More Dust Than Usual Descends On Lost Lake Festivalgoers

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 - 5:27pm
Updated: Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 7:44am
Audio icon Download mp3 (1.53 MB)
Casey Kuhn/KJZZ
Concertgoers at Lost Lake Music Festival in 2017.

This weekend, dozens of musicians descended on Phoenix to perform at the Lost Lake music festival. But they weren’t the only ones. Pacific winds kicked up a dust cloud that stuck around for the show.

If you were at Lost Lake, you probably noticed a lot of people had bandanas over their face — and that it wasn’t just a fashion statement.

“A Pacific storm brought in strong winds here over the Valley and basically that caused quite a bit of dust and haze," said Bob Huhn, spokesman for the Maricopa County Air Quality Department.

Huhn says the winds stirred up dust on Friday and then stagnated on Saturday, leaving all that air pollution right where it was at much higher levels than usual.

“It’s kind of an unusual situation because, usually, if the winds come in, they continue after the dust storm and help clear us out, but they didn’t do it this time,” he said.

And that means concertgoers like 33-year-old Sari Beliak left the festival with trouble breathing.

“Woke myself up wheezing, could barely breathe and had to borrow my 4-year-old nephew’s little penguin breathing machine and that helped immensely,” she said.

Beliak said that after posting her symptoms on Facebook, a lot of her friends commented saying they experienced similar breathing-related issues.

Phoenix officials say they turned off irrigation to the park a week before, leading to drier grass. They also sprayed water late Saturday in the dustier parts of the park.

If you like this story, Donate Now!