Safety the top priority for SnowGlobe organizers

Griffin Rogers
A worker helps install a large tent at Lake Tahoe Community College on Friday. The tent will be used as a stage at this year's SnowGlobe music festival.
Griffin Rogers / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

SnowGlobe organizers this week began initial setup of their three-day South Shore music festival, which has undergone a number of changes since a fatality occurred last year.

Double the amount of buses will be used to help transport thousands of exiting festivalgoers this year, said Lauren Thomaselli, recreation manager for South Lake Tahoe.

Organizers are also extending the amount of time a heated tent will be available to ticketholders as they wait for their rides at the venue, she said. The changes were spurred, in part, by the death of Alyssa Byrne.

Byrne, a 19-year-old Petaluma woman, died of “probable hypothermia” after leaving SnowGlobe last year, according to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office. Methamphetamines and other “psychoactive” drugs were contributors to her death.

To help stop people from wandering off in previous years, organizers have used staff to patrol outside the event’s perimeter, Thomaselli said. A similar surveillance system will be used again this year.

“Certainly our concern is of the safety of all participants,” she said of the festival, which is now in its third year. “And with the number of people frequenting this event, managing those large numbers and keeping them safe and warm is our number one priority.”

“However,” she added, “there is no way to ensure participants won’t wander from the event.”

Other changes to SnowGlobe this year will include the use of a field cover to protect Lake Tahoe Community College’s sports field, Thomaselli said. A combination of LD panels and plywood will lay under people’s feet and any immobile structures throughout the event.

Additionally, more than 10,000 square feet of heat and enclosed areas will now be available to patrons, Producer Chad Donnelly said.

“The safety of our patrons is always our number one priority,” he said in an email, “and we are continually evaluating and implementing new programs and systems toward this effort.”

Donnelly added that organizers are constantly communicating with guests about dressing appropriately for the weather and informing them of their transportation options.

He also said that SnowGlobe is on track to sell out again this year.

About 10,000 people attend the event each night.

Thomaselli feels confident that all law enforcement and protection agencies will be able to handle any issues that might arise, and said she anticipates things running smoothly this year.

“We really do expect that the third time’s a charm,” she said.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.