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Tahoe music festival to stress safety after Petaluma girl´s death

KCBA News
December 23, 2013 7:44 am

Alyssa Byrne

Organizers of a popular outdoor Lake Tahoe music festival will stress safety at the Dec. 29-31 event after a participant’s death last year.

Alyssa Byrne, 19, of Petaluma, attended the 2012 SnowGlobe Music Festival in South Lake Tahoe, but never made it back to her hotel a few miles away in Stateline, Nev.

Her body was found near a snow bank a few days after she went missing New Year’s Eve, and an autopsy found she likely died of hypothermia and had drugs in her system.

Authorities speculated she tried to walk to the hotel to avoid long shuttle bus lines and became disoriented in freezing weather.

Organizers told the Tahoe Daily Tribune  this year’s three-day festival will feature double the number of buses and extended hours for a heated tent for exiting music fans at the venue.

More than 10,000 square feet of heated and enclosed areas also will now be available for guests, festival producer Chad Donnelly said.

“The safety of our patrons is always our number one priority, and we are continually evaluating and implementing new programs and systems toward this effort,” he said in an email.

Organizers frequently communicate with guests about the need to dress appropriately and about transportation options, he added.

About 10,000 people attend the event each night at Lake Tahoe Community College.

Lauren Thomaselli, recreation manager for South Lake Tahoe, said she feels confident that law enforcement will be able to handle any issues that might arise at the 3rd annual festival.

“We really do expect that the third time’s a charm,” she told the Tribune. “Certainly, our concern is the safety of all participants. And with the number of people frequenting this event, managing those large numbers and keeping them safe and warm is our number one priority.”

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