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L.A. Coliseum imposing temporary ban on raves after girl's death from suspected drug overdose

June 30, 2010 |  3:55 pm
Fan on the run

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is imposing a temporary ban on raves, a decision made less than 24 hours after a 15-year-old girl died of a suspected drug overdose after attending the Electric Daisy Carnival over the weekend.

After receiving a request from Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky for a rave moratorium, Coliseum Commission President Barry A. Sanders said he was instructing Coliseum managers not to enter into any new agreements with rave producers until the commissioners can meet in a special session scheduled for July 16. Commissioners will review all criteria required for organizers using the venue.

Although Yaroslavsky proposed a temporary ban on all raves, including any that are currently scheduled, Sanders was less specific, saying he would endorse a moratorium on the Coliseum “entering into any contractual arrangements with persons or entities promoting raves.”

It was not immediately clear whether the Love Festival, marketed as “America’s longest-running dance music festival,” would continue to go on as planned. It is scheduled for Aug. 21 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, which is next to the Coliseum.

The Love Festival is being produced by Go Ventures, which co-produced a New Year’s Eve rave at the Sports Arena in which 18 people were transported to emergency rooms after taking Ecstasy.

No raves are scheduled between now and the commission's meeting date. A rave is a dance party with electronic music.

The Coliseum and Sports Arena are on state land and are run under the authority of a joint commission of the city and county of Los Angeles and the state. 

The 14th annual Electric Daisy Carnival attracted 185,000 people over two days, according to organizers. The event featured numerous high-profile DJs and performers on five stages that stretched across the Coliseum property.

Health officials said about 120 people were taken by ambulance from the event to emergency rooms. Several emergency physicians earlier this week called for an end to such events at public facilities.

"The general public deserves to be assured that when the Coliseum's tenants stage an event, the health and safety of the promoter's patrons are protected.  Clearly, there was a breakdown at the Electric Daisy Carnival which put the public at risk," Yaroslavsky wrote.

At 15, Sasha Rodriguez did not meet the minimum age requirement of 16 to enter the event without a legal guardian. Family and friends said that she attended the party with a 16-year-old friend and that doctors told them she had the hallucinogenic drug Ecstasy in her system when she was taken by ambulance to the emergency room.

Rodriguez, who lived in the Atwater Village neighborhood of L.A., died at California Hospital Medical Center downtown before 5:30 p.m. Tuesday after her family decided to remove the comatose teen from life support.

For the first time since her death, a statement was released on behalf of the event organizer, L.A.-based Insomniac Events.

"The passing of a young woman who attended Electric Daisy Carnival is a tragic circumstance," the statement said. "Our hearts and prayers go out to her family and friends at this difficult time. We are currently reviewing the entire event and planning process with our security team, law enforcement and the city officials who participated in organizing and planning Electric Daisy Carnival."

-- Rong-Gong Lin II

Photo: A woman runs from a police officer as crowds rush a fence during the 14th annual Electric Daisy Carnival at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (John W. Adkisson / Los Angeles Times / June 25, 2010)