In 2015, 19 year old music festival goer Katie Dix passed away at the Hard Summer Music Festival, in Pomona, California, after allegedly waiting for over half an hour without medical attention after collapsing. The following year, her family filed a lawsuit against the event organizer Live Nation , the venue operator Los Angeles County Fair Association, and both Los Angeles County, who own the fairgrounds and the city of Pomona, citing negligence.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County Judge Dan Thomas Oki has now ruled that “an operator of electronic music festivals like Live Nation owes a duty of reasonable care to festival attendees,” meaning Live Nation will now have to prove that they were not responsible for Dix’s death in front of a jury. According to Pitchfork, this reverses a prior decision which had ruled in Live Nation’s favor.
The legal counsel for Dix’s parents argue that the offending parties were negligent and breached their duties by failing to protect people from distributing or consuming illegal drugs at the event. They also allege that a toxicology report found MDMA and Ethylone, a chemical referred to as “bath salts” in Dix’s system. Once Dix was ultimately hospitalized, she fell to cardiac arrest at the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center and passed away.
Dix’s death hasn’t been the only one to occur at the Hard Summer Music Festival, that same year another person also passed away, while the following year there were three deaths following the event’s move to Fontana. There were also recorded deaths in 2013 and 2014.