paramedics they had been at SnowGlobe, the three-day music festival at the ball fields adjacent to Lake Tahoe Community College in South Lake Tahoe. They also had the wristband all concertgoers must wear and were dressed as though they had been there, Guevin added.
They were found about 9pm.
(Earlier in the evening a Hard Rock security officer was taken to Barton for a non-work related medical emergency.)
Two years ago 19-year-old Alyssa Byrne of Petaluma died of hypothermia after leaving SnowGlobe. Her body was found in a snowbank off Pioneer Trail near Al Tahoe Boulevard.
Members of her family are at this year’s three-day concert, which ends tonight. They are promoting the Always Buddy Program. The slogan is: “I promise to never let myself or anyone I love leave an unfamiliar place without a buddy system.”
Guevin also stressed the importance of friends staying together and letting people know when you will be returning so if you are overdue, authorities can be notified.
South Lake Tahoe Police Chief Brian Uhler told Lake Tahoe News there have been minor violations involving drugs and alcohol at the concert, but nothing significant.
Concert promoters went from a staff of 70 security officers to more than 100 this year. Part of the reason is to be better prepared for any situation, but also because more people are attending. The first year about 9,000 people showed up each night, while this year the projection was for 15,000 attendees each of the three nights.
The city received two noise complaints the first night and four the next. The loud thumping of the bass is the problem.
One person near the venue told Lake Tahoe News, “The sustained noise/bass just wears on you. If I had this noise issue with a neighbor, I could contact the police and have the noise level reduced.”
South Lake Tahoe City Manager Nancy Kerry told Lake Tahoe News the decibel level is within the range of what the contract calls for.
Lack of snow has the sound traveling farther and the wind also carries it.
The city has made a concerted effort to make sure people are dressing appropriately. In years past lots of flesh could be seen, while this year people are more bundled up to handle the bitter cold. Lodging properties have been diligently telling concertgoers to dress for the elements.
“Start warm, stay warm” is the message on electronic signs that have been strategically placed in town.
This year’s event is over at 1am Jan. 1, with fireworks being the finale.
Lake Tahoe Community College trustees approved a one-year contract to bring SnowGlobe, a popular three-day music festival, back to the campus this year.
Before the decision was made at Tuesday’s board meeting, staff spoke to trustees about the festival and how they believed last year was a success.
“We felt like we had our staffing allowance up to a level that covered our costs. That snow removal allowance (was) in there,” said Jeff DeFranco, vice president of administrative services. “So we actually felt like last year was a pretty effective year.”
SnowGlobe draws more than 10,000 people to the college each night of the festival, which takes place on the adjacent South Tahoe Community Play Fields. Similar to the past three years, the event is scheduled for Dec. 29 to Dec. 31.
DeFranco said LTCC’s current contract provides clearer direction to SnowGlobe organizers, such as when equipment must be off school property, among other things.
“But from a financial standpoint,” he said, “we felt like last year covered any and all of our direct out-of-pocket costs.”
District staff will monitor the college’s property and provide support during the event. Again, SnowGlobe will cover those costs.
Board President Roberta Mason praised the festival for its year-to-year improvements.
“I have to say they really have made improvement over the prior year, with certainly trash receptacles and better lighting and signage,” she said.
In March, South Lake Tahoe City Council approved a three-year agreement with SnowGlobe, which included a contribution of nearly $34,000 of in-kind services. The city also agreed to take care of about $4,500 in bus route costs, $7,750 in garbage collection costs and provide a $25,000 cash payment to help sponsor the event.
Some councilmembers have said the expenses are a small price to pay for a festival that raked in an estimated $6.2 million in economic impact last year.
As for the field SnowGlobe takes place on, the city said it plans to assess it in spring 2015. However, a replacement is not confirmed at this time.
If it is determined the field does need replacement, funding would come from the Joint Powers Authority. A parks manager with the city estimated earlier this year that it would cost about $500,000 to replace the field, which is 10 years old and outside of warranty.
On Tuesday, SnowGlobe Producer Chad Donnelly said the ability to work with the same people year after year has really improved the festival since its inception in 2011.
It is expected the festival will release the artist lineup later this month. Pre-sale tickets are already sold out.