South Dakota Fest Under Fire
The event, which is held on farmland west of Volga, has announced 13 acts so far – most hailing from the Midwest — with Train headlining the first night.
This year’s Bash is set to have three concert stages, a techno tent, plus camping. It could draw 18,000 to 20,000 people and has a big economic impact, founder and promoter Karl Steege said.
However, some neighbors have a problem with the fest.
Marvin Post said that every year, garbage left over from the event lands in his fields and his crops had been damaged in the past by festival-goers, according to the Brookings Register.
“I can’t just shut down my operation because of Bash In The Grass,” he said. “My mailboxes have never survived a Bash In The Grass.”
Steege, who now owns the land on which the festival is held, said he had addressed some of the problems with last year’s Bash, the Register said. He said he planted rows of corn to stop litter from blowing onto adjacent property and will try to address security issues.
Sheriff Marty Stanwick said there’s a perception of illegal activity at the event. “I’m concerned with curtailing underage drinking,” he said. “The perception is that you can go out there and basically break the law for two days.”
Last year, the sheriff’s department reportedly had between 13 and 15 patrol cars policing the area outside the event site. On three occasions, people had to be taken to the local emergency room, the Register said.
Stanwick suggested that Steege hire off-duty police officers to work on the grounds. They would be better suited to identify illegal drug use and underage drinking, he said.
Steege responded, “That is not the norm,” the paper reported.
“I think [the festival is] something that’s put Brookings on the map. I’d like to see Brookings embrace it and let us do something with it, instead of trying to sweep it under the rug.”
Brookings resident David Kneip said his daughters have attended the festival and have always had a good time, the Register said.
“Karl provides some good entertainment for these kids. He’s putting them in an area that’s controlled with security. I feel comfortable having my kids out there.”