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More than 26,000 attend rave at L.A. Sports Arena

December 31, 2010 | 11:02 pm

A massive rave at the Los Angles Sports Arena on Friday night drew more than 26,000 revelers, hundreds of police, more than two dozen fire and medical personnel and at least one Los Angeles County Coliseum commissioner.

The annual electronic music festival Together As One had been expected to draw 45,000, with 35,000 tickets sold, and was not scheduled to end until 2 a.m. Saturday, according to Los Angeles Police Capt. Melissa Zak.
No deaths or major injuries had been reported at the event as of 9 p.m., Zak said, and police had arrested three people, all on suspicion of possessing Ecstasy. Two of them were arrested as they attempted to sell drugs to an undercover police officer, Zak said.

Those attending the rave appeared to be making use of “amnesty boxes” near the entrances where they could dump illicit drugs before they were searched, Zak said.

Raves were banned at the arena and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in June after the overdose death of Sasha Rodriguez, 15, of Atwater Village. Coliseum commissioners voted to lift the ban in November, and soon after required rave promoters to petition for approval at least a month before an event.

The new rule did not apply to the New Year’s Eve rave, which had already been scheduled, but commissioners promised added safeguards to protect participants and the surrounding South Los Angeles neighborhood, including added security based on the size of the rave; added drug searches; stricter enforcement of age limits; and increased on-site emergency medical treatment.

The safety protections come in addition to measures that promoters already agreed to, which include hiring doctors and nurses to work on site, enforcing a minimum age of 18 and ending the events at 2 a.m.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who also serves on the Coliseum Commission, visited the rave for about an hour and a half and by 10 p.m. said he was impressed with the new safety measures.

“There certainly has been an intensification of personnel. They’ve confiscated a lot of drugs—they’re patting people down pretty thoroughly,” Yaroslavsky said. “This isn’t my kind of music, but the crowd is very well-behaved—at this stage of the evening at least.”

About 350 police and 26 Los Angeles fire and associated medical personnel circulated at the rave late Friday, Zak said. As of 9 p.m., only a few revelers had been transported for medical treatment, but Zak said it was too early to tell whether the new rules had had an effect.

“What we’re hoping is by raising the age to 18, plus the amnesty boxes, we are reducing the number of transports,” Zak said.

--Molly Hennessy-Fiske