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Raves at San Manuel Amphitheater can continue, San Bernardino County supervisors decide

Raves at San Manuel Amphitheater can continue, San Bernardino County supervisors decide
A crowd dances at a 2013 Beyond Wonderland festival at San Manuel Amphitheater in Devore. (Getty Images)

San Bernardino County supervisors rejected a proposal Tuesday to end two of Southern California's largest raves at the San Manuel Amphitheater in Devore.

The board voted 2 to 1 to end the multi-day Nocturnal Wonderland and Beyond Wonderland electronic music festivals  following protests from residents who have been pushing to end the concerts over safety, noise and traffic concerns, but the measure failed to get the three votes it needed for approval.

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The county will, however, explore the possibility of ending the concerts three hours earlier.

Two people have died of overdoses since the festivals began at the county-owned outdoor venue in 2013. In March, during Beyond Wonderland, more than 200 people were arrested and 18 were taken to local hospitals, according to county records. The concert drew 63,000 people.

Matt Prieshoff, chief operating officer for Live Nation in California, which organizes the concerts, told the supervisors Tuesday that the festivals bring large amounts of money to county and local business and give jobs to local workers. He said the company is committed to improving traffic and mitigating sound problems.

A number of local business representatives, including a hotel manager and restaurant owner, also said ending the raves would have a significant impact on their businesses and workers.

But residents of Devore, a rural community of large-lot homes where many keep horses and other animals, described being overwhelmed by traffic and noise on concert weekends.

Dr. Rodney Borger, an emergency room physician at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, said patients who have used drugs during the festivals flood emergency rooms that are already stretched thin on the weekends.

"Our work is then occupied by trying to restrain and take care of and save the lives of young kids who are going to die unless you take care of them," he said.

In September 2013, a 22-year-old man died of an Ecstasy and methamphetamine overdose after collapsing at Nocturnal Wonderland. In March of last year, a UC Irvine student, also 22, died after collapsing at Beyond Wonderland. He was later determined to have overdosed from Ecstasy.

Supervisor Janice Rutherford, who represents several communities surrounding the amphitheater, earlier this year proposed ending the raves after getting numerous complaints from local residents. She and Supervisor Robert Lovingood voted in favor of the ban on Tuesday.

Supervisor Curt Hagman opposed the proposal. Two others, Josie Gonzales and Chairman James Ramos were absent.

In addition to voting unanimously to begin negotiating with Live Nation to end the festival nights at 11 p.m. rather than 2 a.m., the supervisors also voted to begin the process of creating a task force to study the safety and impact of events at the amphitheater.

A similar task force was formed late last year in Los Angeles County not long after two young concertgoers died of apparent overdoses after attending Live Nation's Hard Summer rave at the county fairgrounds.

Hard Summer will now take place at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana in July.

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