BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Two people died and dozens were rushed to hospitals during a massive music festival in Kern County over Memorial Day weekend. First responders answered more than two dozen emergency calls at the Lightning in a Bottle festival. Key questions remain about how two people died.

Many say the Lightning in a Bottle festival started as an exciting, dance-filled weekend at Buena Vista Lake, drawing a crowd of more than 27,000 people. Matt Munoz and his wife arrived Friday.

“It was right about sunset. People started to roll in through the festival gates,” said Munoz. “Everybody’s fresh, having a good time.”

He never imagined two people would lose their lives at the event

“I was really shocked that we had gotten the news that there was tragedy at Lightning in a Bottle,” said Munoz. “Because when we attended, it seemed peaceful. And it’s sad. You don’t expect it.”

Many felt safe, but others tell a different story. In a social media thread unconfirmed by 17 News, one person says, “One of the deceased was close friends with my friend group … Apparently she asked for an actual IV multiple times bc she felt like she was dying of dehydration and they wouldn’t administer one.”

The Kern County Fire Dept. says EMS teams responded to 30 calls throughout the weekend. One person reportedly died from an unspecified medical emergency Saturday after crews rushed them to a local hospital. The next day, another person died at their campsite.

First responders say both deaths happened at the camping area outside of the main festival grounds, as Memorial Day Weekend brought triple-digit heat. The coroner’s office has not revealed exactly how either of these people died, or who they are. 23 more were rushed to local hospitals.

This weekend’s tragedy comes after the festival reached an agreement with county officials in November, allowing organizers to hold the event annually for five years in Kern.

The approval was originally delayed after several county departments and the California Highway Patrol refused to sign off, because of potential traffic and safety issues the event may bring due to large crowds.
Los-Angeles based event business DoLab usually hosts the festival in Monterey County, but officials there kicked them out because of disagreements about the number of people DoLab should allow into the festival.

Event organizers released a statement Thursday night saying in part: “Our deepest condolences are with the loved ones of these individuals. We grieve with you as members of this community.”