Kevin Ferguson here. I'm sure by now you've heard about the tragedy at the LA Coliseum last June: Sasha Rodriguez, 15, died after attending the Electric Dasiy Carnival (EDC), a massive electronic music festival. She had used Ecstasy that night.
This past Friday, officials from the Coliseum met to discuss the future of events like the EDC: How can deaths be prevented? Should there be more restrictions? Should the county even allow raves inside publicly owned buildings?
They voted to continue the moratorium on new events but to allow the events already scheduled to go on. They also reviewed a preliminary report from a law firm, which among other thing recommended the events ban those under 18 from attending, include roving medical personnel and offer more water. Sounds good!
But here's my recommendation, and stop me if this sounds ridiculous: no more private security. Instead, let's take a cue from the Laker's victory parade: hire LAPD to handle the event and bill the promoter. Not only would they probably be more effective than most private security firms, they'll also deter troublemakers: Going to the coliseum? Great! Do you have a fake ID? Drugs? Not only will you risk missing out on the event, you could get arrested and/or cited. People jumping the fence? More help needed? Call in reinforcements.
I'm 75 percent sincere about this. I think the responsibility lies more within the promoters than the County or the Coliseum. EDC got out of hand in part because the promoters put an emphasis on quantity over quality: filling the Coliseum to capacity sells more tickets, allowing minors into the event sells more tickets too. And charging $3 per water bottle can't hurt their bottom line, either. Sending in police might be a good idea in the short run, but the ethos behind these events needs to change first.