Rave Standoff in Hollywood: Cops Move in to Disperse Crowds That Came to See DJ Kaskade
Kaskade spins on Hollywood Boulevard.
Updated at the bottom: LAPD detectives are investigating last night's events. A permit service source says organizers had planned to have Kaskade as a big part of the red-carpet festivities. AND EDC's promoter had earlier indicated it was hosting the screening and that it would "include a Wonderland-flavored, red carpet extravaganza complete with carnival sensations, performers and world-class acrobats" -- staples of its late-night events. First posted at 10:41 Wednesday night.
Ah, the great raver standoff of 2011. So what happened?
Here's the story, from what we know: A pre-premier of sorts for a rave promoter's in-house documentary on the Electronic Daisy Carnival party (Electric Daisy Carnival Experience) was scheduled for 7:30 tonight at the Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. Afterward? A very special spin session from superstar DJ Kaskade at nearby Supperclub.
... for some reason, someone had Kaskade schedule a set before the screening outside the Chinese Theater. From what we understand, that show was even permitted via the usual authorities.
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Kaskade tweeted that he was doing a free open-air show outside the theater this afternoon, however, and all hell broke loose from there.
He called it a free "block party:"
Today@6pm in Hollywood @Mann's Chinese Theatre. ME+BIG SPEAKERS+MUSIC=BLOCK PARTY!!! RT!
Some rave discussion boards buzzed with news of a free show from a guy who could pack the Palladium with $100-a-ticket party-goers. So it was on.
People -- ravers? -- showed up in droves for the event, and by 7 p.m., Capt. Matt Blake told us reporters at the scene, cops got a call from the theater complaining of an unruly crowd outside. The show, then, didn't go on, and as cops showed up to disperse the crowd -- about 800 strong -- some folks went apeshit, fought in the street, and jumped on top of at least three police cars.
Ravers on the boulevard.
CuriousJosh for LA Weekly
A sergeant told the Weekly one of the cars that got dented and bashed in was his. One car got its windshield smashed.
LAPD rolls on the boulevard.
Police declared a tactical alert [actually this isn't true; see more at the bottom] and officers arrived en masse to Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue and then pushed West. Hollywood Boulevard was shut down from Highland Avenue to La Brea Avenue.
A stubborn crowd of ravers, which also included some seemingly trapped-and-innocent tourists, set up camp at Sycamore Avenue and Hollywood and wouldn't budge. Some took to the street, stood on top of skateboards and took cellphone video of the cops that by then had them surrounded.
Witness Richard Harris who helps run a nearby Hostel told the Weekly that he saw crowd members throwing rocks and bottles. "They (crowd members) beat the snot out of one kid on the street," he said.
Of the event's promoters, he said:
They knew what was going to happen. They should have been prepared for it. But they weren't.
(Yes Richard, when we heard about this Wednesday afternoon we really didn't believe it. Would a promoter that got in hot water for unruly crowds at EDC last year -- a promoter that wants to come back to the publicly owned Coliseum -- risk it by being associated with a near riot. It had the feeling of a bad publicity stunt from the get go to us).
Leila Velez, who runs nearby Madame Tussauds told us that as the crowds outside the Chinese Theater were dispersing they attacked the business' Marilyn Monroe wax figure and made off with its shoes. [Added]: She later recovered the shoes.
Ravers defiled Marilyn's shoes!
A few of the crowd members were arrested, and after that most of the others dispersed by 9 p.m. The Los Angeles Times and Fox 11 News reported that cops fired non-lethal projectiles at crowd members, but we didn't see that, and LAPD officials didn't say that happened. [They were right, see below].
We saw three people taken into custody, but it looked like two were released. Blake did not have arrest numbers.
Blake said he believed the problem started because people couldn't get into the theater, but that wasn't the case. It was all about the buzz over a free Kaskade show.
Interestingly, the screening went on.
This LAPD patrol car marks the chillout area for ravers near Hollywood & Highland.
CuriousJosh for LA Weekly
EDC promoter Pasquale Rotella blamed the unruliness on a "small group" of idiots and said the Kaskade session had nothing to do with the screening (though the Kaskade after party was paired with the screening in invites to press and VIPs):
I want to make clear that while this film showcased an Insomniac event, Insomniac had nothing to do with the supposed "block party," which was not a part of the premiere. The crowd issues that arose were a result of individuals responding to social media information, which mistakenly led them to believe they could see artists perform.
The film was about the party, EDC, that got in trouble in 2010 for some chaotic moments: It also saw 60 arrests, 200 medical emergencies and the subsequent death of a 15-year-old girl who had taken ecstasy.
