On Saturday's Electric Daisy Carnival at Fair Park: Things Seemed To Be Going Smoothly...

Categories: Last Night
[Editor's Note: We originally sent city columnist and noted curmudgeon Jim Schutze out to Fair Park on Saturday night on something of a lark. We knew he'd be a fish out of water, sure. But we also knew that, in some ways, covering the event would be right up his alley -- a chance for him to see one way in which Dallas is using its city-managed property to appeal to different demographics. Circumstances obviously threw his take for a loop. Still, we think, his is an important perspective on the event to keep in mind as information continues to trickle in about what went wrong on Saturday night.]

edcwide.jpg
Kevin Todora
The crowd at Saturday's Electric Daisy Carnival before the sun went down.
All right, the geezer view: I attended the Electric Daisy Carnival at Fair Park on Saturday night as a reporter. I am in my sixties.

I have covered official events, concerts, floods, fires, riots, panics and way more parades than I ever want to remember. I'm also a frequent critic of Dallas City Hall, and that was one reason I went -- to see if the city was stupidly allowing Fair Park to be abused by rampaging druggies.

I was there only two hours, leaving at about 10:30 p.m. My observations prove nothing. Sometimes the best information comes much later, often from plaintiff's attorneys.

But I have to tell you: I just saw nothing wrong with the way it was run.

edc_crowd.jpg
Kevin Todora
The crowd at one of EDC's many indoor stages at Fair Park.
The security I saw was extremely efficient. I was stopped three times at a succession of tables for I.D. checks, pocket checks and ticket-taking.

Could people have sneaked drugs in anyway? Of course. They could also simply have handed drugs through the miles of chain-link fence. There's a point at which full-body pat-downs and cavity searches are absurd.

I believe that I have a fair eye for professionalism or the lack thereof in security personnel. Sometimes they have all the right training, for example, but they're too green: They lack the force of personality to get the job done. I did not see that at all in this set-up. The security people I saw were trained; they were confidant; they had a protocol, and they stuck to it. I just don't know what more anybody could have done.

I have covered presidential visits where the security was less thorough. As every reporter who has ever covered one of those knows, the president rolls the dice every time he leaves the White House. And every concert promoter rolls the same dice every time he sells a ticket. There is no such thing as absolute security. You do the best you can.

The mood I saw along the esplanade was extremely mellow. I didn't pick up any aggressive vibe at all. And before you all start chuckling at me, let me hasten to assure you that I understand that a good deal of that mellow was chemically induced.

I saw one other old guy there -- not as old as I am, as it turned out, but at least he had a cane, so I felt comfortable chatting with him. Jerry Ritter, 59, had driven up from Galveston with two 20-something persons to whom he was related. I couldn't hear his answer when I asked how he was related.

I asked if he was there to keep an eye on his 20-somethings, and he said no. He said he had attended Woodstock as a teenager, and he just liked coming to things like this to sit and watch, "even though I can't do the drugs they do," he said. "I don't even drink any more."

Ritter said he thinks there need to be things like this for kids to do, "because they're going to do something."

I think that is true. I never knew a kid who agreed to do nothing.

I counted five ambulances waiting at the ready at the back gate. Dallas police officers were not walking through the crowd, but plenty of them were stationed in the shadows watching.
As I said at the top, I don't feel I have any conclusive evidence or reporting to offer here, just impressions. But I did not see any obvious defaults of responsibility on the part of the city or the organizers.

Before we leap to conclusions about the casualties, we need to see numbers putting this event in context with similar events in other places.

I can't imagine being the parents of the young man who died. They are not going to take my word for a damn thing, and I don't expect them to. I wouldn't if it were my son.

But it's also wrong and unfair right now to start a big stampede against the city and the event. That would require a lot more information.

So if we just shut down all parties like this in the city, what do we expect? Kids won't party? Kids won't do X? We know better than that. All that would accomplish would be to push the party underground and distance officials from any responsibility for what happens. How is that better?

Better to have the ambulances. Better to have the cops nearby. It's not great. But it's better. It's also wonderful for young people to have fun at Fair Prak.

