SnowGlobe expands safety measures after participant's death last year

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SnowGlobe expands safety measures after participant's death last year

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SnowGlobe Music Festival

Organizers for this year's SnowGlobe Music Festival in South Lake Tahoe are planning new safety precautions after the death of a participant last year.

Nineteen-year-old Alyssa Byrne attended the festival before going missing last New Year's Eve. After her body was found, an autopsy determined that she most likely died of hypothermia and also had drugs in her system.

Authorities have speculated that Byrne tried to walk to her hotel a few miles away to avoid long lines for the event's shuttle buses.

In response to her death, event organizers have doubled the number of shuttle buses to 30 and the Tahoe Transportation District is offering free rides during the entire three-day event.

Lauren Thomaselli, recreation manager for the City, says event organizers will also keep a 10,000-square-foot heated tent open for an hour after the music ends each night. That will provide attendees a safe, warm place to wait until everyone can catch a ride.

"It's really after people leave the venue what their choices are and how they act and their own personal responsibility that determines the individual outcomes," Thomaselli says. "And certainly, having more buses and having people transported directly to the hotels is going to help get them back to their final destination."

Thomaselli says the event itself is safe and it keeps New Year's Eve revelers in a secure, supervised environment.

The SnowGlobe Music Festival is in its third year and previously, the City had no organized celebrations for the holiday.

"By not having any organized New Year's Eve activities," Thomaselli says, "it's basically all hands on deck for law enforcement at midnight up at the Stateline corridor where the streets are just closed down for this celebration that's not an organized, contained celebration. And that just leads to a lot of disorderly conduct."

The festival runs Sunday through Tuesday and attracts more than 10,000 participants each year. Organizers estimate an annual local economic impact of nearly $6 million.