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Jammed MTV concert halted by police at Santa Monica Airport

Santa Monica Airport partySanta Monica police in riot gear shut down an MTV-sponsored concert Tuesday at a Santa Monica Airport hangar after hundreds more people showed up than the event's permit allowed, authorities said Wednesday.

The free concert, featuring British dub-step DJ and producer Flux Pavilion, was held Tuesday night in the airport's Hangar 8, which is often used for private events, concerts and music-video shoots.

The hangar has a capacity of 1,500 people, but Santa Monica police estimate that between 2,500 and 3,000 people showed up with printed tickets, and officers working the event called for backup.

At 8:30 p.m., an hour after the event began, additional police officers from the Los Angeles, Culver City and Beverly Hills police departments arrived and determined the crowd was too large to control.

Police cut the music and shut down the party at 9:30 p.m., when there were only about 400 people inside but as many as 2,000 more waiting in line outside. 

"It was a permitted event, but it wasn't permitted for that many people," said Sgt. Richard Lewis of the Santa Monica Police Department. "We had to shut it down because there was no way we could control that size of a crowd."

Once the music was cut off, police say angry attendees began to climb fences and attempt to enter other parts of the airport.

Around 11 p.m., the party had been cleared out, with two arrests for public intoxication but no injuries, police said.

Officers remained at the airport until after midnight to turn away late-arriving attendees.

The event was part of a concert series being put on by MTV Iggy, a subsection of the popular music television channel that focuses on exposing international pop artists to American audiences.

“For a very long time, the world has been inspired by American pop music and pop culture. And now we want to do the reverse. We want to bring global artists into the U.S.,” said Nusrat Durrani, senior vice president and general manager of MTV World, in an interview last year with The Times' Pop & Hiss blog.

Event organizers could not immediately be reached for comment regarding the shutdown.

Tuesday night's concert was the fourth in a series of shows that began in July and featured Flux Pavilion, who produces dub-step music, a popular genre of European electronic dance music. His most popular track, "I Can't Stop," was sampled in Jay-Z and Kanye West's "Watch the Throne" album and was featured in the original video for the online "Kony 2012" campaign.

The DJ, whose real name is Joshua Steele, took to Twitter, delivering live updates to his more than 180,000 followers.

"So . . . Helicopters and LAPD with riot gear outside this airport hangar right now" the DJ tweeted around 11 p.m.

Would-be attendees blasted the artist and MTV Iggy on social media sites, frustrated that the event was shut down after some had waited in line for hours.

The DJ responded to those complaints with another tweet, just after 1 a.m.

"You are the greatest fans I could ever hope for. You make every second I spend on my music worthwhile. Thank you so much."

Early Wednesday morning the producer sent out another tweet slamming the LAPD and other law enforcement agencies for shutting down the party.

"People geeting [angry] because they couldnt get in, LAPD thought the best way to deal with is was to not let anybody in," Flux Pavilion wrote, before using an expletive to describe the police.

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-- Wesley Lowery

Follow Wesley Lowery on Twitter and Google+.

Photo: Police outside Santa Monica Airport party. Credit: KTLA-TV

 
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