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L.A. Coliseum board extends ban on new raves, bans minors from scheduled raves [Updated]


The panel overseeing the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Sports Arena voted Friday to continue a moratorium on new raves at the venues.

The board said several previously scheduled raves will be allowed to continue later this year. But those raves will face new restrictions, including banning minors from attending them.

[Updated at 8:55 p.m.: In front of a packed meeting room, members of the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission told rave producers that the three upcoming events, on Aug. 21, in October and on New Year's Eve, offered them one last chance to clean up their act. The safety of the two-day dance parties came under question after the suspected drug overdose death of a 15-year-old girl June 29 at the Electric Daisy Carnival, which had an age limit of 16.

“You’re on probation,” Coliseum Commissioner David Israel told Pasquale Rotella, founder of Insomniac Events, which produced the Electric Daisy Carnival where Sasha Rodriguez apparently overdosed. “The question is whether you wind up gone or back in society.”

The commission -- the joint state, county and city board that oversees the venue and whose meetings rarely draw more than a handful of people -- also ordered that future raves enforce a strict age limit of 18 by checking identification; hire a team of emergency room doctors to work on site; and warn rave-goers about the dangers of the illegal drug Ecstasy, which is seen by some rave attendees as an integral part of the experience.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said he would have liked to go further, and postpone all future raves immediately, but has been told by the Coliseum’s lawyers that the venue is contractually bound to host them.

Yaroslavsky challenged Rotella and other rave producers to move the culture of raves away from celebrating the use of Ecstasy, the illegal stimulant and hallucinogen suspected of causing Rodriguez’s death.

“You know you’ve got Ecstasy and other drug problems at these concerts.… You have influence over what your acts are saying. Can’t you put your thinking cap on and create a new dynamic in the arena?” Yaroslavsky asked. “Do something proactive … that keeps your patrons alive.”

Rotella declined to respond. His lawyer, Simon Rust Lamb, said Rotella’s company has hired a consulting firm to review its safety and security protocols.

Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks defended the events, saying he believes only about 5% of attendees engage in illegal acts.

“There are no perfect events,” he said. “I don’t think we should leave here thinking that we will have things in the future with no incidents.”

Rotella subsequently read a prepared statement that said Insomnaic’s fans “deserve only the best, whether it be the world-class artists we bring to Los Angeles or the industry-leading security measures we have implemented to make sure they safely enjoy themselves.”

Some members of the audience applauded the decision to give raves another chance.

Tess Fish, 20, a UC Davis student back in Los Angeles for the summer, called these raves “our generation’s Woodstock.”

A ban “would be really sad. It would be a huge impact to the SoCal raver scene,” Fish said.

On the other side, Aisha Armer, 19, of Laguna Niguel said the Coliseum needs a ban to protect young people.

Armer said she attended the Electric Daisy Carnival in 2009 and took Ecstasy because all of her friends were doing it.

She later had a massive convulsion and wound up at Good Samaritan Hospital, where she suffered multiorgan failure, four strokes and fell into a two-month coma, said her mother, Debbie Macaluso.

Only recently did Armer relearn how to walk and talk.

“Everyone knows you take drugs at this rave,” Armer said, her slowed speech showing the effects of the strokes. ”I want to prevent this from happening to other people. As long as these go on, people are going to get hurt.” ]

Emergency room physicians in recent weeks have called for a ban on raves at the two venues, saying that use of the illegal drug Ecstasy is widespread at raves and that those who overdose flood nearby hospitals, putting them at risk for critical illness and death.

The Coliseum and Sports Arena, which are on state land, operate on event revenues and receive no taxpayer subsidy. Raves — electronic music events that can last 12 hours and feature nonstop dancing — are highly profitable, and the Coliseum or Sports Arena has held four each year since 2008: the Electric Daisy Carnival in June, the Love Festival in August, Monster Massive around Halloween and Together as One on New Year's Eve.

In response to a public records act request from the Los Angeles Times, the Coliseum management declined to disclose how much it was making from each rave, saying that maintaining confidentiality is critical to keeping the Coliseum competitive in seeking event bookings.

It is clear, however, that raves are big business. The number of attendees has increased dramatically in recent years. In 2009, the Electric Daisy Carnival attracted about 135,000 people over two days; this year, 185,000 attended — the highest number any such rave has attracted since the Coliseum and Sports Arena began hosting the events in the 1990s.

The cost to attend the Electric Daisy Carnival on June 25 was $75 while the cost June 26 was $85; a ticket for both days was $149.

--Rong-Gong Lin II reporting from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Photo: Revenue from events such as the Electric Daisy Carnival is a significant part of the L.A. Coliseum and Sports Arena budget, an official says.

Credit: John W. Adkisson / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (13)

This Rong-Gong Lin II guy is trying to make a name for himself as a journalist by spreading sensationalism. It's really disturbing.

I've been a journalist for 15 years and I've been associated with electronic dance culture for 20 years now.

Things like Electric Daisy Carnival aren't a rave. It's that simple. It's a music festival that plays electronic music.

This guy Rong-Gong Lin II has been writing all these articles and he doesn't even understand his subject matter with any depth. It's pathetic, but he continues to throw out this term "rave" which has been so corrupted by the media to induce fear that it distorts all balanced and objective discourse of the subject matter.

Why is it that Rap music which is inherently mysogynistic and negative gets a free pass, but electronic music which is positive and hopeful receives so much criticism? It makes no sense to me.

