We reported how the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission made a sneaky move and voted to lift its temporary ban on raves earlier this month when no one was looking (and when some of its more rave-wary members were clearly unable to attend).
Well, the body on Wednesday gave rave critics another shot at the issue, and the result is that the first big event of 2011, the controversial Electric Daisy Carnival, will have to be pre-approved by the commission at least 60 days before the June event.
The commission voted unanimously to make prior approval of the party a must.
Among some of the more interesting comments at the Exposition Park meeting:
-Coliseum general manager Patrick Lynch said that rave culture “is really starting to go very mainstream” and noted that even Disneyland has an “elecTRONica” exhibit. He dropped names (electronic music adherents from the Black Eyed Peas to David Guetta) like Andy Dick trying to get into a club.
-“They've been at the Hollywood Bowl,” said commission President Barry Sanders, referring to raves. (It's a notion that's so untrue as to be laughable).
-“If they were in your neighborhood what would you do?” said Exposition Park-area resident Carol Black.
The two commission board members most opposed to raves were Grove mall developer Rick Caruso, often mentioned as an L.A. mayoral hopeful (and a guy who never fails to park a couple-hundred grand worth of car wherever he travels) and county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
“I do think it's morally wrong to have these events,” Caruso said. “… Why are we planning an event where we know that the likely hood of somebody getting hurt or dying is very very high?”
Ridley-Thomas: “None of the (pro-rave) arguments trump the fundamental question of public health and public safety … There is no compelling reason why the moratorium has to be lifted.”
Ultimately, however, county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky proposed a compromise by which the next event (a New Year's Eve rave was already scheduled under contract) has to come before the commission for specific approval … or denial.
The issue arose after last June's Electric Daisy Carnival, which drew about 160,000 people over two days at the Coliseum. A 15-year-old raver, Sasha Rodriguez, died from an overdose after having attended the event on ecstasy.
More than 200 medical emergencies and 60 arrests — mostly drug related — were reported at EDC, and some gate crashing inside the venue appeared to be chaotic and dangerous.
The issues led some politicians, including L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, to question why publicly owned venues such as the Coliseum and its sister spot, the Sports Arena, were being used four times a year for raves.
The spotlight focused on the commission, and so the body put a temporary ban on raves before lifting it earlier this month.
EDC promoter Pasquale Rotella on Wednesday afternoon stated:
“We are very pleased with the decision of the Coliseum Commission to once again allow electric music festivals at the Coliseum and Sports Arena. It is clear that the Commission recognized the effectiveness of the new safety measures that we have already implemented, including thorough checks of identification and having medical personnel on standby during the events. Our intention, since the first Electric Daisy Carnival over 13 years ago at the Shrine Auditorium, has always been to provide the most entertaining and safe music festivals in Los Angeles. We look forward to working with Coliseum Commission to produce shows that not only set the trends when it comes to live entertainment, but are safe and secure for our guests.”