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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

UPD responds to River Fest aftermath

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  • San Marcos Hays County Emergency Medical Services unloading a stretcher outside Sewell Park on April 11, 2024.

  • Emergency Medical Services attend to injured students outside River Fest on April 11, 2024.

  • San Marcos Hays County Emergency Medical Services and San Marcos Fire Department parked outside Sewell Park for River Fest on April 11, 2024.

  • San Marcos Hays County Emergency Medical Services parked outside Sewell Park on April 11, 2024.

  • Security denies entry to students at River Fest after the barricade was trampled on April 11, 2024.

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Students at River Fest forced their way through entry points after gates closed at River Fest on April 11, leading to multiple injuries.

University Police Department (UPD) Sgt. Michael Rodriquez said at the scene yesterday there were 20,000 to 30,000 students in attendance. However today, UPD Chief of Police Matthew Carmichael, who is on an out-of-state road trip, said around 5,000 people were there.

“The event drew in, probably about… I don’t have the exact count yet, but max, maybe 5,000, a little over 5,000 folks were at River Fest,” Carmichael said.

Students forced their way in multiple entrances after the gates closed around 7 p.m. Reported injuries by on-scene police officers contradicted statements by Carmichael.

“We had two injuries sustained,” Carmichael said. “Those injuries appeared to be due to the fence being knocked over and one person actually got injured when they tried to scale the fence.”

Carmichael reported two injuries at the festival, Rodriquez reported three injuries and a security officer who refused to name himself said he believed it was more than two injuries.

“We had a girl with a possible dislocated knee… and a case of alcohol poisoning,” Rodriquez said.

Gabriel Kohl, a pre-med freshman who witnessed the incident, said he saw at least one injury as students breached a gate near Strahan Coliseum.

“When [staff] said they were shutting down the entrances, everyone started freaking out…,” Kohl said. “They were pushing toward the gate and I saw a girl get trampled to the ground.”

Despite students trampling the barricade and bringing alcohol into River Fest, which prohibited alcohol and drugs, Carmichael said there were no arrests or assaults at River Fest.

Carmichael estimated there were at least three attempts by the crowd to breach into the venue while on-site security said it felt like it was at every gate.

“When they were trying to force their way through it took five to 10 minutes on each one of those times to get the fence back right,” Carmichael said.

According to video and photo evidence, students did successfully breach multiple entrances into Sewell Park.

Security denies entry to students at River Fest after the barricade was trampled on April 11, 2024. (Ryan Claycamp)

Carmichael said there were “well over 25” security personnel including sworn police officers, UPD, non-sworn public safety officers and additional security contracted through Gary Job Corps.

“Had this situation gotten out of control or became unmanageable or untenable, we would have activated emergency mutual aid…,” Carmichael said. “We had adequate staffing to address the event.”

Despite Carmichael saying the event was under control, students managed to force their way into multiple entrances and hopped over fences.

“We had to call UPD officers from regular patrol because we weren’t ready for a crowd…,” Rodriquez said. “It was chaos.”

Carmichael said it is routine to call UPD officers from their regular patrols to bolster security at larger events.

President Kelly Damphousse released a statement on X thanking the River Fest organizers and student attendees.

“Many thanks to the [Texas State] students and staff members who put on River Fest tonight! Great turn out by the students and I loved seeing all the [SACA] volunteers and staff members cleaning up already!” the statement said.

University Senior Media Relations Manager Jayme Blashke said the university looks to events like River Fest as a learning opportunity for similar events in the future.

“We always look back at what worked best and what could be improved on and what will happen with River Fest and we will take the lessons learned from this and apply them for future endeavors,” Blaschke said.

This is a developing story and updates will be provided as they become available.

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