LA Coliseum board votes to continue rave moratorium

Youthful supporters of raves gathered at the L.A. Coliseum to show their support for rave-type events held at public spaces.
Youthful supporters of raves gathered at the L.A. Coliseum to show their support for rave-type events held at public spaces. Brian Watt/KPCC

The commission that controls the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has voted to continue indefinitely a moratorium on booking raves at the historic venue after an event last month resulted in the death of a 15-year-old girl.

Barry Sanders, president of the Coliseum Commission, says that three rave-type events that have already been booked at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena will go on as scheduled, despite a moratorium on such events backed by the panel today. The moratorium blocks any future bookings of
raves, he says.

Commissioners also voted Friday to put in force stricter regulations for three forthcoming raves that had already been scheduled for the adjacent Memorial Sports Arena.

Among those tougher requirements are that no one under 18 be allowed to attend a rave and that doctors be on site throughout the event.

The commission's action came after a meeting of more than three hours at which members heard from rave promoters, concert-goers, police and fire officials and others.

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission gathered to hear a presentation of a preliminary report on the 14th annual Electric Daisy Carnival that took place the weekend of June 26.

The committee will also meet behind closed doors to discuss potential litigation in the wake of the death of 15-year-old Sasha Rodriguez. The girl stopped breathing at the event on June 27 and was taken off life support at a hospital two days later. She is believed to have taken the illegal drug Ecstasy, but autopsy results are being withheld pending the completion of toxicology tests.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky quickly called for a moratorium on future raves at the stadium. Commission President Barry Sanders concurred and administratively imposed a moratorium pending today's meeting.

Just prior to today's meeting, an attorney for the family of Sasha Rodriguez issued a statement urging the commission and concert promoters to protect children.

"Sasha Rodriguez was 15 years old when she died on June 29th,'' attorney Paul Kiesel said. "Sasha's mom, Grace, and her father, Leonard, had no idea she was going to the Electric Daisy Carnival. In fact, Sasha knew she didn't have permission to go. Tragically she went. More tragically she got in.
Despite the promoter's policy of excluding any child under the age of 16, Sasha was admitted."

"The Rodriguez family and I know this entire community is committed to ensuring something like this never happens again,'' he said. "The promoters, Insomniac Productions, have reached out to the family, through their counsel, and pledged to make any and all changes necessary to protect children in the future.

"We look forward to working with them and the commission to put our children's health and safety ahead of profits.''

The Electric Daisy event posed a host of problems for the 87-year-old facility. Total attendance was said to reach 185,000, including a Saturday sell-out of 100,000 people.

Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics handled 226 medical calls and took 114 people to hospitals during the course of the event. Drug overdoses and drunkenness were primary problems, a spokesman said.

Video taken at the festival showed crowds of people storming fences to avoid the entry fee. Some people who attended the event also reported that workers at the gates were not checking the ages of attendees, despite attendance being restricted to people at least 16 years old.

Sasha did not have identification when she was taken to the hospital, family members and friends told the Los Angeles Times.

As a result of the troubled event, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted July 6 to create a multi-agency task force to investigate health and safety issues regarding rave-style events at public venues.

Under the proposal by Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Don Knabe, the task force will include members from city governments, law enforcement agencies, hospitals, the county Emergency Medical Services and Public Health commissions and community health providers to "identify the extent of public health concerns associated with rave parties.''

In the wake of the controversy, another rave -- the annual Hard L.A. concert, originally set for Saturday at downtown's Los Angeles State Historic Park -- has been postponed until Aug. 7.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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