When L.A. State Historic Park underwent renovations earlier this year, the Hard Summer festival was forced to move to a new location. They chose Whittier Narrows Recreation Center in the San Gabriel Valley. Reviews for the new spot were mixed; it's further out, but a much bigger space.
But according to sources with inside information who wish to remain anonymous, Hard Summer will not be coming back to the L.A. County-managed property.
The reason appears to be related to a spate of arrests at Hard Summer this year, and a death.
On day two of the event, August 3, a 19-year-old female festival attendee had seizures and died at a hospital the next morning; a drug overdose is suspected. According to one of our sources, the death, as well as sneak-ins and arrests, contributed to the decision not to bring the festival back.
About 77,000 people in total attended this year. As the Weekly's Dennis Romero reported, Sheriff's Deputy Johnnie K. Jones said there were 140 arrests over the weekend. [This paragraph has been corrected. See below.]
There were 73 arrests Sunday, including 13 felonies, 12 of those narcotics related. Of those 12, seven were for suspicion of drug sales, and five were for possession.
On Saturday there were 67 arrests, nine of them for alleged felonies. Eight of the nine were narcotics-related. Six of those nine were for alleged sales.
All of the suspects were cited and released.
Most of the drug-related arrests involved ecstasy and all were for Schedule I, federally outlawed narcotics. Many of the more minor arrests were made by state Alcoholic Beverage Control agents who cited minors for having fake IDs.
Andre Herndon, public information officer for the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, said that there are no plans to have Hard Summer at Whittier Narrows next year.
It seems plausible that, owing to this latest death, officials are anticipating public pressure similar to what followed the overdose of a 15-year-old girl at Electric Daisy Carnival 2010, held at the L.A. Coliseum, a publicly-funded facility. EDC subsequently fled to Las Vegas, and has not returned.
Hard's publicist Alexandra Greenberg had this to say: “There is no information on plans for Hard Summer at this time as they are in heavy preparations for Day of the Dead.”
She's referring to Hard's other marquee event, will be held on November 1 and 2 at the Fairplex in Pomona.
Correction: The original version of this story said “most” Hard Summer arrests were drug related, but this is not the case. We regret the error.