Electric Daisy Carnival’s Tainted Past

11:31 AM PST 07/28/2011 by Rebecca Ford
C Flanigan/FilmMagic/Getty Images

The Hollywood riot at the EDC doc screening is just the latest in a list of scandals.

On Wednesday, a near-riot broke out in Hollywood at the premiere of a documentary on the Electric Daisy Carnival festival. Thousands of EDC fans stormed the Grauman’s Chinese Theater on Wednesday at the screening of The Electric Daisy Experience, which will release on 250 screens across the U.S. next week. Police, in full riot gear, were called to control and disband the crowd, shooting beanbags at the crowd.

The electronic music festival, which has been an annual event in Southern California since 1997, had an attendance of about 185,000 in 2010. Other cities, including Dallas and Aurora, Colorado, have held satellite events.

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As it has grown over the years, EDC has become a polarizing event, both deeply loved by fans and severely criticized by parents and others in the community who say the event leads to injury and death, often caused by drug use and overcrowding.

Here are five of the scandals that have plagued the annual music festival.

1. In 2010, a 15-year-old girl died of a suspected drug overdose after attending the EDC at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. While the minimum age for attendance to the event is 16, Sasha Rodriguez was in attendance when she passed out, hitting her head on the floor, and was rushed by ambulance to the hospital. Police said they made 60 drug-related arrests at the event, and more than 200 medical emergencies were reported. The producers of the event raised the age minimum to 18 after this event.

2. The mother of Sasha Rodriguez filed a $5 million suit against the city and county of Los Angeles after her daughter’s death. "[The Coliseum Commission] knew, or should have known, that the Rave would attract, promote, encourage, facilitate and enable wide-spread illegal and illicit activity including, but not limited to, the possession, sale and consumption of illicit drugs,” the suit stated.

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3. At the second year of the Dallas satellite event in June 2011, 19-year-old Andrew Graf died after he was taken to the hospital from the event. The fire department took as many as 30 people to hospitals for drug, alcohol and heat-related illnesses.

4. Just four days after Graf’s death, another family came forward, saying that their son, 22-year-old Jesse Morales, had died after attending the EDC festival in Dallas the previous year. The family told the Dallas Observer that Morales was taken to Baylor University Medical Center after he was found unconscious and separated from his friends. Doctors said his death was due to a drug overdose.

5. The Los Angeles Coliseum, where the EDC event was held until its move to Las Vegas this year, came under investigation after the 2010 death of 15-year-old Rodriguez. The venue’s manager, Todd DeStefano, allegedly took $1.8 million from entities doing business with the publicly run Coliseum, including rave promoters such as Insomniac (who organize the EDC), the Los Angeles Times reported.

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