(Updated) Sonic Bloom upheaval: Identity of deceased man found at the festival released
By Dave Herrera and Britt Chester
Update, 4:24, 6/19/13: The identity of the deceased man found at the Sonic Bloom Festival in Georgetown this past weekend has been released.
According to Captain Bruce Snelling of the Clear Creek Sheriff's Department -- who also spoke with us yesterday about the unrelated tasing incident captured on video below -- Nolan Farrell is the name of the man who died.
An autopsy was performed on the 34-year-old Boulder resident on Monday, but the cause of death has not been revealed. Captain Snelling says there doesn't appear to be any foul play. The toxicology results won't likely be available for four to six weeks. We'll have more updates as they become available.
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In the meantime, continue on for our original coverage about the unrelated tasing incident, the unexpected microburst and the damage it caused, as well as statements from an eye-witness (the man who shot the cellphone footage) and festival producer Jamie Janover.
Update, 11:15 a.m., 6/19/13: Michael Kroog, the man who shot the cell phone video of the still-unnamed nude man being tased, got in touch with us yesterday in response to our original post, and wanted to offer up his version of the events and also to add some context to the clip. According to Kroog, it was just after 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon when the whole thing went down. Continue on to read his full eye-witness account, which, aside from adding a few paragraph breaks for readability, is completely unedited and in his own words.
From Michael Kroog, via email (unedited):
"From what I can best remember, I was on the phone with my father at the time reminding him of my appreciation for him as it was Father's day. While on the phone I first witness a man with what looked to have one of the happiest expressions I've ever seen running naked down the street which sandwiched some of Sonic Bloom's camping and the festival grounds itself. After my father realizing I was distracted I told him I had to get off the phone and this is when I saw one of the (rather large bodied) security guards side check the happy naked man into the shoulder of the road and that is when the police stepped in.
I would like to first mention that there was already a heavy presence of police at Sonic Bloom and I noticed this after being told about Sonic Bloom's policy on Amendment 64. There was in the schedule in clear writing saying that Sonic Bloom was considered public property' and that you could still be ticketed for having/smoking marijuana. I noticed at least 3 sets 3 cops (at least 9) on Friday evening in the grounds. So there was already a heavy presence of police at Sonic Bloom.
So again, after seeing the 2 police officers headed towards the naked man now laying the street, I immediately apologized to my father and hung up the phone (with 1% battery left) and began shooting video and ran towards the scene on the other side of the fence. At this time the 2 police officers rolled the man into the ditch and he began squirming and a crowd gathered. As the naked man obviously confused and still smiling one of the police officers (in my opinion felt alarmed by the crowd) and began electrocuting the naked man with his taser.
As far as I know, tasers are to be used when under 'the most alarming' situations'. I personally was more alarmed by the police than anything else...The officer tased the man repeatedly and if you watch the video you can see the fear escalate with the officer with the taser as he continues to electrify the helpless man. This is of course my opinion and you should ask the questions for yourself in order to determine what was going on in the police officers mind.
After at least 8 electrocutions and one of the EMT's screaming at the officer "you are going to kill him, stop" (which you can see in the video) the man was finally taken into an ambulance. After standing along that fence still trying to figure out What the Fuck just happened, roughly 30 minutes after everyone cleared a big unmarked SUV drove down the street with 8 heavily strapped SWAT officers on the side of the vehicle. I didn't realize until later but I am fairly certain this was called from the officer with the taser in hand asking for backup...
I lastly would like to state that for future situations such as this, for those in the crowd to do their best to remain calm and try and calm the situation instead of helping escalate it. I am certainly not blaming the crowd for yelling at the police but this policeman was obviously terrified and because of that there is now possible risk of brain damage. Please, in terrifying situations remember to act on volition and not impulse."
Continue on to see the video, read a statement from Jamie Janover and for all of our previous coverage
Update, 12:08 p.m., 6/18/13: Jamie Janover, producer of Sonic Bloom, just posted a very solemn statement on the festival's Facebook page regarding the events from this past weekend. After expressing his gratitude to the Sonic Bloom community and everyone else involved, he writes:
"This Sunday, however, was a very challenging day for the Sonic Bloom community. With great sadness we report that one of our own passed away on Sunday morning, something that has never happened in our eight years together. After learning of the news, the entire festival gathered in ceremony and made a circle to honor our lost unnamed brother."
After going on to note the preciousness of life, Janover offers up his condolences to the family of the fan who died. Continue on to read his full statement and for the rest of our coverage, including video footage of the nude man being tasered.
