‘Redneck Rave’ Country Festival Ends With 48 Facing Charges After Drugs, Violence, Accidents
A country-themed festival in Kentucky dubbed the "Redneck Rave" ended with 48 people facing charges after a number of incidents involving drugs, violence and bizarre accidents. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that the five-day festival resulted in assaults, severed fingers, impalement and a slashed throat, while a number of attendees got so intoxicated that they made themselves ill.
According to the Herald-Leader, a country rapper who bills himself as Justin Time organized the event, which was advertised as "America’s wildest and craziest country party." The festival — which featured live music, a demolition derby, goldfish racing, a football game and more — took place at Blue Holler Offroad Park in the unincorporated town of Ollie. The event drew tens of thousands of people to the tiny town, doubling its population and posing logistical problems for local law enforcement, who lacked the resources to police a crowd that size.
Sheriff Shane Doyle says he knew the event would tax his resources because similar gatherings had previously "overwhelmed" his staff. He planned for a month in advance, meeting with emergency management, firefighters, law enforcement partners and emergency medical services to try to address the large-scale event. Sheriff Doyle also placed his deputies on mandatory overtime and drafted volunteer deputies to help, but he says he knew it was an uphill battle from the very first. Knowing they lacked the resources to stop all illegal activity, the sheriff's office set up traffic checkpoints outside the festival to help prevent anything illegal from going in.
“The first vehicle that came through, we found meth, marijuana and an open alcohol container,” Doyle states. "And then one of the occupants had two active warrants ... we were like, 'Well, this doesn’t bode well for the weekend.'"
They ended up making 14 arrests over the course of the five days, while others who were charged with lesser offenses were issued citations. The charges ranged from drug and alcohol possession all the way up to assault and strangulation, with charges filed against people from Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee and more states. 30 of those charges were related to drugs and alcohol, while some people had as many as six felony charges filed against them for their alleged participation in various activities.
One man had his throat slashed by a friend after a drunken argument turned violent, and another man allegedly strangled a woman nearly into unconsciousness after they argued over a blanket.
Accidents accounted for a number of problems, too. One man was impaled in the abdomen by a log that came up through the floorboard of his side-by-side vehicle when he ran over it, causing an injury so severe that medical personnel on-site decided to leave the log in place until he could be flown to a hospital. Another man lost part of a finger when the vehicle he had jacked up slipped off the jack and landed on his hand. Law enforcement accompanied emergency medical services every time they had to enter the festival to treat someone, Sheriff Doyle says, adding that he's not aware of any deaths connected to the event in 2021.
Doyle says he's not interested in seeing anyone's business shut down, but notes that the festival is an imposition on local residents, whose tax dollars funded 44 hours of overtime for law enforcement.
"The people that live here, they don’t want this business here,” he states. “What we want are responsible businesses that add to the value of our communities. That business (Blue Holler Offroad Park) has the capability of being that. To date, it hasn’t always added value to the community. At times, it adds stress to the community.”
Event organizer Justin Stowers called the Redneck Rave "the coolest thing I've ever seen in my life" in a Facebook post after the event, downplaying negative media coverage while acknowledging, “We can definitely improve on a lot of things" to make another similar event scheduled for October run better.
"This was the biggest event we’ve ever done and with as many people and random things that popped up unexpectedly I feel like we all handled it very well," he writes, adding, "for the negative Nancy’s ... we will put a complaint box by the porta johns next time for ya."
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