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Safety a top concern ahead of ‘Paradiso’ festival at The Gorge

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GEORGE, Wash. – Summer concert season at The Gorge Amphitheatre is underway, with tens of thousands of people expected to attend a two-day electronic dance musical festival this weekend called Paradiso.

The event, wildly popular in the EDM scene, has faced criticism in recent years for dozens of drug overdoses, hospitalizations, arrests, and even several deaths.

USC Events, the producer of Paradiso, joined “Q13 News This Morning” to discuss safety measures ahead of this year’s concert.

“We have really two messages. One, we have a zero tolerance policy and we make that very clear that any kind of illegal substances are absolutely not tolerated in that venue,” said Alex Fryer, a spokesperson for USC Events. “The other part of our messaging is public health messaging, which is that if you feel you’re in need of medical attention, please get that medical attention.”

Fryer said there will be medical staff, 350 security personnel, and 250 volunteer “safety ambassadors” at this weekend’s concert.

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The mother of 22-year-old Beau Brooks, who died after taking ecstasy at Paradiso in 2015, also joined the program Wednesday to share her warning for parents and concertgoers.

Heather Brooks said she will travel to eastern Washington this week to meet with and serve meals to the emergency responders who cared for her son.

“I want to say thank you to the hospital staff at Quincy Valley Medical Center and Wenatchee Medical Center for trying to save my son’s life,” Brooks said. “I’m the one who encouraged him to go to this concert. I was naive.”

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