I have been taking kids to Fair Park for many many years -- little tiny kids, bigger kids, big kids. Before I turned to leave Saturday night, I stopped and watched dozens of kids and young adults on a carnival ride whirling through the air, glow-sticks held aloft against the backdrop of Fair Park's fanciful art deco roof-line.

Oh, I know they hardly had any clothes on, and some of them were stoned out of their minds. I am also aware of medical studies reporting that some young people (cover our eyes and ears) engage in sexual activity.

When I looked at them up there against the night sky, my mind's eye saw six-year-olds with white-knuckled grips on the steering wheels of the 18-wheeler ride, eyes wide with terror, mouths grinning in delight. Old people can't take that away from young people, because it is not ours to give in the first place.

Nobody owns fun, especially not us. Life finds its way to pleasure, somewhere, somehow. Can't think of a better spot than this.
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96 comments
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beckieleigh
beckieleigh

EDC just happened in Vegas, it was 3 days long and no one died. It's not the raves or Insomniac, or even dubstep's fault for people dying. We're all responsible for ourselves. Those that are irresponsible and can't handle the scene, shouldn't go. It's really sad but that's just how it is. Stay safe everyone!

Mel
Mel

Dubstep is obviously the cause of the unpleasant business. 

VinsoTx
VinsoTx

If you do drugs you risk the chance of death, add the heat, exhuastion, and dehydration and it's a cocktail for the worst. It's not the responsibility of any of the concertgoers, the city, or the promoters to "parent" someone that chooses to make "adult" decisions and use drugs. I've partied in Dallas for 15 years, done the same extracurricular activities more times than I like to try to remember, yes I'm old now, but my view has not changed on this and never will...have fun and be as safe as possible. The media is clearly biased in their reporting, more people die on the fourth of July weekend at the lake every year, keeping things in persepective before reporting skewed information has alwasy been a fault of the media. The dance music scene is stronger than ever, welcome the newbies, don't dicount their love for the music!

kev1n
kev1n

Dude, 100% agree with EVERYTHING you have said in this. I greatly appreciate the sense you put into every bit of this article. You actually see it as we see it. Not angry adults that don't catch on to what their kids do for fun. It's better from someone with seniority to attempt to explain to them on what kids do for fun and how we see things. Great article. Hands down best one i've read so far.

Stinky McButtbutt
Stinky McButtbutt

My kid came home with heat exhaustion. Texas 104 degrees concrete, CRAZY

bbbb
bbbb

Great article.. the atmosphere at EDC was amazing. Yeah, it was crowded and hot, but that's what happens when you sell out a venue during the summer. @ the person who said it was 75 degrees at the stages, this is my reply: HAHAHAHAHJDSF;KAHDSFPFFFFLOLOLOL. Were you even there, or were you standing in the back near the doors where all the air was rushing through? I couldn't walk through a building without being drenched in sweat.

About the drugs, you're never going to stop it. Powerful organizations are trying to get rid of this War on Drugs because it's a failure. The searches and security at EDC we strict and did everything they should have. Short of making all the attendees get naked and subject them to a cavity search, there's no way you're going to ever keep drugs out of events like this. Ever.

One kid died out of the 20K+ that were there. That's one kid too many, obviously, but nothing you can do will prevent it. Like he mentioned in the article, if you close events like this down completely, you're not fixing the problem. Kids are still going to party, kids are still going to listen to music, and kids are still going to do drugs. At least they're in a safe environment and around plenty of authorities and others who would love to help them in case the situation went south.

EDC was amazing, bring 'er back next year. The last 2 have been amazing.

Thomas Meyer
Thomas Meyer

Wow.  Hats off to Jim Schutze for this perspective.  Very fair and very observant.  I feel the people organizing and hosting this festival really did everything in their power to have a good event and to protect the attendees as best as anyone can.  And frame it however you want: this is *not* a rave.  Not when you have headliners that command upwards of $20k for a performance and did the soundtrack for The Dark Knight (i.e. Paul Van Dyk).  Raves are events held illegally in warehouses without bag & ID checks that certainly don't serve food & water.  They particularly don't hire a police and medical staff, and don't work with the city to ensure that they do everything they're supposed to.  I feel for the family of the kid who passed away Saturday, but believe Texas heat is way more to blame than anything else.

