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Policing the Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival

Posted at 8:35 PM, Mar 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-04 17:55:12-05

If you're attending the sold-out Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival, you don't want to end up in the law enforcement staging area.

Several agencies will be on hand throughout the event, and about 100 law enforcement personnel will be staffing the festival each day.

On Thursday, the festival hadn't officially started yet, and already, they were pretty busy.

Lineup: Mumford & Sons, Skrillex, Kendrick Lamar, Robert Plant, Hall & Oates, more

Law enforcement says about 25,000 to 30,000 people will descend on Okeechobee over the next few days to enjoy a weekend of music and art -- and most are there to have a good, safe time.

Others, however, have different motives in mind.

Live blog: Social posts from the #okeechobeefest

Okeechobee County deputies busted one concert goer Thursday, who deputies said was trying to make his way inside with meth pills.

Officers are at the festival are looking for drug paraphernalia, randomly stopping cars as they make their way in.

Undercover officers are also making their way through the crowds.

"As of right now we're somewhere around 20 arrests, with ecstasy, heroin, marijuana," says Lieutenant Robert Coleman.

Those arrested will be processed in a make shift holding area - provided by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's office.

Officials with the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office says this is all uncharted territory.

"This is the first time we've ever done anything like this at this magnitude with this type of crowd," Lieutenant Coleman says.

Law enforcement says they do, however, have the resources necessary to keep everyone safe.

The festival is set to get underway on Friday. The first bands will take the stage at noon.