Newport, N.Y. - The Maximum Power Park Mud and Music Fest is set for Thursday July 16th through Sunday the 19th despite the owner still dealing with a $1 million fine for last year's festival.
The state fined the owner of Maximum Power Park, Peter Lockwood, $1 million last year for not having a mass gathering permit which is required by New York State for any event of more than 5,000 people.
The New York State Department of Health said there were numerous issues at the event including not having safe drinking water, not having enough security and not having an on-site emergency healthcare facility with required staffing and equipment, releasing the following statement last summer :
"On July 16, the Department of Health notified Mr. Lockwood that the Maximum Power Park Mud and Music Fest had been denied a Mass Gathering Permit required for an event with projected attendance of 5,000 or more. The charges against Mr. Lockwood reflect a blatant disregard for health and safety and include holding the event without a permit even after the Department urged the event to be canceled, failure to provide adequate potable water, providing insufficient security, presence of a fire hazard including overcrowding of campers with gasoline stored under units, multiple people observed driving ATVs without helmets and while drinking alcoholic beverages, discharging wastewater into the ground creating an unapproved leach field, and that there was no on-site emergency healthcare facility with required staffing and equipment. Staff of the Health Department monitored the event and performed daily inspections throughout the weekend to mitigate public health and safety concerns during the event, including providing emergency medical services in the absence of services being provided by the promoter, sanitizing the water tanker and addressing several dangerous situations that threatened the health and safety of patrons."
News Channel 2 spoke with Peter Lockwood on Monday.
Lockwood says he can't comment on last year's issues because there are still hearings being held regarding the $1 million fine.
As far as this year's festival, Lockwood says he does plan to have less than 5,000 people and says last year's event and 1$ million fine have nothing to do with this year's event.
We couldn't reach Newport Town Supervisor Mike McEvoy on Monday to see if he is concerned about the event coming back again this year, but we did speak with with Herkimer County Board Chairman Vincent Bono.
Bono says Lockwood needs to get the proper permits, including a mass gathering permit if he does have more than 5,000 people, "We need to make sure that there's enough outside security along with inside security within the borders of that festivity. We certainly want people in our county and having a good time but the main thing is safety, safety and health concerns are paramount."
Although there have been some neighbors who live in that part of Newport who have been against the huge event in the past, we caught up with one neighbor on Monday who lives right next door to the Maximum Power Park property on North Gage Road. Ken Schultz says says bring it on, he welcomes the festival back, "Yes, because what it does for the economy locally is unreal. It brings in a tremendous amount of money to the local merchants that would not be there if it wasn't for that."
Schultz says he and his wife often walk through the festival each day and have never had a problem with any of the festival goers.
Tickets are now on sale on the Maximum Power Park website, www.maximumpowerpark.com
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