Montemalone
Montemalone

If drugs were not illegal, and therefore provided by less than reputable suppliers in unknown qualities and unregulated dosages, perhaps people wouldn't die or be sickened.There is obviously a desire on the part of a great many people to partake of mind altering substances, for what ever reason. And they do. (I did, and luckily survived).The screening and police presence are defensive measures. The powers that be knew full well that drugs would be taken. They wanted to be able to say they did everything possible to prevent it.Hey, just pop a pill before you go through security. It takes a while to hit and lasts all night anyway.

RICH
RICH

we need more parties like EDC

Sunshine_dust
Sunshine_dust

Wow. You are a very understanding person. EDC was a blast, and It's a shame that so many people had to get rushed to the hospital and that boy died...It's so sad how the time of your life ends up being the last time of your life.

Chris15751
Chris15751

Thank you for your honest genuine opinion. The beginning of this year I went Skiing in Colorado, the park I was at had a record of 20,000 people that day, I later on the news heard more people died from falling off the mountain, hitting trees that day than the unfortunate death of the young man, and the other in critical condition. There is risks in every day life doing things as enjoyable as snow skiing. Better outlaw that too...

Carol Maclaskey
Carol Maclaskey

I'm 60 too...and I love EDM.  I've attended many events over the past 15 years and even thought I'm the "old lady" now (I guess I always have been), I am always treated with respect, sometimes a few curious stares and even with huge "welcomes" from the young attendees.  I will NEVER understand the pressure put on these young people about drugs.  How many concerts did I attended when I was their age...everyone from the Stones to the Doobie Brothers.  I was never searched, nobody ever checked  my ID.  I can't tell you how many times I saw people selling drugs out of a fishbowl at a Santana concert back in the day...how stoned the police were (standing in the exit doorways and inhaling the smoke) at a Who concert in the late 70's!  WHY are we so repressive now?  Have we forgotten what it is to be young?  Do we expect young people NOT to want to have fun...to experiment...to be free?  Believe me, the cares of the world will weigh you down soon enough.  I hope you all will still love the music when you are my age. For the "older people" who are surely "tsk, tsk, tsking" at me for my views, I hope that you all will keep an open mind about the joyfulness of youth.  If you are my age and reading this with a jaundiced eye, please google the Peter Jennings expose' about Ecstacy.  It was one of the last things he did before he passed away.  It was a story that he felt was important to tell.  It might just change your thinking about these kids and what they are doing (and they are NOT all using drugs!!  Why does every story about a festival make it sound as if virtually everyone is stoned!).  For the rest of you who are loving the scene...just party on...be safe and know that those of us who went before you did FAR worse...and had a lot less fun....  The next time you see someone my age at one of your events (generally trying to be invisible and not put a damper on the fun) I hope you'll treat them kindly. ;-)

Bryan Howard
Bryan Howard

These events are no different than big hair band rock concerts, ya there's different music and people dress different but both have the same problems to deal with. You can't blame thousands for the bad personal decisions just a few make.

Summer Rainz Rose
Summer Rainz Rose

I must say kudos to the author here!! Insomiac is very tight with their shows both in production and trying to keep everyone safe. If everyone thought back to Woodstock and the overdoes that happen there even at a historical event. I was at the Kurt Cobain memorial back in 1994 and their were injurys and one or more overdoes also. These things are par for the course and as much as you try there are going to be kids and adults at any event, with any type of music, that are just not smart. Should we shut down all rap/hip-hop shows because someone might get stabbed or shot? Should we shut down every rock concert because someone might get hurt in the mosh pit? EDM is here to stay and if we dont protect our children and educate them then it does not matter what type of event they go to they will end up hurt in some fashion. I have been saying for a long time that we need to push to have www.dancesafe.org coming to events here in texas. While they neither condone or condem drug use they can make sure people are educated and safe.

..
..

hell yes!  very very true!