Hello everyone, Jamie Janover here, producer of SONIC BLOOM. I am incredibly grateful to the Sonic Bloom community, staff, speakers, performers, artists and everyone who helped make this weekend an incredible experience to remember. This Sunday, however, was a very challenging day for the Sonic Bloom community. With great sadness we report that one of our own passed away on Sunday morning, something that has never happened in our eight years together. After learning of the news, the entire festival gathered in ceremony and made a circle to honor our lost unnamed brother. We would like to thank everyone for coming together in support of each other in the face of death by reminding ourselves how precious life is and how important it is to be grateful for life by celebrating it, which is what Sonic Bloom is all about. Though his name and cause of death have not yet been released by officials, the Sonic Bloom community would like to send our love and condolences to his family and friends.
After the ceremony had concluded and the artists had returned to the stages, the Georgetown area was hit with a powerful microburst: a very short and very intense period of strong winds. At the festival, this blast of wind blew over a trailer belonging to one of the production crews and sent the artist and staff check-in tent flying into power lines. Two Sonic Bloom staff members and one volunteer were injured. Thankfully, they sustained only minor injuries and have all since been released from the hospital.
The safety of everyone at the event is of the utmost concern to us, and the festival's procedures and site layout are designed to maximize safety given the unique features of the Shadow's Ranch site. Right after the unexpected microburst, the stage and structure areas were evacuated and the festival staff began to do everything it could to return the site to normal function, including repairing the fence along Alvarado Road, which had been blown over.
One somewhat unique feature of the Shadow's Ranch festival site is that it is divided by Alvarado Road, which runs parallel to I-70 and can be busy on the weekends. Out of a concern for safety, the site is designed to restrict the crossing of Alvarado Road to a single designated crosswalk that has warning signage for motorists and is staffed by crossing guards. While the site was recovering from the microburst, an unclothed man left the pedestrian crossing and began running down the public Alvarado Rd. at which point the local authorities restrained the man using force, including the use of a taser. I am very disappointed that the option of the taser was utilized in this incident. It was an incredibly challenging day for all of us, as this was a disturbing and heartbreaking thing for us to witness.
We at Sonic Bloom are proud of everyone's ability to remain present, overcome serious challenges, heal and celebrate life together despite having just having gone through the toughest few hours that the festival has ever faced in its eight year history. It was incredible to see how our community could face adversity and yet come together in support of each other. We hope that collectively we can hold the space of love and forgiveness and remember that we are all in this together.
I love you all very much, Jamie
Continue reading for the rest of our coverage, including video.
Update, 11:35 a.m., 6/18/13: Captain Bruce Snelling of the Clear Creek Sheriff's Department just spoke with us about the events this past weekend at Sonic Bloom, specifically the nude male seen in the video, who was tased by officers and subsequently cited for indecent exposure and disorderly conduct. "As officers approached him," Captain Snelling recalled, "he became violent and the officers tased him."
The cell-phone footage below (which is most certainly NSFW) shows the unnamed man being tased. According to a pair of witnesses we spoke with who were on hand, the footage begins after a festival security guard allegedly "shoulder-checked" the man into a ditch, and that's when police stepped in. "From people in the crowd," Captain Snelling told us, "we heard that he was high on LSD."
Sources who wish to remain anonymous contend that the officers used excessive force, a criticism Captain Snelling quickly addressed. "All I can tell you is that the officers are really responsible for making sure people don't hurt each other, and some people need to be protected from themselves," he said. "It would've been worse if he darted into traffic, or into a fire pit, or drowned in the river... we would get blamed for that."
In addition to the nude male who was cited, Captain Snelling said there were roughly five other summons handed out this past the weekend for incidents ranging from disorderly conduct to interference with law enforcement. He also noted that despite the issues they dealt with this past weekend, officials have had no problems with organizers in the past. "They've been professional, and along with us, the events from this past weekend do not make that organization happy, either."
Continue to see the video and our original post.
Original post, 7:30 a.m., 6/18/13: "Fuck you, pig! What the fuck!" As a jittery cell-phone camera struggles to focus on the sheriff holding a taser in his hand, an angry voice can be heard screaming at the officer.
In the clip, filmed this past weekend at the Sonic Bloom Music Festival at Shadow's Ranch in Georgetown and since removed from YouTube, a naked man writhes on the ground after having just been tased, and another disenchanted voice in the background demands, "Why the fuck? Why! Why! How can you fucking sleep at night? What is wrong with you?" followed by, "That can cause brain aneurysms!"
Such was the scene as it unfolded this past weekend at the annual underground electronic-music festival, where an unknown man was also reportedly found dead on the grounds of Shadow's Ranch, and a tactical unit was summoned to the festival grounds by local authorities to help calm a surly crowd. There's no word yet on the cause of death.
According to the White Raver Rafting blog, a microburst also swept in and produced such force that it overturned an RV and took down some power lines.
We're following this story and will have more details later today as they become available.
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