This week, West Coast news agencies had a field day thanks to all the hoopla caused by this past weekend's Electric Daisy Carnival, which took place at the Los Angeles Coliseum and its immediate surrounding grounds. The event is billed as North America's largest rave, with over 185,000 attending the
three-day two-day festival. Unfortunately, when you have that amount of people, bad things are bound to happen, like a 15-year-old girl dying of a drug overdose, more than 200 medical emergencies, 65 arrests, and, oh yeah, a shitload of people causing mass riots in order to bum-rush fences and overwhelm security.
Comparably, Ultra Music Festival, which is rumored to be expanding to a three-day celebration of electronic music next year, has really never faced these kinds of security issues. First, the volume of people at Ultra is a lot smaller -- this year it reported over 100,000 attendees in the span of two days. News reports make it unclear as to whether 185,000 attended EDC of the course of two days or if 185,000 were on the event grounds at any given point.
Second, while Ultra is billed as all ages (EDC on the other hand claims it's 16 and over, even though the girl who died from a drug overdose this past weekend was 15), the crowd, at a glance, sees to be older and more global (Ultra's organizers claim attendees came from 68 countries). Ultra also being the only true European-style electronic music festival in the U.S. I think leads it to attract a crowd more familiar with rave and electronic music culture -- not teens and weekend ravers.
That's not to say they aren't any security or medical problems at Ultra. We saw fire rescue take out a number of people this year, some looked just a tad dehydrated, while we one saw one person unconscious. Also there were rumors that hundreds of kids bum-rushed the entrance this year in order to overwhelm security and gain free access -- we didn't witness the incident but did see officers asking people for tickets or badges blocks before reaching Bicentennial Park, which we were told was a response to the earlier incident.
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Still, if you would have seen the precision and quick response both City of Miami Police and Fire Rescue handle each situation, you would know Ultra's security and safety of festivalgoers was in good hands.
Another primary difference between EDC and Ultra is location. Bicentennial Park is an open field and making it the great equalizer amongst the general admission. The LA Coliseum on the other hand divided the general admission from those who were on the floor of the stadium and those on the stands. Floor admission was stopped once capacity was reached, so any straggling fans were pointed toward the stands. Everyone wants to be on the floor obviously, so those dissatisfied with being in the stands jumped fences or pushed security aside. So what happened at EDC, in theory, could never happen at Ultra thanks to the venue.
We contacted Ultra organizers about what happened at EDC and if they were taking a closer look at the festival's security detail for next year and were told at this time they had no comment.
When contacting EDC's organizers, Insomnia Inc., we were sent the follow statement: "The passing of a young woman who attended Electric Daisy Carnival is a tragic circumstance. Our hearts and prayers go out to her family and friends at this difficult time. We are currently reviewing the entire event and planning process with our security team, law enforcement and the city officials who participated in organizing and planning Electric Daisy Carnival."