Recent Deaths Spur Renewed Call for Festival Bans in San Bernardino County

A San Bernardino County Supervisor is renewing calls for a ban on raves after the tragic deaths of three people at the HARD Music Festival in Fontana earlier this month. The three fatalities appear to be unrelated. While the causes have not been formally determined, drug use is an extremely common problem at large music festivals and has resulted in a number of deaths in the recent past.

“In light of these recent deaths, the Board of Supervisors should seriously consider banning these events from taking place at the county-owned San Manuel Amphitheater in Devore. We cannot wait for more young lives to be lost before we decide enough is enough,” said Supervisor Janice Rutherford.

Rutherford introduced a measure to do so just a couple of months ago, but it failed in the absence of two other supervisors. The Board did direct staff to draft an agenda item for the creation of a rave task force, however, following in the footsteps of Los Angeles County.

L.A. is no stranger to ravegoer deaths either. Numerous fatalities prompted supervisors there to consider a ban as well, but that idea was ultimately rejected in favor of a new threat assessment ordinance and a crackdown on festival drug use.

Perhaps there is an even better solution though. As the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors gets ready to ponder a rave ban once again, LA Weekly writer Dennis Romero questions whether age limits could solve the problem.

“When events are limited to those 21 and older, deaths are almost unheard of,” Romero writes. “Looking at a Los Angeles Times list of 24 rave deaths in the last 10 years, we couldn't find one event that was 21+.”

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors revisited the issue at its meeting Tuesday. Chairman James Ramos vowed to bring a possible ban up for another vote.

Image Credit: Flickr User avarty, via (CC BY-SA 2.0)