Students crowding the Flat Rock area of Oswego for Harborfest celebrations received criticism after pictures of leftover debris from the weekend surfaced on the D-Bus Facebook page.
Senior Jared Lahm, also known as DJ Swan, has received much of the blame from Oswego residents for being one of three disc jockeys who played there that weekend.
“The party at the Flat Rocks happens every year; we were no different from anyone else that was there, our music was just louder,” Lahm said.
The DJ issued a statement on his public Facebook page explaining his involvement in the incident, which received backlash from numerous members of the community.
In response, Lahm said: “Did it seem like we were running the show? Yes. But, to be honest, if we had told a thousand drunk college students to pick up their garbage, they wouldn’t have listened.”
In the statement, Lahm made sure to thank the volunteers who picked up after the party.
“We were proud about, after all the work we put in, people had a lot of fun, but we were not proud of the outcome,” Lahm said.
Brittni Switser volunteered to help with cleanup and she said the initial amount of debris was shocking.
“I saw a ton of empty cans, drenched cardboard beer boxes, broken glass, fire pit remnants, papers, there was a towel floating in between two of the rocks,” Switser said. “It was just a giant mess.”
According to Switser, volunteers dredged about 100 cans out of Lake Ontario.
“A few people were diving into the water and pulling up three to four cans at a time,” Switser said.
Speculation for next year’s event has already begun as Oswego residents are calling for increased security at next year’s festival and also limited access for students to the Flat Rocks throughout the busy weekend. This problem is unlikely to go
away any time soon, as a Palladium Times article published Sept. 3 stated that the Oswego City Councilors are looking to transfer $30,000 to the Oswego Police Department to cover additional hours put in during Harborfest. The article noted how, though the city doesn’t fund Harborfest, the festival does cost the city money from paying police and city firefighters overtime.
According to U.P. Assistant Chief Kevin Velzy, enforcement of the Flat Rock area mostly falls to Oswego Police Department officers.
According the Oswego city police blotter for the weekend for July 26-28, there were seven disorderly conducts, five open container violations, three possession of drug violations, two driving under the influences, one driving while intoxicated, one noise ordinance violation and one public urination.
Lee Walker, who took the photo that generated the response, said students were responsible for the controversy.
“Students were the problem,” said Walker. “I’m all for having a good time, but we’re all in college and adults; just because you’re not home does not mean you don’t have to clean up after yourself.”