BROOKLYN, MI– The country camping and music festival Faster Horses continued as normal on Sunday, despite the most deaths ever recorded at the festival in the eight years it has run.
A 30-year-old woman’s body was discovered on Saturday, July 17. Later that day, five men were found unresponsive in their travel trailer, of which three died of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning.
While the festival continues as normal, the festival-related deaths made national news.
Fans started gathering near the main stage about an hour before the first main stage artist. Artists still beckon fans to sing along with them, and friends share snacks and grab beers.
Two festival-goers slipped down a water slide, holding each other the entire way down. Their shouts of glee were matched by country music in the distance.
The closest mention of anything negative by Faster Horses leadership has been an electronic display of the message “See something? Say something.” near the stage. The festival’s social media accounts have not mentioned the deaths.
Festival organizers initially refused to comment, but later did at 5:40 p.m.
“Faster Horses Festival is deeply saddened by the tragic losses this weekend, as confirmed by the Lenawee County Sheriff’s department. Our hearts are broken for the families, friends and loved ones,” said Courtney Johanson, publicist for GreenRoom Public Relations, which represents the festival.
And for some fans, they didn’t know anyone had died.
First-time festival-goer Nicole McElwain traveled to the festival from Canton, Ohio. She said she’s enjoyed meeting nice people at the festival, but would have liked to know about the deaths from festival organizers.
“I would like to know what’s going on around me just because I’m coming from out of state,” McElwain said.
However, McElwain said she can see why the festival organizers wouldn’t announce the deaths because it could cause a little chaos, but that she has the festival app downloaded and would have liked a notification.
Josh Thwaites and Brianna Motto came to the festival for their first time to see Thomas Rhett. They said the topic of conversation they’ve heard from others focuses on mud and how to get cars and trailers out of it after Friday’s rain. They weren’t aware anyone had died.
The incidents didn’t concern Nola Berry for the safety of herself or her friends, who she traveled with to attend the festival for her seventh time.
“We don’t travel alone, and we don’t drink excessively. (You) gotta keep your wits about you,” Berry said.
Berry’s friend, Melinda Hambleton, has been to the festival four times and heard about the incident from her friends.
“It’s just something that was an accident, something that happened, you know, (you) kind of learn from it,” Hambleton said.
On the Faster Horses Festival grounds, the party continues.
More Faster Horses coverage is here.
This story has been updated with comment from festival organizers.
READ MORE FROM THE JACKSON CITIZEN PATRIOT: