Violence, arrests mar Furthur Festival stop
This weekend's Furthur Festival @ Mountain Aire in Northern California's Calavaras County apparently was a fairly typical concert scene inside the gates. But trouble reportedly abounded outside the concert venue during and after the event.
Authorities said assaults, conflicts and the rampant use of hard drugs led to the that arrests of 63 people and the need to put all available officers on duty to combat the "lawlessness," according to The Stockton Record. The Calaveras Enterprise reported that that the local Sheriff's Office was forced to call in backup from the California Highway Patrol and Sheriff's Departments from two nearby counties.
According to sheriff's reports cited by The Record, the most troubling incidents occurred in a camping area outside the concert grounds, where five officers were injured while making 14 arrests.
"We went into it knowing we were short on people," Calaveras County Sheriff Dennis Downum told the Enterprise. "We made a deal with fair people and the producer that their in-house security would deal with virtually everything. It got so out of hand we had to call in everybody we could muster."
In one cited incident, a 3-year-old child tethered by a leash to his overdosing mother removed his clothing to get away from the woman. She was hospitalized and the child was taken into protective custody.
In another incident, a man cut his own throat and was attempting to further harm himself when emergency workers arrived.
A third incident cited by The Record states that two sheriff's sergeants were driving an all-terrain vehicle through a fairground parking lot when a man jumped into the vehicle shouting that people were trying to kill him. The man then dialed 911 and reported he was "surrounded." It reportedly took six deputies to subdue him.
The sheriff's report said officers came into contact with numerous violent young adults they described as being under the influence of strong drugs. Authorities said some displayed psychotic and aggressive behavior and expressed anti-government sentiment, according to The Record.
Undercover officers reportedly seized 8.9 grams of ketamine, 962 grams of psilocybin mushroom and mushroom chocolate, 61 ecstasy tabs, 2.5 trams of powered ecstasy and 30 doses of LSD.
Calaveras County Fair General Manager Ray Malerbi told The Record that most in attendance enjoyed themselves safely and peacefully, but that the security for the concert could have been improved. "We do know the security for the concert was not up to what we wanted, to what Bill Graham Presents wanted or what the Sheriff's Department wanted," Malerbi said. "If we do something in the future, that has to change."
The festival was headlined by Further, a group featuring former Grateful Dead members Phil Lesh and Bob Weir. The concert also featured performances by Electric Hot Tuna, Galactic, The Mother Hips, and Common Rotation with Dan Bern, among others.
Furthur is scheduled to visit 15 more cities this summer, and a half-dozen more in the fall. The itinerary is at right.
25 - Rochester, NY - Highland Bowl Amphitheater
26, 27 - Brooklyn, NY - MCU Park
29 - Jim Thorpe, PA - Penn's Peak
30 - Lowell, MA - LeLacheur Park
2 - Columbus, OH - LC Outdoor Amphitheater
3 - Herkimer, NY - Gelston Castle Estate
4 - Oxford, ME - Nateva Music & Arts Festival
5 - Shelburne, VT - The Green @ Shelburne Museum
7 - Ottawa, Ontario - Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest
8 - Buffalo, NY - ArtPark
9 - Masontown, WV - All Good Music Festival
10, 11 - Philadelphia, PA - Mann Center for the Performing Arts
28, 29 - New York, NY - Nokia Theatre Times Square
30 - Bridgeport, CT - Gathering of the Vibes
14 - San Francisco, CA - Outside Lands
16-17 - Eugene, OR - Cuthbert Amphitheater
17 - Redmond, WA - Marymoor Amphitheater
20 - Santa Barbara, CA - Santa Barbara County Bowl
21 - Los Angeles, CA - The Greek Theater
22 - Las Vegas, NV - The Joint
24, 25 - Morrison, CO - Red Rocks