The Faster Horses Festival, a three-day country music gathering held each summer in Brooklyn, Michigan, has been a hotbed of sexual assault, according to a startling new investigation by MLive, the Michigan news site.
The 7300-word story paints a troubling picture of a culture of predatory behavior, overt misogyny, and excessive drinking at the music-and-camping festival, where concertgoers set up “themed camps” with names like “Titty City” and the “Camel Toe Bar.” Since the first Faster Horses in 2013, there have been 30 reported cases of criminal sexual misconduct. All of the victims were women.
According to an analysis of FBI crime stats between 2014 and 2019, there were 0.5 reported sex offenses per 40,000 people every four days in the state of Michigan. At Faster Horses, sex offenses were about 5.5 times more common, per capita. A security guard interviewed for the story likened the festival to a “sexual predator’s paradise.”
Along with the reported sex crimes, there have been 91 assaults that required a police presence during the history of the festival. MLive’s investigation found that Faster Horses averages 11 reported assaults per festival. When compared to a similar four-day electronic music festival in Michigan, Faster Horses has double the number of assaults and 50% more reports of criminal sexual conduct.
Representatives for the festival’s venue, Michigan International Speedway, and its promoter, Live Nation, did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone‘s requests for comment. Live Nation was also the promoter behind Astroworld in Houston, where 10 people died following a crowd surge during a performance by Travis Scott.
This year’s Faster Horses was also marred by the deaths of four fans. Three young men died from carbon monoxide poisoning in their travel trailer, while a 30-year-old woman died after reportedly drinking three-and-a-half fifths of Fireball cinnamon whiskey, according to the MLive story.
Faster Horses, held July 16 through 18 at Michigan International Speedway, was one of the first major country music festivals to return since the pandemic. According to Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services, it was linked to at least 101 cases of Covid-19.
This summer’s lineup featured stars like Jason Aldean, Jon Pardi, and Carly Pearce. Past headliners have included Miranda Lambert, Zac Brown Band, and Toby Keith. The 2022 Faster Horses Festival is slated to return July 15 through 17.