DEA and State police officials used hidden thermal imaging cameras and high-tech audio equipment to covertly monitor 50,000 revellers attending the Wakarusa Music in the States in June, US media reports revealed this week.
Using night-vision cameras and microphones provided by surveillance company NS Microwave, cops were able to capture high definition images of individuals rolling cigarettes across 85% of the site, which NS suggested could be duplicated at all outdoor events.
Just as light was being shed on the dying tide of raves, the music festival was being born (with) drugs for all, the company declared in a triumphant press release hailing their surveillance success.
Now large festivals have been cropping up in every region of the country, what is the best way to control rampant illegal drugs? NS added,
While cops declared the Big Brother style spy technology a resounding success (local press reported that 140 drug-related arrests were made in total at the festival) Wakarusa festival organizer Brent Mosiman stressed hed been shocked and alarmed by the underhand police tactics.
"We cannot tell you how truly sorry we are that these [spying] issues occurred at Wakarusa this year and we sincerely apologize to everyone for any violations of your rights and privacy, Mr Mosiman said on their website this week.
To give you some background, we were informed that there would be an increased law enforcement presence at this year's event. Initially, we were supportive of this when it was presented as an effort to increase the safety of everyone in attendance. It became apparent however that enforcement, not safety and security, was the true mission of the increased law enforcement.
We must make it perfectly clear that we did not know of any of the specific measures, tactics or instruments the various law enforcement agencies used at the event. More importantly, Wakarusa does not believe such tactics and equipment were necessary and does not support their use. If there are not significant assurances that similar procedures won't materialize in the future, we will not host another Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival," he promised.
Kenny Larkin and DJ Smoove DJed at the four day event which was headlined by garage rock band Flaming Lips.
Jonty Skrufff (JontySkrufff.com)