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Published: 2006/09/20

Wakarusa Responds To Reports of Police High-tech Surveillance

The promoters of the Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival have issued a statement in response to published reports that police used ‘hidden-camera, night-vision and thermal-imaging equipment’ on the festival site. Wakarusa’s Brett Mosiman explains:

_As many of you know, there were law enforcement and accompanying security issues at this year’s event. Some of these issues continue to make headlines, and regrettably, create controversy. As organizers of the festival, it is very disappointing that these issues have taken away from what otherwise has been a highly praised and truly special event. We cannot tell you how truly sorry we are that these issues occurred at Wakarusa this year and we sincerely apologize to everyone for any violations of your rights and privacy. _
_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 quickly became apparent that law enforcement’s primary mission wasn’t the safety of the festival goers. _
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 wont materialize in the future, we will not host another Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival.

_There is simply no justification for these types of tactics to be used on an otherwise courteous and peaceful crowd. These actions are not what Wakarusa is about. Wakarusa has always took pride in being a fan friendly event we like to say, ‘a festival for music fans by music fans and we mean it to our core. Wakarusa is a special event hosted in a very special setting and we do appreciate the vision of those local officials who allow Wakarusa to exist and to flourish. _
The festival has also benefited dozens of charities and not for profit groups. In the future, we hope to expand our mission of supporting great endeavors such as environmental causes, sustainable living models, and music education. In essence, this is an event that deserves everyones respect and support. We are searching for moral, political and legal support to help us resolve the issues we all faced this year. As before, we will continue to listen to your concerns and work with the authorities to make Wakarusa an event we all can be proud of. Our annual mission is to make Wakarusa one of the best, safest and most enjoyable events in the country. We sincerely appreciate your loyal support during the past three years and we hope we can maintain your trust and respect as we work through our growing pains.
Mosiman will address some of these concerns in an online chat this Friday, September 22 at 2:30 p.m. central, via the Lawrence Journal World website.

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