SoCal Leader Calls for a Rave Ban Redux

Hard Summer 2016EXPAND
Hard Summer 2016
Shane Lopes/L.A. Weekly

Following the deaths of three ravers at last month's Hard Summer festival in Fontana, one area politician is calling for another look at a rave ban.

San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford has asked her fellow board members to reconsider her call for a ban on raves at San Manuel Amphitheater in Devore ahead of Insomniac’s upcoming Nocturnal Wonderland party, which is scheduled to take place there over Labor Day Weekend .

Both Insomniac and Hard have seen multiple deaths at their events in the last six years. Ecstasy is usually cited by coroner's investigators as a factor, if not the sole culprit.

Following their attendance at the two-day Hard Summer last month, Derek Lee, 22, of San Francisco, Alyssa Dominguez, 21, of San Diego and Roxanne Ngo, 22, of Chino Hills died of causes that have yet to be determined.

"We were deeply saddened to learn about the deaths of three people who attended the festival this weekend," Hard said in a statement. "While the causes of the deaths have not yet been determined, we ask everyone to keep them in their prayers. Our sincerest thoughts and condolences are with their family and friends."

Two young women died of drug intoxication following Hard Summer at the Fairplex in Pomona last year, prompting an unsuccessful call for a possible rave ban at Los Angeles County–run facilities and a statement from Fairplex officials that no more raves would be held there in 2016.

Rutherford previously asked the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors to limit or ban the parties at San Manuel Amphitheater because neighbors have complained about noise. Her office says that the promoter, in this case, Insomniac partner Live Nation, asked that the rules be bent so the raves could go later than usual, 2 a.m., in exchange for keeping noise levels down, which Rutherford says has not been the case.

"Devore residents are subjected to window-rattling noise until 2 a.m., drugged-out young people wandering through their yards, and intense traffic for entire weekends when the San Manuel Amphitheater hosts these events," she said. "The short-term economic benefits of these events do not outweigh the impacts they have on Devore residents, and they certainly do not warrant putting more young lives at risk."

Since 2013, two people have died after attending San Manuel Amphitheater events. But the National Orange Show Events Center and now the Auto Club Speedway also host electronic dance music parties in San Bernardino County.

Insomniac's Electric Daisy Carnival fled to Las Vegas in 2011 in the face of a threatened rave ban at its longtime home, the L.A. Coliseum. Promoters have been scrambling to find suitable SoCal venues ever since, and San Bernardino has been exceptionally welcoming.

Rutherford expressed concern that death seems to follow large dance music festivals wherever they go.

"My heart goes out to the families of the three young people who lost their lives while attending the rave at the California [Auto Club] Speedway," Rutherford said. "While the cause of these deaths is unknown at this time, we know that illegal drug use is rampant at these events and that many young lives have been lost because of drug use at raves. In light of these recent deaths, the Board of Supervisors should seriously consider banning these events from taking place at the county-owned San Manuel Amphitheater in Devore."

So far her fellow board members have not taken up the cause, however. Her spokesman says that she cannot reintroduce her own ban proposal.

"We cannot wait for more young lives to be lost before we decide enough is enough," Rutherford said.

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