After attending Hard Summer Music Festival this past weekend (July 30th & 31st) in the Inland Empire, three people died tragically fueling debate about safety and the need for stricter regulations of raves and concerts.
Hard Summer, previously held at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona in 2015, was held at a new location – the Auto Club Speedway near Fontana. Despite the deaths of two attendees last year, the festival saw record attendance.
This year’s two-day Hard Summer event brought nearly 147,000 people to the Auto Club Speedway, making it its biggest yet.
Drug overdoses seem to run rampant at electronic dance music festivals, especially substances such as Ecstasy, Cocaine, Ketamine and other “party” drugs, which are known for heightening stimulation and causing euphoric effects.
L.A. County sheriff’s spokeswoman Jodi Miller said, “The cause of death for this year’s deceased concertgoers is still being determined. One had a seizure, another was experiencing chest pains, and a third was found unresponsive.”
Those who died are identified as Derek Lee, 22, of San Francisco and San Diego State student Alyssa Dominguez, 21, of San Diego, both of whom died Sunday, and UC Riverside student Roxanne Ngo, 22, of Chino Hills, who was declared dead on Monday.
“Autopsies have been ordered for all three young people, as well as toxicology tests to determine if drugs played a factor in their deaths. It could be several months before final causes death are determined,” said coroner’s official Tony Campisi.
“Nine people, including the three deceased, were transported from the venue to hospitals,” Miller said.
Miller also said, “There were 240 security personnel and 370 sheriff’s deputies working the event. As a result, there were 325 arrests during the two days of Hard Summer.
The National Weather Service reported temperatures reaching 92 degrees near the venue on Saturday and Sunday.
Rave promoters have defended their concerts, saying they’ve increased law enforcement in order to decrease drug use by attendees.
Emergency room doctors have identified a couple of reasons why Ecstasy use at large raves can lead to severe illness, coma and death. One big problem is that Ecstasy can cause body temperatures to shoot up as high as 109 degrees, causing organ failure.
Dehydration can pose a problem, but so can drinking too much water, causing sodium levels to crash and triggering seizures that block oxygen to the brain.
Many venues are jumping on board to no longer host raves because of drug problems and the potential for overdoses. The Cow Palace in San Francisco and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum no longer allow raves.