LA County unanimously approves the formation of an electronic music task force
The uncertain future of live electronic music events in the Los Angeles area may be spelled out — at least in part — by the formation of an “electronic music task force.” The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the formation of the task force on September 1. This development will hopefully inform more sensible courses of action than a blanket ban on electronic music festivals, though LA County supervisor Hilda Solis notes that a ban has not yet been ruled out as an option. “I want to emphasize that our efforts around this motion, above all, are about the health and safety of those attending these events,” Solis stated.
The task force’s formation was suggested in response to the death of two young attendees at HARD Summer Festival in August, and will “develop recommendations for enforceable health and safety measures and procedures, that would be required for all electronic music festivals on County-owned property.” The initial report will be due in 120 days, and will weigh whether or not a ban, short-term or permanent, would be a violation of First Amendment rights and existing LA County contracts with promoters.
HARD and Live Nation have already taken action of their own accord in response to the tragic passing of two attendees in August. HARD Presents… A Night At The Fairplex has been cancelled, and HARD’s Halloween event HARD Day of the Dead has made the event 21+ and decreased the attendance cap from 65,000 (HARD Summer’s attendance cap) to 40,000. More cooling stations and increased security will be in place for the festival, with possibly more precautions to come.
Sasha’s Law, which was passed in 2011 in California following the death of a 15-year old attendee at Electric Daisy Carnival in Los Angeles, requires events with attendance over 10,000 held on state property (such as HARD events. held at Pomona’s Fairplex) to examine the promoter’s track record of safety, the facility, the potential for drug use at the event, and if law enforcement personnel should be arranged.
HARD events usually exceed the recommended amount of law enforcement personnel. Pomona’s Deputy Police Chief Michael Olivieri, who has been a police chief for 25 years, called HARD Summer’s security “the most thorough” that he’s ever seen. “I don’t know how you could increase or become more intrusive at a concert, unless you really did submit people to a strip search,” Olivieri said. Hopefully, the task force’s findings can inform intelligent courses of action on how to make festivals safer for all attendees, without calling for the need to ban them altogether.