Across the country, defense attorneys routinely advertise their services to festival-goers who end up in police custody. There’s the Johnson Law Group, for example, which claims on its website to be “recognized by many as the “Summer Camp Music Festival Law Firm,” referring to an event in Chillicothe, Ill. There’s Lawyers for Burners, a Nevada group that has been defending Burning Man participants for years. And in Connecticut, where Gathering of the Vibes is held, lawyer Jay Ruane attends the festival wearing a shirt that reads “Constitution Enforcement Agent” and hands out his business cards.
Sometimes, lawyers promoting their availability run afoul of festival promoters. That was the case with Stephanie Arrache, a criminal defense lawyer in Southern California, who practices just outside Indio, where the Coachella and StageCoach festivals are held. She estimates half of her clientele are people arrested at the local festivals, some of whom find her through her website, TheMusicFestivalLawyer.com. This year, Arrache bought Facebook ads using hashtags associated with Coachella and Stagecoach. Shortly afterward, she said, she received a cease-and-desist letter from the festival’s organizers, AEG Live, threatening to sue and claiming the event’s hashtags had been copyrighted.
One lawyer and festival enthusiast has taken a different approach. Cameron Bowman is a former prosecutor turned criminal defense attorney who has made it his mission to educate attendees about their rights. He doesn’t market himself to people arrested at these gatherings, but rather holds educational workshops where participants can test their knowledge of Constitutional Rights and festival law, including a segment entitled: “Do you even 4th Amendment, Bro?”