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NJ man found dead in tent at Camp Bisco

Reported by: Julie Tremmel

Videographer: P. Busa
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Updated: 7/13/2012 5:32 am
A three-day-long music festival in Mariaville turned deadly on Wednesday.

Every year thousands of people flock to Schenectady County for Camp Bisco, but police say after slurring his words and falling asleep, one of those overnight campers didn't wake-up.

On Thursday night most Camp Bisco concertgoers we spoke with said they were saddened by the death, but not shocked by it.

Concert regulars say it's a pretty well known fact that drugs and multi-day, annual, techno music festivals go hand in hand, and although the toxicology results aren't back yet, New York State Police say they did find Xanax, Hydrocodone and pot in the victim's tent.

Troopers say the victim had come to Camp Bisco to help set up a concession stand, and was found dead in his tent on Wednesday at around 11 a.m.

They say an investigation revealed that 29-year-old William Graumann of New Milford, New Jersey was slurring his words, had difficulty walking and fell into his tent on Tuesday night.

According to State Police, on Wednesday morning campers in the next tent were unable to wake him.

Gabrielle Elliott of Scotia says guests need to use common sense to stay safe at an event like this.

"People do go nuts, people do go overboard, but it's like, you're responsible for yourself kind of thing. So it's like, you're smart enough, you should really know better," Elliott said.

Her friend Renee Brino of Mariaville said, "The heat had to have made it worse (for the victim), you know? You need to stay hydrated; I mean those things take a lot out of you! Kids these days are going overboard, way too crazy with it, so it kind of is shocking, but at the same time, you know, with these type of festivals, drugs come with it, you know?"

And Brino is right.

Schenectady County Sheriff's Deputies say the department made 10 drug arrests on Wednesday, and four by Thursday at 8 p.m.

In fact, deputies say the man who was driving a white car stopped at a checkpoint that was being inspected by a drug dog allegedly tried to bring Ketamine, cocaine, mushrooms, Hydrocodone, pot and a substance that may have been bath salts into the show.

Deputies arrested the man and he was being held until he could be transported to the Schenectady County Jail.

Still, most people we spoke with say that's not what Camp Bisco is about.

Concertgoer Kevin Bull of Schenectady said, "It's about the music, not about the drugs. Just a specific few people just tend to try to add to it (the concert), I guess."

When asked if he thinks these types of tragic events give events like Camp Bisco a bad name, Bull said, "These kind of festivals already have that negative stigma attached to it. It (deaths) happen at pretty much every festival, and it's not just these kinds of festivals and shows. It happens at other shows as well; rap shows, metal shows, everything."

Elliott says she's hoping the tragic death will serve as a reminder to other concert goers as the event unfolds.

"They (the victim) learned the hard way, unfortunately, and now it's too late. And hopefully that will set the mood for the rest of the weekend, you know? Be careful, stay hydrated, it's going to be a hot weekend," the Scotia resident said.

Chad David Shearer is the Chief Operating Officer and Creative Director for Camp Bisco.

In an email he said, "The Camp Bisco Family is deeply saddened by the news of Mr. Graumann's death. The safety of our fans, staff, artists and the community is always our top priority. It is our hope that as further details are revealed, Camp Bisco will be able to take steps to ensure something like this does not happen again. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Graumann's family and friends."

As of Thursday evening, the Schenectady County Sheriff's Department was aware of at least six concertgoers who had to be treated for overdose since Wednesday.

And if you are heading to Camp Bisco beware; local sheriff's deputies are not just checking for suspicious behavior and drugs.

By Thursday night deputies had already written 25 or 30 tickets for inspection, seatbelt, equipment and registration violations.

Every single vehicle is looked at before being let into the show.


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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of FOX23 News.

jane44 - 7/16/2012 6:24 PM
0 Votes
Regardless of the circumstances this man had a family and friends. They tried to paint a picture and point fingers without knowing really anything about him and what really happened. Typical.

CHipC - 7/16/2012 4:41 PM
0 Votes
"Legal prescribed medications?" I'm guessing NOT legally possessed! It's the party atmosphere that leads to overindulgence and death.

Yup42 - 7/13/2012 5:25 PM
0 Votes
The drugs found on this man were legal, prescribed medications. No doctor should be prescribing both narcotic pain killers and anti anxiety drugs to the same person as it is well known that the combination can stop your heart. This situation has nothing to do with Camp Bisco and would have happened with or without the music festival.
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