Judge rules Wet Electric will go on

Despite the city vying for a temporary restraining order to stop the event, the Wet Electric electronic dance music festival will still be held this weekend at the Huntington State Beach, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Jamoa A. Moberly ruled that the beachside party put on by promoter Premiere Media Group will go on as scheduled on Saturday because the permit acquired by the group didn't violate Huntington Beach's zoning ordinances.

Peter Freeman, an attorney representing PMG and the nonprofit Giving It Back To Kids, argued that if the event was contrary to the city's zoning, they should have taken immediate action.

City deputy attorney Dan Ohl said city officials were not made aware of Wet Electric until July.

City attorney Jennifer McGrath said after the 30-minute hearing that there will be no other action taken to prevent Wet Electric from happening.

"The Wet Electric event will be proceeding on Saturday and we will make sure, that to be as safe as possible, the city staff will be prepared for whatever impact or results that comes from that event," she said.

Huntington Beach city officials became concerned about the upcoming event after witnessing the unruliness that occurred at the conclusion of the U.S. Open of Surfing in July.

But PMG President Steve Thacher and California State Parks Officer Kevin Pearsall have said that they have considered every precaution possible to ensure safety during Wet Electric.

It was earlier reported by the Independent that about 16 state park peace officers would be present at the event. Pearsall said last week that the number has been increased to 25 and the promoter will pay for the added staff.

"They're going to be around and in the area, making sure that everything runs according to plan," Thacher said. "We have 90-plus guards, not all inside the park, but throughout the parking lot and the perimeter, making sure that nothing spills out into the surrounding neighborhoods as some other events in Huntington Beach have."

Thacher added that there will be taxi cabs and shuttles after the event to bring people home.

He said that there has not been a single major incident during one of the 10 festivals he's organized.

Though the state and PMG said they have addressed any concerns regarding the event, city officials still fear of what could happen when everything is over.

Councilman Joe Carchio said last week that once attendees hit the streets, it would be the city's obligation to monitor those people.

The event is scheduled to take place from noon until 9 p.m. at Huntington State Beach at Brookhurst Street and Pacific Coast Highway.

It is expected to include a music stage with disc jockeys, a large inflatable water slide, a zip line and a fully stocked bar.

Thacher said construction on the festival area will begin Thursday morning.

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