Police arrested nearly 500 people over the weekend at two electronic music rave festivals in California. Authorities cracked down on festival goers in an attempt to avoid a repeat of August's HARD Summer rave where two young women died of apparent drug overdoses.
The two festivals were held in San Bernardino and Pomona - where the deaths occurred. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors convened a special task force to look into rave safety. Several emergency room physicians at the time said raves threatened public health, "overwhelming" hospitals and emergency rooms with young rave-goers suffering from illicit drug overdose or effects of dangerously cut drugs.
The raves’ Beverly Hills headquartered organizer, Live Nation, had agreed to add new measures for the weekend’s festivals, capping attendance at 40,000 a day and raising the minimum entry age to 21. The two women who died in August were under 21.
On Sunday, the final day of the two day long Halloween-themed HARD Day of the Dead festival at the Pomona Fairplex, police arrested 162 people following the previous day’s 148 arrests. In San Bernardino police arrested 180 people at the two day Escape: Psycho Circus festival at the National Orange Show Events Center.
Most arrests were for public intoxication, possession of illegal drugs or being under the influence of a controlled substance. About 100 people were arrested for carrying fake identification.
Other safety and security precautions for the festivals included having dozens of medical staff manning three on-site emergency rooms,184 police officers on duty, and free water distribution points. Live Nation paid full costs for the medical, police and fire personnel. Both festivals also had 500 private security guards in attendance.
The San Bernardino rave drew 42,000 attendees on Friday and 46,000 on Saturday. The Pomona rave attracted 20,000 people on Saturday. No Sunday attendance figures have been release as yet.