Ecstasy-fueled parties at public venues like the L.A. Sports Arena are supposed to be on very thin ice. One more slip up, public officials said, and raves are over at these taxpayer-run properties.
So it'll be interesting to see what the officials' responses are after New Year's Eve's "Together As One" rave at the sports arena. Authorities reported typically alarming numbers: 62 medical emergencies, 17 hospitalizations and 25 arrests.
Not exactly the kind of numbers put up by rock concerts or sports events, despite the arguments by some Coliseum/Sports Arena officials that raves are no different in terms of medical emergencies and crime.
A Los Angeles police official told the Weekly that 15 of the 25 arrests were drug-related.
Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department said he couldn't estimate how many of the medical emergencies were drug-related, but that "some people were having issues with their level of consciousness."
The county coroner's office stated that it had not been notified of any deaths Saturday related to the Friday night rave.
The party drew as many as 45,000 people, according to City News Service, and featured DJs Diplo, Markus Schulz, Richard Vission and more.
It capped off a year of controversy of what the Weekly has dubbed megaraves at the Coliseum and Sports Arena -- held at a clip of four a year and the source of hundreds of medical emergencies that some officials have admitted were mostly ecstasy related.
The ecstasy-related death of a 15-year-old girl, Sasha Rodriguez, at last summer's Electric Daisy Carnival
Together As One party at the Coliseum set off second thoughts about hosting the big raves at public venues.
That event, by one of the promoters of Friday's party, Insomniac Events, saw about 60 drug-related arrests and 226 medical emergencies
hospitalizations. Police told the Weekly about 160,000 people attended the June, two-day rave.
But ultimately the Coliseum Commission, citing revenues and new safety measures including an 18-and-up door policy, decided to let the shows go on.
The Weekly reported last week that the events have been the source of more than a few ecstasy-related deaths in the past five years -- one source stated they happened at a rate of about one a year -- and that smaller parties have a much better track record as far as medical emergencies and police actions go.
Faced with two ecstasy-related deaths and several medical emergencies -- despite stricter policing, an 18-and-older door policy and more medical personnel on-site -- the Bay Area's Cow Palace this year pulled the plug on its own megaraves.
[Added: Numbers revised upward to reflect 226 medical emergencies, not 200, at "EDC"]. For 2010, including Together As One, the Weekly counts at least 372 medical emergencies related to large raves in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Francisco, including at least 325 tied to parties at the the Coliseum/Sports Arena property.
There were at least four deaths tied to megaraves in California in 2010, including the demise of Rodriguez, two overdoses tied to Cow Palace events, and the subsequent, drug-related death of a man who had attended last year's Together As One.
By way of comparison, April 4's Baja earthquake, which we noted was "bigger than Haiti" and felt by 20 million people in the Southwest United States, is said to have killed four people and injured 100.
Update: TAO co-promoter Pasquale Rotella, who's also behind EDC, states:
"Last night's event was successful thanks to the music fans, the DJs and the combined efforts of local law enforcement, the Fire Department, the Sports Arena staff, and all of the others who contributed to this event. It's great to have so many people coming together to enjoy DJs and have a safe, good time."