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Insomniac won't hold March rave in Southern California

Halloween

More than five months after a man fatally overdosed at a San Bernardino County rave, the sponsor of that event, Los Angeles-based rave company Insomniac Inc., said this week it will not hold its annual March rave at the county-owned San Manuel Amphitheater.

Instead, the Beyond Wonderland rave will be expanding to Las Vegas. Nocturnal Wonderland, which has been held in San Bernardino County every year in September, will be headed to Nevada too. Insomniac says it still plans to hold Beyond Wonderland, Nocturnal Wonderland, and its Halloween-themed Escape from Wonderland rave somewhere in Southern California and is pursuing new venues.

The three raves were all held at the San Manuel Amphitheater last year, and Rotella said the venue had traffic issues. As a result, hesaid, until we have the right venue, we are not going to have Beyond Wonderland in SoCal.

Insomniac’s raves have been controversial in Southern California in recent years. Insomniac moved those three raves to the San Manuel Amphitheater from its longtime home at the National Orange Show Events Center in San Bernardino following complaints of drug use.

In 2011, Insomniac left its longtime home at theLos Angeles Memorial Coliseum following the fatal overdose of a 15-year-old girl and a financial scandal that resulted in the criminal indictment of Rotella, three former Coliseum employees and two other people who did business with the stadium.

Rotella was indicted on bribery and other charges in connection with raves held at the Coliseum. He is accused of making side payments to a Coliseum manager to help the firm win government approval of the raves and keep his costs down. Rotella has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

Rotella said his company still plans to hold events at San Manuel Amphitheater, but they will be “new, smaller all-campout events.”

In September, a 22-year-old man attending Nocturnal Wonderland at the San Manuel Amphitheater collapsed and later died of an Ecstasy and overdose. Arrel Christopher Cochon, a Los Angeles City College student from East Hollywood, was the third person since 2006 to die of a drug overdose after attending a San Bernardino-area rave staged by Insomniac Inc., a Times review of coroner records shows.

Cochon was at least the 16th person nationwide to die of drug-related causes since 2006 after attending raves produced by Insomniac or another L.A.-based promoter, Go Ventures Inc., according to coroner and police records reviewed by The Times. Most of the dead were in their teens or 20s. Many of the concerts were held at government-owned venues.

A San Bernardino County spokesman, David Wert, said the county played no role in Insomniac’s decision to not hold Beyond Wonderland at the San Manuel Amphitheater.

“Insomniac was concerned with traffic, which the county has long acknowledged is a problem for large events at the amphitheater,” Wert said, particularly because of a busy railway crossing on Glen Helen Parkway. Plans to build a bridge to separate the road from the train tracks should help alleviate the problem, he said.

Wert said health and public safety issues aren’t more prominent at raves than other events at the amphitheater.

“The county believes that it … does everything possible to ensure events are safe,” Wert said.

Wert said county officials have nearly completed a review of the circumstances surrounding Cochon’s death, which could be shared with the Board of Supervisors as soon as next week.

Twitter: @ronlin | Facebook | Google+

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ron.lin@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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