ROTHBURY, Mich. (WOOD) — The heat wave sweeping West Michigan is a major concern in Rothbury, as tens of thousands of people flock to the second weekend of the Electric Forest Festival.
“To have sustained mid 90s temperatures — which is possible I understand — is something that we haven’t seen yet,” Michigan State Police 1st Lt. Jeffrey White said. “The high heat and the high heat index worries us for safety.”
White said the first weekend of the festival went smoothly with no deaths or serious injuries reported and only a couple dozen were in trouble, mostly for drug or theft-related offenses.
But this weekend could be the hottest on record at the festival, and White said they have already seen people fainting in the extreme heat.
“When you’re in a crowd this size, and especially in some of the lines that form, the ambient temperature could be 10 degrees hotter even than that what is out there because of the body heat,” White explained.
To keep concert-goers safe, troopers and medics are roaming the grounds and watching out for issues heat-related or otherwise.
Additionally, promoters have set up water stations around the festival, and there are plenty of places to seek shade, both in the fields and in the forest.
“They’ve got a shuttle bus that actually goes to a water park, so that works out pretty good,” festival-goer Michael Addis said.
Many people who attend the event also bring their own tools to beat the heat. On Friday, 24 Hour News 8 spotted several people and festival workers carrying umbrellas and water packs.
White said a small percentage of festival-goers use hard drugs, which only makes things worse. He asked people to stay smart, use the resources and use common sense.
“Drink lots of water. Lots of fluid,” festival worker Diana Church suggested. “Not so much alcohol — alcohol will dehydrate you.”
White also suggested that people take frequent breaks away from the sun and said to avoid long lines in the heat.
The festival officially wraps up Sunday.