Scary Halloweekend for Ravers: 100s Arrested in Cali, Voodoo Fest Canceled, Riots in London
This past weekend was an especially scary Halloween for many electronic dance music fans and headliners alike around the globe. Revelers faced hundreds of arrests at two California raves, HARD Day of the Dead and Escape: Psycho Circus. In New Orleans, Voodoo Fest's final day was canceled due to extreme weather. Meanwhile, ravers attending Scumoween in London clashed with riot police. These mishaps all followed the scariest news of the weekend which was, of course, the tragic fire that erupted in a Romanian nightclub and killed 27 Markus Schulz fans on Halloween-Eve.
HARD's annual Day of the Dead festival was held at the Pomona Fairplex and featured artists like Skrillex, Deadmau5, Kill the Noise, Nero, Flying Lotus and others across 5 different stages. The LA Times reports that 148 HARD concertgoers were arrested on Saturday and an additional 162 were arrested during the event's second day of festivities. According to the Times, the festival clocked in about 20,000 attendees for the first day but the figure for the second day is not yet available.
Meanwhile, Insomniac Events' Halloween-themed Escape: Psycho Circus was held about 30 miles away in San Bernardino and featured artists like Above & Beyond, Flux Pavilion, Moby and many others across 4 different stages. The LA Times reports that there were about 180 arrests at Escape throughout the weekend. The festival drew a crowd of 42,000 the first day and 46,000 the second day.
Although California ravers faced nearly 500 arrests throughout the weekend, the Times points out that HARD Fest faced major scrutiny after two HARD event attendees died after an event this past August, also held at the Pomona Fairplex. Since those tragedies, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors created a taskforce specifically to examine the safety of such events. The taskforce had recommended that Live Nation, the organizers behind HARD Fest, increase the minimum age of admission from 18 to 21 and to cap the attendance at 40,000 each day rather than 65,000. While most of the charges at both festivals were attributed to public intoxication and drug possession, police told the Times that about 100 of the HARD DOTD arrests were due to possession of a fake I.D. It seems safe to say that the extreme number of arrests throughout the weekend is correlated to the increased police presence and heightened security measures that resulted from the LA rave safety taskforce.
The three-day Voodoo Music & Arts Experience was held in New Orleans and featured a more diverse festival lineup including Modest Mouse, Jack U, Girl Talk and Ozzy Osbourne among countless others. As EDM.com reports, flash floods and incessant rain, which have become increasingly unpredictable and thus too-common a problem for music festivals over the years, forced organizers to cancel the third and final day, which would have featured Deadmau5, Third Eye Blind, Mija and Chance the Rapper.
To add to the litany of EDM-related Halloweekend disappointments, the annual South London rave Scumoween resulted in a major clash with riot police. The Guardian reports that there were only eight arrests, but that "riot police were pelted with missiles including a suspected petrol bomb as they spent more than six hours trying to close down [the] illegal rave."
While many ravers faced all this bad news, those who stayed at home were treated to a weekend full of Halloween-themed mixes from countless DJs. In case you missed it, RL Grime's Halloween mix which features Goosebumps author R.L. Stine, is just the thing to lighten the mood after such a dark weekend. Listen to RL Grime's annual Halloween mix, below.