When asked what he was standing up against the police for, the one guy who seemed to remain in custody answered, "The cause dude, peace."
"I didn't do shit," he said. "I'm not going to let them tell me where to go or what to do."
What's really strange about this is that it looked like a sit-in with no cause.
And Kaskade, while one of our favorite DJs, is the nicest, most mellow guy. He was raised Mormon. I'm sure he wouldn't want people getting arrested in the name of his accessible, shiny, happy, big-room beats.
Like we said. Strange. It's July in Hollywood.
Update: The LAPD tells us three people were arrested and only one black-and-white was vandalized. No injuries were reported. Here's how City News Service broke down the arrests:
One man was in custody for failure to disperse, a transient woman for battery on a police officer and a 16-year-old boy for vandalism for allegedly jumping
on a police car, police said.
The Times and Fox 11 News were right: There were non-lethal rounds fired at crowd members at some point. LAPD spokesman Richard French told us they were "bean bag" rounds.
A Supperclub statement indicated it had nothing to do with the ruckus. The club's publicist also says:
DJ Kaskade decided to spread the love to all his fans and followers by attempting to put on a free show before the Electric Daisy Carnival movie premiere. It was his choice to give back to the community, and wanted nothing but to have a fun, free show for all the fans to enjoy. supperclub los angeles is disappointed to the unfortunate crowd reaction and disturbance caused this evening.
Update No. 2: L.A. Bureau of Street Services spokesman says the permit for a red carpet film screening (including a Hollywood Boulevard lane closure) was taken out by "Supperclub / Kaskade."
He says they did not have a permit for amplified sound as far as he knows.
Tamar Aprahamian, spokeswoman for Supperclub, says the venue had nothing to do with the screening but flew Kaskade in for the after-party. The decision to set up CD turntables and a sound system on the red carpet and then broadcast the free gig, she says, was his:
An impromptu dance circle near Hollywood & Highland.
CuriousJosh for LA Weekly
It was Kaskade's choice to do a free show for his fans. He totally took that upon himself to tweet about it.
Asked about EDC promoter Insomniac's statement that it had nothing to do with the stunt, Aprahamian said, "That could very well be true."
By the way, the after-party apparently went on, with $100 to $150 tickets sold to the public, she said:
"They had a rocking time. I wish I was able to get in."
Update No. 3: A representative of a permit service hired to get city permission for the event says the lane-closure permit was taken out solely by Supperclub, but that Kaskade's name was added because he was made out as a key feature of the happening.
According to the rep's understanding of the request, which the source says was made "last minute" Wednesday morning, Kaskade was to make a grand arrival in some sort of truck. Thus the lane-closure. Insurance for the event was taken out by Supperclub, the source believes.
[Added]: Actually this YouTube video demonstrates that that's what happened: Kaskade was DJing atop a slow-moving truck on Hollywood Boulevard at Highland. When it turns a corner young people appear to flood the street. Interestingly women dressed as the kind of dancers often hired to perform at EDC accompany the truck.
The source says it was understood that "there may have been music playing" during his arrival, but that there was no sense that there would be a show, concert or a DJ session.
Kaskade's name was added to the permit for filing purposes only -- it was actually spelled "Cascade" -- to denote that the DJ would be a key part of the red-carpet premier (Kaskade also stars in the documentary and has been a marquee attraction for Electric Daisy Carnival).
The source thinks that the venue also obtained fire department approval for its indoor screening crowd.
It's interesting to note here that organizers planned, at least the morning of, to have Kaskade appear as a major part of the red-carpet festivities.
And why the last-minute permit?
We received an invite and press release for the event as far back as July 22, six days before the happening. It states (with interesting points here emphasized in bold by us):
Insomniac Events confirmed today that it will present the world premiere of ELECTRIC DAISY CARNIVAL EXPERIENCE on July 27 at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood followed by an after-party hosted by Kaskade at The Supper Club. The screening will take place at 7:30pm, and include a Wonderland-flavored, red carpet extravaganza complete with carnival sensations, performers and world-class acrobats.
[Added]: It was pointed out to us there was a lot of misinformation coming from social media circles during and after last night's events. We got caught up in it too: The LAPD tells us there was not tactical alert declared -- that it had enough officers in the Hollywood Division on-hand to handle things.
Also noted: TV news reports of cop cars set on fire -- not true.
So, publicity stunt? Check out this photo posted to the Electric Daisy Carnival Experience Facebook page.
Update No. 4: Asked if a bill for policing might be sent to organizers of the stunt, an LAPD spokesman told us that the situation was being investigated by Hollywood detectives.