EST Fest returns with heightened security after 24 people have severe reactions to THC

Posted at 5:43 PM, Mar 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-27 18:02:03-04

Cleveland native and famed rap artist, Machine Gun Kelly, will headline EST Fest in Richland County this coming summer.

The festival stands for "Everyone Stands Together" and will be held in Ohio Dreams Park this coming August and draws thousands of people from across the country. 

However, after a hiccup last year, event security will be heightened.

"Security will be enhanced since this hit national news. We know what to expect this year," Captain Donald Zehner, with the Richland County Sheriff's Department told News 5. 

24 people were rushed to Ohio Hospital in Mansfield after police say they overdosed on drug-laced candy brought into EST Fest by a man attending the festival. 

RELATED: At least 20 people have severe reactions to THC candies in one day at EST Fest

He was reportedly handing it out and has since been convicted of drug trafficking. 

"When I couldn't breathe, I was like, this is not good," Amy Fabian told News 5 last August. Fabian was one of the 24 who went to the hospital. 

Police said the edibles tested negative for opiates but had very high levels of THC.

Captain Zehner told News 5 cars and bags were checked last year, but the candy still got in. 

"They probably weren't looking for that...we'll probably have some training with them on what to look for and what we learned from last year," he explained. 

Chris Ashcraft, with Ohio Dreams Park, said the same thing. 

"We will check as thoroughly as possible... we'll work closely with Richland County Sheriffs and EST Fest to try to make sure that doesn't happen."

Ashcraft and Richland County officials said there wasn't another incident reported at the Fest in 2016, and most local businesses benefitted from the number of visitors that week. 

The concert series is 18+. News 5 was told ID's are checked before people enter the park. 

News 5 reached out to EST Fest organizers for comment and did not hear back by publication.