Before it really had a chance to get off the ground, authorities last night shut down this year's Hard Summer festival in Inglewood, California, which had Underworld, Chromeo, A-Trak, Amanda Blank and more on the bill. I was there and received eyewitness accounts of fights breaking out and ticket-less fans trying to storm at least one gate. Underworld reports seeing some unruliness inside as well. When I got there at 10:30, music hadn't been playing for sometime, and fans were milling about.
Organizer Gary Richards is a longtime legitimate promoter who tried to do this the right way. He moved to The Forum in Inglewood after pushing the capacity limits of his former venue, the Shrine Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles, with a couple of 10,000-strong events. "I love the Shrine, but in all honesty the Shrine was not built for 15,000 people," Richards told me before the event. "It's built for 5,000, 6,000 people at the Expo Hall. The Forum is really built for a show for that many people."
As I witnessed a police commander give Richards that last word -- that the party was history and cops would go in and shoo people out -- I heard an officer call over the radio that 17,500 people had showed up for the sold-out party.
Richards promises on the Hard site that, "rest assured you will be receiving your refunds." Given the talent costs, that will be a painful promise to keep, unless Richards is thinking about taking legal action against county fire officials and Inglewood police, who ordered the party shut-down.
I met one fan who flew in from Texas just to see Underworld. Suffice to say, he was disappointed. More of my eyewitness account of the event's last minutes, including the on-scene police commander's words to Richards, at LA Weekly.
Richards had told me before the show that he was excited to be at The Forum, where he had watched Lakers games as a kid. I'm sure he regrets the move now. With June's claimed 135,000 people at the Electric Daisy Carnival at the Coliseum in Los Angeles proper -- and with reports of some unruliness there as well -- the Los Angeles Police Department looks downright tolerant in comparison. That event went on. For two days. I don't want to second guess Inglewood and county authorities, but have they shut down capacity sporting events, where fights always break out?
[Photo, above, of a Hard attendee by yours truly].