Neighbors frustrated with Country Thunder crowds
Keller Russell reports.Photo: Video by tmj4.com
CREATED Jul. 23, 2013
GENOA CITY - For four days every summer a lot in the middle of a cornfield near Twin Lakes turns into one of the state's largest music festivals.
But neighbors say it comes at a high cost for them. Some say Country Thunder is causing chaos.
"They get drunk and they come here and vandalize our property and threaten us," says Nicole Nelson.
Nelson has had enough. The Genoa City mom lives across the street from Country Thunder. And she says its crowd is out of control, often crashing her backyard pool.
"They literally take the pool cover off. They climb up over, you can see all the marks," Nelson explained.
This year, she woke to eight teens naked in the water early one morning. Fed up, she and her husband refused to give back the teens' clothes.
"They threatened us. 'We're going to come and retaliate.'"
And she said they did. Nelson woke up two days later to a man slashing the pool's sides.
"You're here with a knife now and you're drunk. You're stabbing my pool. So if my husband does come out and confront you, are you going to stab him?"
Nelson wants authorities to do more to keep neighborhoods near Country Thunder safe. Kenosha County Sheriff's Department is in charge of event security.
"You know you guys are running these, we pay taxes here we should have the protection."
We asked the department what its staffing is like. A spokesman tells TODAY'S TMJ4 most deputies are stationed inside the festival and campgrounds or working traffic.
"We keep control of the situation as best we can."
But, Sgt. Bill Beth said they'll look into how they can improve during a wrap-up meeting about Country Thunder on Thursday.
"You know that would be a great opportunity for us to discuss the nature of this complaint , this ongoing issue and how we could better serve these community members," said Beth. "We may need to look into putting additional deputies in the neighborhood around the site."
Sgt. Beth said the county board is responsible for permitting the music festival, though it is held on private property.
"It does go through the permitting process which does afford people the ability to make their concerns known to the county board members and members of the planning and zoning committee."
Calls to Country Thunder for comment were not returned.