Orange County News

Wet Electric beach party in Huntington Beach: No major problems

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Huntington Beach police say no major problems were reported at the Wet Electric beach party on Saturday.

The city tried to ban the event to avoid a repeat of the rioting that followed the U.S. Open of Surfing earlier this summer.

The music was pumping as thousands of people turned out to attend the beach party. But police were prepared for the mass gathering, which started at noon. As many as 30 state park police, Huntington Beach personnel and more than 90 private security guards patrolled the area.

After hours of listening to music and dancing on the beach, thousands peacefully left the event.

"It was a great party. It doesn't matter if there's alcohol or not, but we were just here to have a good time," one woman said.

"We have fun anywhere though without alcohol. We always have a blast, right?" another woman said.

Wet Electric was not permitted to serve alcohol. The event's organizer says attendance at the music festival was down because of the ban. Some found ways to get around the rules.

"You could definitely tell that not everybody was sober. People were parking their cars and putting coolers in there and stuff," said Vanessa Hofmann of Phoenix.

Dozens of law enforcement officers patrolled Huntington Beach throughout the afternoon and evening. The city of Huntington Beach made a last-minute attempt to prevent the bash from taking place even though it was planned months ago.

Huntington Beach officials became concerned because of the violence and looting that took place after the U.S. Open of Surfing in July, which led to numerous arrests and vandalism. The chaos occurred when the event ended and people spilled onto the streets of downtown Huntington Beach. Fights broke out at Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway after the popular surfing event as the crowds refused to disperse and began damaging property.

A judge, however, ruled Wednesday that this event, which took place on state park property, could go ahead. A decision, however, was made to deny the event's alcohol permit.

"I think it's a little upsetting that they took away the liquor license for this event because I think they were adequately staffed and it was 21 and up, so it would've been nice to have the open bar," said Greg Sutton of Huntington Beach.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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