(Photo credit: Brett Padelford)
Last August, 19-year-old student and festival-goer Katie Dix died of multiple drug intoxication at Pomona’s HARD Summer Music Festival in the Los Angeles Fairgrounds, allegedly without medical attention until over half an hour after collapsing. Dix had consumed what she believed to be pure Molly (aka Ecstasy) at the rave, which was allegedly overcrowded and understaffed. Upon arriving at the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, Dix had suffered from cardiac arrest. Her death was one of two from the 2015 rave.
More recently, Mark and Pamela Dix, the parents of Katie Dix, took action. The pair filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Fair Assn., the city of Pomona, Los Angeles County, and Live Nation, citing negligence. The suit claims that the Los Angeles County Fair Assn. and city of Pomona flouted their responsibilities to protect festival participants and facilitated an environment of “widespread illegal and illicit activity” by allowing the distribution of illegal drugs. It further alleges that raves are a threat to public health and a public nuisance. Finally, the lawsuit states that had Dix received swift and proper treatment, she could have been saved.
Incident’s like Dix’s are becoming increasingly common, especially in Southern California. 49 people were transported by ambulance to emergency rooms at 2015’s event. According to the Los Angeles Times, there have been 24 confirmed drug-related deaths since 2006 at raves organized by LA-based companies, half occurring in Southern California. Experts have stated that Ecstacy can be especially dangerous at summer festivals given the hot climate and crowding of attendees; the drug can raise body temperatures up to 109 degrees, which poses the risks of dehydration and organ failure. Consuming water also causes problems – drinking too much can greatly reduce sodium levels, causing seizures.
Live Nation, Fair Assn., and Los Angeles County official have all declined to comment. However, the Fair Assn. announced that it has no plans to host any raves at its site in 2016.