NewsCovering Kentucky


Organizers Say Safety Is Paramount For Railbird Festival

Posted at 3:38 PM, Jun 20, 2019

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18)– In less than two months, people from across the country will descend on Lexington for the inaugural Railbird Music Festival at Keeneland. In the wake of a death at the Bonnaroo Music Festival, Railbird organizers want to remind people that safety is paramount.

Bonnaroo organizers say Ryan Dunleavy, 27, was attending the festival with his father when he was found unresponsive on campgrounds Saturday. He later died at the hospital. While his cause of death has not been revealed, festival officials say the man did have an underlying medical condition.

The festival producer of Bonnaroo, AC Entertainment, is also overseeing the Railbird Music Festival. VP of Strategic Partnerships, Jeff Cuellar, declined to comment on Dunleavy’s death, but he said that incidents like these prompt organizers to reevaluate their procedures and ensure they are doing everything in their power to mitigate risks.

“It’s part of the reason why we do RFID and encourage people to register wrist bands, this way, for some reason someone does come in unresponsive, we have that information on who they are, emergency contacts, and start moving on that,” he said in a phone interview with LEX 18.

One of the major challenges will be battling the heat. Cuellar recognizes summers in Kentucky can be brutal and says they will have plenty of free water stations and shade tents throughout the weekend.

For more information on the Railbird Festival, click here.

“The well-being of our patrons, staff, volunteers and artists is our primary concern, and we work diligently to ensure the safest festival possible. on Saturday, our medical team in Plaza 11 was asked to respond to a medical situation in a nearby campsite. The Bonnaroo Medical team and Coffee County Emergency Services were on the scene within minutes. A 27-year-old male patron camping with his father was unresponsive. The medical team administered CPR, and he was transported to the hospital where he died. We understand that he had an underlying medical condition, but we have no further information at this time. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends,” said a statement from Bonnaroo organizers in cooperation with the Coffee County Sheriff’s Office.