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Winterfresh ticket-holders turned away after rave operator has to make last-minute venue change

December 4, 2010 | 10:44 pm

A large crowd of ticket-holders seeking entry to the Winterfresh Music Festival rave in San Bernardino was turned away Saturday night after the venue was filled to capacity, San Bernardino police said.

The Winterfresh dance event had been scheduled to take place at Los Angeles Center Studios in downtown L.A. on Saturday from noon to midnight. But the rave's organizer, Pasadena-based Fresh Entertainment, said on its website that it was notified late Friday that it would not be permitted to hold the event at that venue.

Substitute sites were later arranged at the Hudson Theater and Asu Fox Theatre in San Bernardino, both venues are smaller than the original L.A. site.

Organizers said they would add an additional show Sunday. But too many people showed up in San Bernardino on Saturday, leaving many unhappy fans without seats.

Gina Wiley, 17, of Ojai, said she waited four and a half hours Saturday afternoon and evening before the doors were closed shortly before 8 p.m., when she was just 30 feet from the door.

“It was so tightly packed. People were pushing,” Wiley said. Wiley said police were on scene, and some of the ticket-holders were upset and yelling, and some got into fistfights.

Wiley said there was a heavy police presence. She was upset when staff at the event wouldn’t guarantee her a refund.

“It felt like a scam,” Wiley said.

On Winterfresh’s Facebook page, fans expressed anger.

“I can’t believe we drove all the way from Arizona for nothing!!!!!” Tita Anchundia wrote.

Officials with the San Bernardino Police Department said officers on the scene reported no major problems with the crowd as of 10 p.m., and no arrests have been made.

KTLA-TV Channel 5 reported that some ticket-holders were planning on camping overnight to attend Sunday’s program.

Winterfresh’s rave was advertised as an all-ages event.

In a note posted on its website, the promoters asked attendees to “not participate in any unsafe activity that could put you or your friends at risk of getting sick or hurt.  If you see other people doing something that could jeopardize the safety of others or themselves talk to them or please alert security personnel so that those individuals can be removed from the event.”

Saturday’s rave comes three days after the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission placed new rules on rave promoters seeking to lease the Coliseum or Sports Arena. The new rules included added security, added drug searches, stricter enforcement of adult-only age limits and increased on-site emergency medical treatment for drug overdoses.

The Coliseum Commission had implemented a moratorium on raves June 30 after the Ecstasy overdose of a 15-year-old girl who attended the Electric Daisy Carnival rave at the Coliseum. The ban was lifted in November.

RELATED:

L.A. Coliseum commission puts new rules on rave promoters

Coliseum commissioners vote unanimously to lift moratorium on raves

-- Rong-Gong Lin II

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