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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Paradiso festival at the Gorge ends with fewer hospitalizations, more arrests

Fewer people were taken to the hospital this year at the Paradiso music festival in Central Washington, officials said.

Cooler weather and a greater law enforcement presence this weekend at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George appeared to make a difference, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday.

The on-site ambulance contractor took 12 people to area hospitals, including nine to Quincy Valley Medical Center. There were no reported deaths.

Last year, 44 people were taken to hospitals from the concert venue, many of them suffering from drug intoxication or heat exhaustion as the temperature soared above 100 degrees.

Two young men who attended last year’s festival died in the days following the two-day show. A 22-year-old Portland man died the morning after the festival ended. His death was ruled accidental and related to the psychedelic drug Ecstasy.

A 22-year-old Canadian man died a week after falling ill at the outdoor electronic dance music showcase.

The Sheriff’s Office said 29 concertgoers were arrested and booked into jail, 22 of them on drug violations, this weekend. That’s up from 10 arrests last year and 23 arrests in each of the prior two years.

This year additional drug task force members were at the Gorge handling major drug offenses, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The agency logged 58 calls for service at Paradiso over the weekend, which is down from the past three years.

“The majority of the concertgoers are respectful, polite and just want to have a good time. Only a small percentage misbehave,” sheriff’s spokesman Kyle Foreman said.