[Update, Aug. 3, 1:50 p.m.: HARD and Live Nation have released a joint statement regarding the deaths. See below for the full statement as well as other updates.]
ABC7 News has reported that two unidentified women died of “suspected drug overdoses” at the HARD Summer Festival on Saturday. Their names were not immediately released.
The deaths were separate incidents. The first woman, an 18-year-old, reportedly collapsed at the festival and was transported to nearby
Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center San Dimas Community Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 6:04 p.m. The second woman, age 19, died at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center at 8:10 p.m., after she was “found unresponsive” at the festival.
Although ABC7 attributed both deaths to drug overdoses, the cause of death for both women likely will not be known for several weeks, pending toxicology reports. Daytime temperatures in Pomona yesterday reached 90 degrees, so dehydration and heat stroke may have also played a role.
Throughout the festival yesterday, which began at noon and ended at 11 p.m., and reportedly pulled a paid attendance of 65,000, L.A. Weekly saw numerous attendees clearly feeling the effects of heat stroke, intoxication or a combination of the two. We heard several reports of attendees vomiting in the restrooms and saw similar accounts all over social media. Around 6:30 p.m., we encountered medical staff attending to a semi-conscious man with a bloody face, who had apparently passed out and fallen face first into a concrete walkway.
The HARD Summer organizers have taken some steps to make conditions at the Pomona Fairplex less dangerous, including installing two free water refilling stations (elsewhere around the festival, bottled water costs $4) and turning one of the Fairplex's buildings into an air-conditioned “cooling station” with a beverage vendor and carpeted floors for hot attendees to sprawl on.
At last year's HARD Summer, held at Whittier Narrows Recreation Area, another young woman, 19-year-old Emily Tran, died of an apparent drug overdose. In 2013, when the festival took place at L.A. State Historic Park in downtown Los Angeles, there was another death, but authorities later determined that 21-year-old Jonathan Reyes died of natural causes.
HARD Summer resumes today at noon at the Pomona Fairplex, with headlining sets by Ratatat and Jack Ü, featuring Diplo and Skrillex. Another 65,000 attendees are expected. According to Weather.com, daytime temperatures will reach 91 degrees.
[Update, Aug. 3, 8:15 a.m.: According to the Los Angeles Times, L.A. County supervisors are demanding a full investigation into the two deaths. The Fairplex is on land mostly owned by the L.A. County government.]
[Update, Aug. 3, 1:25 p.m.: The L.A. County coroner's office has identified the 18-year-old deceased attendee as Tracy Nguyen of West Covina. The 19-year-old woman has still not been identified. In response to the deaths, L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis has announced that she will introduce a motion at tomorrow's Board of Supervisors meeting calling for a temporary ban on electronic music festivals on L.A. County property.]
[Update, Aug. 3, 1:50 p.m.: The statement from HARD and Live Nation regarding the deaths reads as follows: “At this weekend’s HARD Summer festival at Fairplex in Pomona, CA, two patrons were transported from the site to nearby hospitals in two separate incidents. One patron was suffering from cardiac arrest and the other from possible seizure symptoms. Event EMT, security, Pomona Police Department and L.A. County Fire Department responded immediately and took appropriate action to provide care as soon as possible. Unfortunately, both patrons have passed away. The cause of death is still under investigation. We extend our deepest sympathies to their families and friends.”]