As the 14th annual Electric Daisy Carnival came to its close, LA Coliseum officials were forced to contemplate the booking of future raves when they came under fire for a teenage girl's death among many injuries during the event.
Electric Daisy Carnival, commonly referred to as EDC, is a popular two day music festival featuring world renowned performing artists, electronic music, carnival rides, and numerous stages decked with unique visual lighting among other stage effects. With such appealing elements, EDC is known to draw massive crowds to the Coliseum which oftentimes leads to mayhem and drug consumption, particularly MDMA, popularly known as ecstasy.
When the suspected drug-related death of 15 year old Sasha Rodriguez sparked an uproar of criticisms, Coliseum Commission president Barry Sanders prompted a moratorium on rave events until the full commission addressed the issue.
The controversy only worsened when YouTube videos surfaced and depicted overflowing crowds trying to break into the main stage despite security intervention. One video captured security personnel desperately trying to pull sardine-packed ravers out of a small passage as shoving crowds began to stampede over them. A bloodied teenage girl emerges from the riot and frantically makes way for medical attention while an unconscious boy is seen dragged out for assistance. In other videos, attendees were seen climbing over fences and plummeting to the grounds below, joining the crowd on the main stage despite efforts by security to stop them.
With 226 reported injuries (114 of which needing hospital attention) and 118 arrests, Los Angeles officials were dragged into the fray and were criticized for allowing the Coliseum to sanction such an event.
But while it only seems practical to blame and point the finger at Los Angeles and Coliseum officials, why isn't the behavior of the attendees being addressed?
If a boy is playing dangerously near a well and falls in, who do you blame: the negligent boy or the inanimate well? That same sentiment goes for this dispute. Why blame the people who put together this successful event that is running on its 14th year when it's those who are attending that are causing the stirrup and ruining it for everyone?
Doctors tending to Rodriguez told her parents that her respiratory arrest was probably triggered by the ecstasy found in her system. Though ecstasy is illegal, "pill popping" is an inescapable reality at EDC. But are the Los Angeles and Coliseum officials to blame when it was Rodriguez who acquired and consumed the drug? Are the officials responsible for the mass distribution and consumption of the drug of both the drug-related casualties and those who left EDC in one piece? Are the organizers responsible for the individuals who premeditated drug consumption at EDC just so they could enhance their experience?
And though security may not have been effective in handling the problems as displayed on the various YouTube videos, to hold them accountable for teenagers who are clearly trying to breach an already crowded area is just absurd. If you look closely enough in the YouTube video where the violent traffic jam is shown, you'll be able to make out a sign that reads 'Exit Only," yet even so, you have a crowd pushing forward and shoving others, trampling over helpless teenagers in the process just so they could party and pull the stage capacity to its limits.
In addition, people are climbing over fences and plopping to the floor in a tuck and roll that's almost absolutely vital in order to recover from the steep plummet. Not only are they risking injury, but upon landing, the ravers scramble to their feet and flee as security weaves in and out of crowds to chase them and throw them back to the stands. And the fact that people are cheering them on and encouraging them to fall and break both their bodies and the rules just contributes to the problem.
In a crowd that is estimated to have reached a population of 185,000, problems will most certainly occur; however, many of the problems that have arise are due to the immaturity and the ill-intentions of those who capitalize on the success of EDC.
Ravers and first-time attendees must remember that these events are held to celebrate the music, not to initiate riots and take drugs. In addition, they must also take heed to whatever safety procedures are set in the venues to avoid tragic consequences. Following EDC's events were a cancellation of other music events such as HARD L.A. while Fresh Squeezed required relocation for safety purposes. Unfortunately, it is the unruly conduct of crowds that has potentially damaged the future of raves at the expense of the city and those who abide by the rules and play it safe.
Neil Protacio Posted on: 7/14/10