I will say one thing, at these music festivals I have seen people be more friendly and respectful than I ever see in normal events. It's enheartening.

But we don't want to talk about that, do we? We want to spread fear.

Completely irresponsible journalism.

By the way, it takes A LOT of effort and organization and months and months of preparation to produce one of these events.

The production values were like nothing I've ever seen before. It was amazing.

What's wrong with the producers making some money off an event of that scale? Are they supposed to work for free? I thought we valued hard work, entrepeneurialism, and creativity in this society.

I guess we don't if our name is Rong-Gong Il. Instead we just imply that this event was about nothing more than money.

Where is this guy's priorities as a writer at to distort things so heavily?

The thing is that people from this community are gentle people and they dress ridiculously so they're easy targets. Rong-Gong Il fits the classic psychological profile of a bully.

" Raves — electronic music events that can last 12 hours and feature nonstop dancing"

I want to know who defined this term. I used to run a music magazine and this isn't the definition we came up with. Who's the so-called "expert" to produce this kind of definition?

This writer knows nothing of his subject matter.

I am way too old now for these things, but I remember when I was in my early twenties going to raves all the time and still have great memories of them.

One person, ONE PERSON dies out of HUNDREDS of thousands over two decades and its banned?? Really??? Are we to ban driving them next, as the casualty rates is ten fold? Hiking? Skiing? Surfing??

Maybe the kids can hike down to the airport and listen to the jet engines . . .

It's the old adage of NIMBY aka Not In My Backyard. I think it was 124 ravers were treated and lived besides the 1 girl who took the Ecstasy and died. With the raves banned to the deserts, more will die because of no local treatment, and the city can feel happy that their citizens died somewhere else.

Of course they extended the ban...That's ALL the "Good Christians" can do...Ban this...Ban that...Forbid this...Forbid that!!

"Were protecting the children"...BS!!! YOU LIKE THE POWER!!!!

Christians think everybody should stay home and READ YOUR BIBLE!!! (While your religious leaders party at the private strip club and snort coke off of the private parts of their gay lovers!!)

What about the MONEY????

I guess Los Angeles has plenty of money...That means Los Angeles will cancel all the layoffs and rehire all those people who lost their job. Now that LA has so much money they don't need Raves, Medical Marijuana or anything else for that matter! The "Good Christians" will support LA through donations...RIGHT?

There the ones making the decisions that effect everybody!!

LA civic leaders are totally clueless. Everyone knows rave=drugs. How they could they allow these to go on at public venues is mind boggling. Duh!

What Rave event does not have the use of Ecstasy? Answer: Unless, I'm myopic; I see none whatsoever. Raves and the use of "E" goes hand in hand; plain and simple. As ironic as I may sound; America is a land of illicit unethical drugs being used wantonly, especially such as this venue.

And according to this two day event; 185,000 people attended this Rave Event. If that many people attended this event, at $75 per ticket; do the math--that's more than, $13 million! Putting a ban on Rave is not the panacea here in this city.

Yes, I understand the city does not want to be sued as a result of someone dying. However; on the other hand, the City of Los Angeles--badly needs the capital. People are going to take drugs in order to get that euphoria effect no mater what the consequences are. It's a catch 22 quagmire--damn if you do and damn if you don't!

I believe that a lot of you are failing to grasp some of the basic concepts of raves and their consequences.

Let me start by saying, yes, ravers are notorious for taking drugs. Before you jump down my throat stop and think, why do they have this reputation, quite simply because people at raves do use drugs. I am not saying that every raver takes E or that even a majority of them do, but a significant enough porportion does. I attended EDC this year, and many people tried to sell me drugs. That's a fact.

Next, I believe that raves are totally legal, and should continue. To Jon K., they are very profitable and bring in revenue for both the city and the colesium. I don't believe that anyone is ragging on Insomniac Events for making a buck. However, they're ragging on him for making a buck at the expense of people's lives.

By the way EDC originally stood for "Electric Dance Carnival", and if you have ever attended a rave you know that is basically a HUGE dance party with live artists and multiple stages.

At MaxersLA, the reason the raves are on probation is not because just one girl died. The reason is that that girl died because of an event that took place on city land. For the city that is a huge liability, think of it from their stand point. They could very well have faced a lawsuit from that girls parents. Because of this it is exactly a case of NIMBY, would you want some 15 year old girl to overdose on E in your house? Especially if you might be held liable?

Please, think before you spout off and generally embarrass yourself.

rave on, wasn't that the name of an old song?

ah, stoaked for the minor ban, finally we can enjoy the music freely without any chaos from stupid people at EPIC concerts.

as for that "christian" comment, religion plays no part in this, i am very religious but still chose to go to these events for the music. some people are just dumb and like to protest things, sometimes its backed by their religion, or sometimes they're just plain stupid lame-o's that like to suck the fun away from life. Jesus Christ has nothing to do with it :) LAME people DO :)

sorry for that rant. just voicing my personal opinion.

glad to read that the coloseum is "contractually bound to host them" as in thes EPIC MUSIC FESTIVAL,not RAVES.

i hate that they're calling them raves when its a music festival. :/

anywho :]

see ya'll at EDC next year @ the coloseum! :)

They do need to make all raves 18+ im am too soo sick of little kids running around being stupic at these music events!!..but stoping raves all together is crazy!!..everyone at these events all all so positive and caring 4 one another..its just the stupid people who dont know there levels and it ruins it for everyone else!!..thx for reading!!!!!


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