Giant rave will not return to L.A. Memorial Coliseum this summer, officials say
The Electric Daisy Carnival has been 'postponed,' its producer says. The two-day event was caught up in a conflict-of-interest scandal even as it faced criticism that it bred drug abuse.
By Andrew Blankstein, Rong-Gong Lin II and Paul Pringle, Los Angeles Times
February 25, 2011
A giant rave that became caught up in a conflict-of-interest scandal even as it faced criticism that it bred drug abuse will not return this summer to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, officials said Thursday.
Insomniac Inc., producer of the Electric Daisy Carnival, said in a statement that the Coliseum show has been "postponed" and that the two-day rave would make its debut in Las Vegas on June 24, the same date of its scheduled fifth annual engagement here.
The statement by Pasquale Rotella, the head of Insomniac, gave no hint of how long the postponement would be. But he said he "would love nothing more than to have our events return to the Coliseum."
Some Coliseum Commission members said Electric Daisy would probably not be coming back for the foreseeable future.
Insomniac had lost support on the commission after The Times reported earlier this month that a Coliseum administrator who helped plan security and emergency medical services for last year's rave doubled as a paid consultant to the company. The 2010 Electric Daisy was marred by scores of drug-related arrests and trips to emergency rooms. A 15-year-old girl died from an Ecstasy overdose.
"They probably made a good business decision for them," Commission President David Israel said of Insomniac's move. "The writing on the wall was as clear as graffiti."
Israel withdrew his support for Electric Daisy after The Times disclosed that the Coliseum's events manager, Todd DeStefano, worked on the side for Insomniac. His dual employment had been approved by then-Commission General Manager Patrick Lynch, who resigned under fire last week.
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 any wrongdoing.
Commissioner Rick Caruso, a leading critic of raves, said "good riddance" upon hearing of the move. He said the company had probably figured that the nine-member commission would not approve another contract for Electric Daisy.
"The only thing that these rave events are good for is making money," Caruso said. "But I put the safety of our kids above making money."
Insomniac has been staging raves at the Coliseum and the neighboring Sports Arena since the late 1990s. Raves have been a significant revenue source for the commission, a joint authority of the state and the city and county of Los Angeles.
Israel estimated that last year's Electric Daisy, which drew an announced crowd of 185,000 over the two days, generated about $800,000 for the commission. He said the financial loss could be eased by an extra game USC's football team, the Coliseum's main tenant, will play at the stadium this year.
It was unclear whether Thursday's development would affect the other company that hosts raves at the Sports Arena, Go Ventures. The firm puts on the Love Festival in August and the Halloween-themed Monster Massive. Go Ventures has partnered with Insomniac to produce the New Year's Eve rave, Together as One, at the arena.
Rotella and Go Ventures representatives did not return phone calls seeking comment.