Music festivals offer an escape from the tedium of day jobs, school, and various responsibilities, but attendees are still expected to adhere to laws and regulations. Festival-goers are sometimes arrested at festivals for a variety of reasons, but usually these detained individuals amount to a small percentage of the overall attendance numbers.
Reports from two huge California festivals defied this trend this past Halloween weekend, with the Los Angeles Times reporting that almost 500 attendees were arrested at HARD Day of the Dead and Escape: Psycho Circus. 162 people were arrested on the second day of the LA-based Hard Day of the Dead festival, with 148 people being arrested on the festival’s first day. At the Insomniac-organized Escape in San Bernardino, 180 people were arrested over the course of the festival’s two days.
The newspaper discovered that most of those arrested at HARD Day of the Dead were due to drug use, attendees being under the influence of drugs, and public intoxication; 100 people were also arrested for fake identification. The bulk of Escape’s arrests were also due to drug use and public intoxication, with additional counts of trespassing.
Several assumptions could be made as to why HARD’s arrest numbers exceeded Escape’s, but HARD’s increased security measures are likely the main reason. This past summer, two attendees at HARD Day of the Dead’s sister festival HARD Summer died from drug overdoses. Meanwhile, Insomniac’s Escape festival hasn’t experienced any festival deaths, and likely instituted less severe security measures than HARD.