Following the deaths of two women at HARD Summer Music Festival this past weekend, now identified as 18-year-old Tracy Nguyen of West Covina and 19-year-old Katie Dix of Camarillo, “Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis plans to introduce a motion at today’s board meeting that would ban major music festivals on county property.”
“I am deeply troubled by the fact that this is the third such death to happen in my district in the last year and a half — no one should have to lose their life while attending a public concert,” Solis said.
There was one death reported at last year’s HARD Summer, when it was being held at Whittier Narrows Park.
This is not the first time that LA County has taken large steps to prevent deaths at music festivals. In 2010, a 15-year-old girl died of suspected drug overdose at Electric Daisy Carnival, when it was still being held at the Los
Angeles Coliseum. Though EDC had issues before, this was the straw that broke the camels back and forced the event to move to Las Vegas.
Cynthia Harding, interim director of the county Department of Public Health, said the county in 2010 issued a set of recommendations to help concert organizers curb drug-related safety issues at raves and similar concerts, including “a zero-tolerance drug policy at these events.”
While zero-tolerance policies are a nice idea in theory, they have been proven ineffective in various contexts including drug enforcement. A more progressive approach would be to have organizations like Bunk Police or DanceSafe on the premises, but we’ve already seen how that has been handled at Electric Forest and Bonnaroo.
The next event that the county is looking at is HARD’s “A Night At Fairplex,” a two-night event featuring a much smaller number of acts than a festival, but still a substantial event. LA County will be working toward a resolution in the coming days and weeks. Whether HARD will have any say in the matter is still unknown.
Other festivals still occurring in the LA area that could be affected by this resolution include FYF Fest and VANS Warped Tour, as well as various smaller gatherings like Brokechella.
This is a developing story and we will update you as we receive more information.
UPDATE 1:24 PM – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has passed a vote to “explore a possible temporary ban on major music festivals on county property” and “examine security and safety measures used at such festivals.” At this time, there are no tangible repercussions on HARD Presents, Live Nation, or the Pomona Fairplex.