10 News has spoken with several attendees who say they became sick after going to the festival, including one woman who said she tested positive for something she never expected.
“I feel disgusted because in order to get this kind of sickness, you have to have a cross-contamination with fecal matter,” festival attendee Lex Fullerton said.
Fullerton went to Blue Ridge Rock Fest for the music, but she told 10 News that she came home with much more than what she bargained for.
“I tested positive for Enteropathogenic E. coli,” Fullerton said.
She said her doctor told her this type of E. coli is mainly spread in food or water that has feces in it.
“The only time we had water that wasn’t bottled from our area was when we were in the festival,” Fullerton said.
Fullerton said she first started feeling sick on Thursday, her second day at the festival, but she chalked it up to heat exhaustion.
But by the time she got home on Monday, Fullerton said the pain was unbearable.
“I was in excruciating pain to the point where I was laying in bed holding my abdomen,” she said.
By that point, Fullerton had seen posts circulating on social media from fans who had attended the festival and then tested positive for Giardia - a tiny parasite found on surfaces, food and water that has been contaminated with feces.
“They said it’s not uncommon for campgrounds and stuff like that for you to catch it from campgrounds or festivals and stuff but that they were going to treat us anyway for Giardia before the test results just to be safe,” Fullerton said.
The only explanation Fullerton can think of was the water stations.
“The water stations were like a faucet. And you had to stick your hand over the sensor to fill up your water bottles. Well, people were getting their hands in the water, which means it probably wasn’t getting filtered out properly,” she said.
Since the festival, the Virginia Department of Health is investigating Fullerton’s complaint, along with other festival attendees claiming gastrointestinal illness stemming from the festival.
VDH released an online survey asking everyone who attended the festival to fill it out - even if they didn’t get sick.
10 News reached out to Blue Ridge Rock Fest for comment, but they have not gotten back to us.