Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau Deputy Director Regina Wheeler said MCP Presents, producers of the festival, estimated ticket sales at 20,000 per day on Friday and Saturday, and 25,000 on Sunday.
“Because we know that a portion of these ticketholders camped and attended all three days, the CVB has chosen to use a conservative estimate of day visitor expenditures at $55 per person, as noted in the 2012 Longwoods International Economic Impact Study prepared for the [Georgia Department] of Economic Development — the 2013 study is not complete at this time,” she said. “At this rate, the conservative economic impact to Bartow County would be $3.5 million. This does not include money paid to any service provider as we discussed earlier.”
Although final figures were not immediately available, Wheeler said she was encouraged to see CounterPoint attendees spending money in the community.
“You could tell they were at CounterPoint because of their body paint and armbands,” she said. “I witnessed several in Publix, eating at Larry’s Subs, and getting gas at Kroger on Sunday afternoon. Then, Monday at lunch, I got takeout at Cracker Barrel, and the cashier said, ‘Boy, we've been swamped. Apparently there's been some kind of concert somewhere, and they all decided they had to have Cracker Barrel on the way home.’ I told her to be happy that they were busy, though understaffed, on a normally slow Monday.”
Held at Kingston Downs near the Bartow-Floyd County line, CounterPoint featured 75 acts on various stages, campgrounds, bars, vendors and an arts village. The festival debuted in 2012 at Chattahoochee Hills in Fairburn. In January, MCP Presents Marketing Director Kevin Earle said CounterPoint planned to be at Kingston Downs for the next 10 years.
Kingston Downs, owned by a private individual, contracted with the company to hold the festival. Bartow County Administrator Peter Olson said MCP Presents applied for a special events permit more than a year ago. For that permit, the company was required to produce a litany of emergency plans, including security, weather and mass evacuation.
MCP Presents also utilized county emergency response agencies, paying fire, sheriff’s office and EMS personnel for services during the three days.
Of law enforcement calls, the most serious resulted in four arrests by the Bartow-Cartersville Drug Task Force. The four men — none of whom were local — were arrested on charges stemming from about $100,000 in illegal substances, including trafficking in MDMA, or ecstasy; possession of methamphetamine and marijuana with intent to distribute; trafficking meth; and possession of LSD. Also included in the substances found were molly, or the molecular form of MDMA, and ketamine, which is a horse tranquilizer.
"They had a significant amount of LSD, hash, marijuana, schedule III - they had xanax. They had a pill form of amphetamines. One of the guys had identity theft," DTF Commander Capt. Mark Mayton said.
"Once we were initially called there, we were there for several hours ... well into the night. It was well-organized," he said. "... Aside from these few very serious problems that we observed, my observation of people there they were generally polite and respectful. Most of them were just there having a good time, which is what they paid to do."
Bartow County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Jonathan Rogers said E911 received a total 104 calls concerning CounterPoint — 43 noise complaints, three accident reports and two arrests by patrol.
On the medical side, Bartow EMS Public Information Officer Brad Cothran said the agency worked alongside a CounterPoint-contracted physician.
“We saw somewhere between 300 and 400 [people in the medical tent],” he said.
Most of those were for sick calls and dehydration; 12 individuals were transported to the hospital for treatment.
Cothran said EMS had 16 employees at CounterPoint for the duration of the festival, with the county’s operations remaining fully staffed and service was not affected.
Bartow County Fire Department was on site for four days — from noon Thursday to noon Monday — staffing eight personnel on 12-hour shifts for a total of roughly 750 manhours.
BCFD Deputy Chief of Administration Bryan Keeling said the agency extinguished one campfire and overhauled CounterPoint’s opening-night bonfire but remained relatively quiet for the duration.
MCP Presents has broached the subject of additional festivals at the site, both Wheeler and Olson said, but no concrete plans are in place at this time.
Earle did not respond to requests for comment by press time.