Camp Bisco is something of a hot button issue for the local Schenectady County officials.

According to a report in the Daily Gazette, the festival’s application to return to the Indian Lookout Country Club in Mariaville, NY has been rejected due to a number of reasons, primarily open drug use and sale.

County Attorey Chris Gardner states, “The application that was submitted presented concerns around traffic and around emergency evacuations… And there is concern about what in the past has been open drug dealing at Camp Bisco, so we are seeking a police presence within the festival grounds to deter that and reduce it significantly, and we’re asking for a higher insurance rate because of the issues that arose in 2012.”

Those issues include a staff member’s death, and a lawsuit regarding a festivalgoer who suffered a massive seizure and slipped into a coma before emergency services could arrive.

However, the main organizer of Camp Bisco’s return is Ken Hays, who founded Gathering of the Vibes twenty years ago. Hays understands the importance of safety, saying “We have contracted with Albany Medical Center to have a minimum of three physicians on site and to have an on-site field hospital. We’ve gone far beyond the state-required regulations as they apply to emergency management and keeping everyone safe.” He’s also promised to organize the lineup to appeal to an older crowd.

Despite getting the official approval from the police department, State Department of Health, and State Department of Transportation, the county has still denied the Camp Bisco mass-gathering permit over safety fears. In order for Hays to get the necessary permit, the county has some stipulations: 20 police officers on traffic control, 50 on the grounds at all time, and drug-sniffing dogs at the festival’s entrance.

If the festival does happen, it would be held from July 16-18, with The Disco Biscuits headlining. Hays said, “We made a deliberate effort to contract with bands that typically bring an older demographic… We’ve been working with Disco Biscuits for 15-plus years, and they’ve played Gathering of the Vibes many times. I felt that this event could move forward once we’ve addressed the issues the local community has because people should have the opportunity to gather with friends and family on a beautiful piece of land in Mariaville.”

We’ll be sure to update once plans regarding Camp Bisco have been finalized.