HUNTER — As the town recovers from hosting thousands of music lovers at two annual Hunter Mountain festivals, others are facing court dates for misdemeanor or felony charges they received while on the mountaintop.
Taste of Country, which took place June 7-9, sold out general admission tickets and campsites for its sixth year, with headliners Eric Church, Florida Georgia Line and Sam Hunt. Venue-owned parking lots filled, and neighbors opened their lawns and driveways for guest parking and parties for the weekend.
The packed weekend resulted in police arresting five people on festival grounds — the Greene County Sheriff’s Office arrested one West Islip resident on an assault charge and three Catskill residents were charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. State police arrested one Davenport resident on charges of theft of services and resisting arrest.
“Taste of Country was really, really busy, but I think it was great for the community, with a small number of problems,” Hunter Town Police Sgt. Robert Haines said Tuesday. “Mountain Jam didn’t quite work out like people were hoping, but there weren’t many problems.”
Mountain Jam, which took place June 15-17, drew a paltry turnout compared to previous years, Haines said.
The rock festival, which is in its 14th year, included headliners Sturgill Simpson, Alt-J, George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic and Jack Johnson.
Arrest numbers at Mountain Jam are up from last year, with a total of 28, state police Senior Investigator Pete Kusminsky and Greene County Sheriff’s Office Senior Investigator Joel Rowell said.
Greene County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 23 people at Mountain Jam, with all but four on drug charges that include criminal possession of marijuana or controlled substances. Other festivalgoers who were arrested hailed from New York state, Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Ohio and Florida, and ranged in age from 20 to 60 years old.
Additional charges include criminal possession of a handgun, breaking into the festival without a ticket and harassment.
Taste of Country typically has a lower arrest count, but Mountain Jam had more arrests compared to last year, Greene County Sheriff’s Office senior investigator Joel Rowell said Tuesday.
Rowell did not return multiple calls for requests for figures on previous years’ arrests.
State police, who provided 14 to 16 officers at the festival to support the sheriff’s office, arrested five people at Mountain Jam on charges of criminal possession or sale of a controlled substance.
“In general, the festival brought in more arrests this year,” Kusminsky said. “Last year, either agency didn’t have that many.”s
Hunter Town Police deployed 32 additional officers to the festival, operating traffic control at Route 23A and Klein Avenue and handling complaints in the town at Taste of Country and Mountain Jam, Haines said.
The sheriff’s office also used drones to monitor the festival from a wide angle, Haines said.
Concertgoers were given the chance to dump drugs in an amnesty box located near the festival entrance. The drugs were collected by police and will be destroyed by the sheriff’s office, Kusminsky said.