Orange County News
Huntington Beach takes Wet Electric to court in wake of riot
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. -- Thousands of music fans hoping to celebrate the end of summer next weekend at a Huntington Beach music festival may be out of luck, because the city is trying to shut it down.
The organizer of Wet Electric says he expects several thousand people at the Huntington State Beach event on Sept. 14. The state approved the 9-hour beach bash, but the city is going to court to try to stop it.
"We don't want 8,000 drunk people partying on our beach. We're very concerned about what happens when the party is over. People have been drinking all day, and they're driving out on our streets and out onto the 405 Freeway," said Huntington Beach Mayor Connie Boardman.
The event organizer says Wet Electric is open only to those 21 and older with a ticket. It starts at noon and ends by 9 p.m.
"It's just completely different. We're also working with Yellow Cab, buses, shuttle companies, local hotels. We take a lot of safety precautions," said Steve Thacher, Premiere Media Group president.
Wet Electric comes in the wake of the riot following the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach in July.
"Given that you're introducing alcohol and large crowds, and given the recent past, I would definitely be concerned about it," said Bogdan Popa of Costa Mesa.
State Parks officials say they handle more than 1,600 events each year. There will be 25 state police officers at Wet Electric, in addition to the 90 private security guards at the event.
"We have worked with various agencies to ensure the Wet Electric Music Festival event is well staffed, and we have action plans for any and all issues which could arise," said Vicky Waters with California State Parks.
The city, state and promoter are expected to be in court next Wednesday.
orange county news, eileen frere
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