ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine expected Dayglow — a nation-hopping event that features digital music, dancers, acrobats, light displays and copious amounts of paint and confetti — to be more raucous than the usual on-campus performance.
Dayglow, branded as “the world’s largest paint party,” drew a crowd of about 3,000 when it visited UMaine’s Field House on April 25, according to Dean of Students Robert Dana, but it probably won’t be welcomed back in the near future.
The university reported 16 attendees were taken to the hospital by ambulance from the Field House. Dana said he’s not pleased with that number.
Their medical problems ranged from excessive alcohol consumption and dehydration to asthma and getting paint in their eyes, Dana said.
“With 16 transports, we’re very unhappy with that,” Dana said Tuesday, adding that the concert was a bit too boisterous for the university.
“We did know that Dayglow brought with it this sort of hyperexuberance,” Dana said. “Police and safety personnel were anticipating it.”
University and town officials said Tuesday that planning played a large role in ensuring responders were prepared to handle any emergency resulting from the show.
The UMaine Volunteer Ambulance Corps, or UVAC, handled nine of the 16 transports. Orono and Old Town fire and rescue crews took two concertgoers apiece. Capital Ambulance Services and emergency responders from Bangor also assisted by transporting the remainder of the patients.
Ambulances from Orono transported four other individuals from the campus that night, but those patients weren’t included in the university’s count because the ambulances picked them up in different spots on campus.
The day of Dayglow was also Maine Day, so many UMaine students were also celebrating a day off from classes. Orono Fire Chief Buddy Webb said some of those calls could have been related to Maine Day festivities rather than the concert.
Orono Town Manager Sophie Wilson said Tuesday that Orono won’t have to incur the costs of the ambulance runs to UMaine. The individuals taken to the hospital by the ambulance will have to foot the bill themselves, officials from the ambulance services said.
Myles Block, chief of service for UVAC, said his group’s staff of about 70 drivers and emergency medical technicians prepared well in advance of the concert.
Block said he did some research after finding out that Dayglow was coming to UMaine and found several stories about injuries and arrests at similar events in other campus towns.
In December, a Dayglow concert at Lehigh University in Northampton County, Pa., was classified as a “mass casualty event” when about 35 attendees had to be shuttled to area hospitals and six others were arrested, according to The Express-Times.
After reading that article and others similar to it, Block said he called other universities to see what officials did to prepare and ask what they would have done differently.
“I think we had just under 30 [emergency medical technicians] that were in field teams or [the] triage area,” Block said.
He also reached out to surrounding communities to ask for their assistance.
“We only have six ambulances available close to campus,” Block said, adding that Orono and Old Town need to keep at least one ambulance in their bays at all times in case an emergency arises in those towns.
Dana said he was pleased with the steps university staff and area emergency responders took to prepare themselves for the event and that the crews handled themselves and concertgoers well.
“Thousands of students had a wonderful time and a small number of people misbehaved and ended up in trouble,” Dana said.
Dillon Hough, 20, of Yarmouth and Brandon Bell-Colfer, 23, of Farmingdale were refused admittance to the Field House because they were visibly intoxicated, according to UMaine spokesman Ron Lisnet. Both men — neither of whom is a UMaine student — refused to leave and were arrested and charged with criminal trespass.
They were the only arrests of the night, Lisnet said.
“Most students, most participants had a fun time that was appropriate,” Dana said.