News broke on Tuesday that a 26-year-old man died during an outdoor Warped Tour stop in Kansas City. Initial autopsy results found no traces of drugs or alcohol in his body. While there’s still no official word from the medical examiner, dehydration stemmed from intense summer heat is rumored to have been the cause.
This has incited an online debate over the price of bottled water at all-day, outdoor festivals like Warped and whether the responsibility to provide cheap, readily available water lies with the venue, the promoter or the individual. As BrooklynVegan pointed out, Bridge Nine, a record label who had a booth set up at the event, had tweeted earlier in the day about the jacked-up prices.
A statement by Warped Tour representatives suggests the price of water is an issue with the venue:
There is no confirmation this was due to dehydration, cardiac, other substances, etc. We do provide first aid to anyone who needs it. If this was due to dehydration, the tour is not responsible for water prices and we change venue rules to allow you to bring it in with you. What’s happened today is an unforeseeable tragedy that shouldn’t have happened. We are all upset and shocked and our hearts are heavy. Please remember to be responsible when you are at an event like this. At ANY possible sign of a problem, PLEASE contact a venue member.
There’s an online petition urging Warped Tour to work with venues to reduce prices. You can sign that here. The venue in the midst of the conflict, Sandstone Amphitheater, also issued a statement explaining their water policy:
As is the standard practice at all shows that visit the amphitheater, patrons were allowed to bring in their own bottles of water. Once inside, the permanent water refill locations that are throughout the venue were in operation for all patrons throughout the day.
With Lollapalooza this weekend and a few 90-degrees days looming on the horizon here in New York, the lesson at the end of this is to please be smart: Drink plenty of water. Use sunscreen. Take care of yourself and others.