Electric Daisy leaving L.A. for Las Vegas; ‘Good riddance,’ says Coliseum commissioner
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The ongoing brouhaha between Los Angeles politicos and promoters of dance-focused concerts has seemingly resulted in one of the nation’s largest electronic music festivals leaving Los Angeles for Las Vegas. Insomniac Inc.'s two-day Electric Daisy Carnival, which last June drew between 80,000 and 100,000 people per day to the L.A. Memorial Coliseum and adjoining Exposition Park, is leaving the Coliseum for Vegas after Insomniac’s 13 years working with the L.A. venue.
Insomniac had previously announced that Electric Daisy would be held June 24 and 25 in Los Angeles, and it looked to be on track to return to the Coliseum. Yet controversy has followed the event for the last eight months. After last year’s concert, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors established a task force to take a closer look at DJ-focused concerts, and Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky at the time called for a ‘rave moratorium.’
Late Thursday, however, Insomniac announced that an official agreement was still not inked, and Electric Daisy would be staged the same weekend in Las Vegas.
‘Without an executed contract in place at this time, it has become impossible to guarantee to all of the fans and talent that EDC can be produced at this venue this year,’ read a statement attributed to Insomniac Chief Executive Pasquale Rotella. ‘We are grateful for all of the events we have been able to produce at the Coliseum and Sports Arena over the years.’
A 15-year-old girl who attended the 2010 Electric Daisy concert later died as a result of an overdose of MDMA, a drug commonly known as Ecstasy. Additionally, more than 100 attendees were sent to hospitals. More recently, The Times reported that a Coliseum administrator doubled as a paid consultant to the rave producer.
Numerous efforts were made to convince L.A. officials that dance events were safe. Insomniac established an 18-and-over policy for all its events and pledged to have more medical staff on site. Dance promoters, who were not named, even funded a card distributed by the county’s Department of Public Health to warn concertgoers of the dangers of Ecstasy.
Recent revelations by The Times, however, seemed to spell doom for the event. As a trio of reporters -- Andrew Blankstein, Ron Lin and Paul Pringle -- wrote today on L.A. Now, Electric Daisy was now mired in ‘a conflict-of-interest scandal.’ Reported L.A. Now:
The [Coliseum] administrator who worked on the side for Insomniac, Todd Stefano, was responsible for planning security and medical services for the rave. His dual employment had been approved by then-Commission General Manager Patrick Lynch, who resigned in the wake of the Times disclosures.
DeStefano’s ties to Insomniac are under investigation by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office and the state Fair Political Practices Commission. He has denied doing anything wrong.
Commissioner Rick Caruso, an ardent advocate against large dance concerts, told L.A. Now, “My first reaction is good riddance.” Caruso had been one of the more vocal critics of DJ-driven concerts, saying they breed drug abuse and unruly behavior.
Insomniac’s statement said Electric Daisy’s return to Los Angeles was ‘postponed,’ although no indication was given as to when or if the event would return to L.A. ‘I began my business here when I was in high school and Los Angeles remains my home,’ read the statement attributed to Rotella. ‘I would love nothing more than to have our events return to the Coliseum in the future.’
Insomniac, now in its 15th year, has not yet revealed lineup or ticketing details for the Las Vegas concert.
-- Todd Martens
IMAGES: Revelers at the 2010 concert (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times); part of the county’s Department of Public Health Ecstasy warning card; Electric Daisy concergoers rush a fence (John W. Adkisson / Los Angeles Times)