Nocturnal crowd hits new mark at 35,000

Economic impact estimated $200,000; Arkansas man, 32, dies in parking area
Reporter Editor

Largest Nocturnal event yet at Apache Pass; preliminary 2-night crowd estimate put at 35,000, breaking record set last year. Largest Nocturnal event yet at Apache Pass; preliminary 2-night crowd estimate put at 35,000, breaking record set last year. The third annual Nocturnal Fest at Apache Pass, northwest of Rockdale, broke its own record for the largest crowd ever in Milam County during the weekend.

Preliminar y estimates are that the two-night music-andlight show spectacular, attracted 35,000 persons.

That’s a guess at this point with organizers still awaiting a moreor less official estimate from Insomniac Productions.

All are agreed the 2012 event was larger than last year’s which drew two crowds estimated at 15,000 each. The 35,000 estimate is based primarily on parking which extended much further than in 2011, especially overnight Saturday.

This year’s event was titled Nocturnal Wonderland.

DEATH—A 32-year-old Arkansas man died in the parking area of the Downtown Texas RV Park, across FM 908 from Apache Pass, less than an hour after the second Nocturnal session concluded before dawn Sunday.

Chief Deputy Chris White said an “accidental overdose” was suspected but no exact determination of death was yet available.

ECONOMICS—The economic impact to Rockdale businesses was estimated at $200,000, according to City Manager Kelvin Knauf.

Total economic impact on Rockdale in the event’s three years is now estimated at over $600,000.

All of the town’s 244 motel rooms were full, many of them booked months in advance.

Restaurants and RV parks also reported a booming business and there were many local entrepreneurs benefiting from the crowds who stayed in Rockdale.

Self-styled “shuttle services” were familiar sites on the roads as local residents charged fees for taking Nocturnal-goers to and from Apache Pass.

DEATH—Sheriff David Greene said his office received a call at 4:45 a.m. Sunday that a man was having a seizure in the parking area of the Downtown Texas RV Park.

American Medical Response personnel responded but found Gregory Fitcher of Fayette, Arkansas had stopped breathing and could not be resuscitated.

Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Rick Gommert was contacted to perform an inquest and the body was taken to the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office.

White said investigator Chad Marek is investigating the incident and a determination of the exact cause of death is pending a toxicology report from the Medical Examiner’s Office.

“Information was obtained from AMR that would indicate the subject may have accidentally overdosed,” White said. “No exact determination is available at this time and there is no evidence of foul play.”

Funeral services for Fitcher are pending in Hope, Arkansas.

ARRESTS—Seventy-one arrests on drug offenses were reported during the past week on the Milam County Sheriff’s Department jail log, including 17 within the Rockdale city limits with more cases expected.

See jail log and police reports. page 3A.

RECORD CROWDS—Nocturnal events have set Milam County record crowds in each of the three years in which the event has been held at Apache Pass.

The estimated crowds of 17,000 to 18,000 each night in 2012 compare to a firm figure of 13,000 for a George Strait concert at Fair Park in 1983 and are more than double the largest crowd estimates for Rockdale-Cameron football games.

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