Amanda Garrison
Amanda Garrison

Jim thank you so much for this! You are 100% correct. Thank you again for showing people that its not as bad as the News likes to make it out to be. With 25,000 people, someone somewhere was bound to party too hard (whether or not they were at a massive show like this or not). Sadly things go wrong all the time, I agree thats its better to have the ambulance right there, rather than be in a house party with friends who are to scared to take their overdosing friend to the hospital. :/ My condolences to the family of the man who passed. 

Lalah
Lalah

this is the most wonderful thing i have ever read

ZigZag
ZigZag

great article.thanks for the accurate unbiast(spelling?) report. Ive been in this scene since 1996 when i was a young kid and ive been to many events,shows,raves whatever u wanna call em. both legal and deep underground. and i must say this was one of the best ran events ive ever been to. stupid people do stupid shit and kill themselves everyday. Im a Juggalo and i go to the Gathering of the Juggalos every year and u know what, someone dies there almost every year. you have bad eggs in any "scene"and crowd

Ang
Ang

What an amazing article couldn't be more true. The truth is society always needs someone to blame no matter how small or big the matter is and that's all this media is trying to do. Insomniac did nothing wrong! It was organized prepared and safe, nothing happened at nocturnal the past two years and it was just as much or more people minus the texas heat and buildings.

Christopheronyeche
Christopheronyeche

Its always a shame when someone dies but bottom line is drugs will almost always be previlent with teens and music culture of all kinds..know your limits and know that if you choose to do drugs of that sort u run risk of death.

Savanah Ashley Pilcher
Savanah Ashley Pilcher

The security depended on what line you went through.Everyone I talked to who went through the "will call" line got thoroughly searched, meanwhile, myself and others who had our tickets mailed to us and went through a different line for people who already had their tickets, just got our bags shaken, they never looked inside of them, our id's scanned but not verified they belonged to the proper person, and definitely no pocket checks or pat downs.Honestly i felt like the security could have honestly been better. There were points were people were almost trampling each other and hopping fences to get on a carnival ride. And security really didnt seem to give a damn about the fact that people were getting squished.

Nanou
Nanou

Great article..controlling 25K people where there isnt any kind of seating arrangments would be hard at any kind of event..as for the talk of drugs being a big issue the event holders can only do so much..people will find ways to do what they want to do..insomniac went above and beyond already to give Dallas a great event..i hope it returns

Sierra Cool
Sierra Cool

it's not the promoters' fault or anyone else's that someone chose to take too many drugs and died as a result of doing so

Forrest Mckay Gilmore
Forrest Mckay Gilmore

So I guess any concert, or massive public event, is a problem? The same chance is likely at any of these... There was a death at Bonaroo, but you don't see the media making a big deal out of that...

justdelanie
justdelanie

why is this a arguement, this is a concert, with amazing dj (music makers) of course drugs are involved, just liek they are involved at warped, head is always a problem just like it is at vans warped tour in july or edgefest in april.. these concerts are directed to younger ones and are set in summer time and springbreak cause they dont go to school those times. people enjoy the music, sure people get way into drugs and drinks, but this isnt an arguement, if people stepped in to help others when they seem like they need help, this wouldnt of happened. the police were everywhere just standing there if anyone needed anything or anyone was trying to hurt someone, but no one was angry, no one was violent till the music was shutoff.

thsm
thsm

"All that would accomplish would be to push the party underground and distance officials from any responsibility for what happens. How is that better?"

I think, in general, "the underground" doesn't really want to deal with irresponsible ravers anyways

Liza Garcia
Liza Garcia

seriously! EVERYONE already knows what goes on at these events. if you dont like being around it, dont go. i had a blast. yes i rolled. but i know my limit. yes it was hot. so i drank lots of water. if i felt any different or needed space, i go out side and sit down. its called being responsible. yeah, party hard, have a good time with friends and make new ones. but like skrillex said "dont kill yourself in the process." yes it is sad someone died. its no ones fault but his own. ive attend many EDM events. not once have i ever seen a fight break out or ever hear gun shots. P.L.U.R. is always promoted. and thats why i will continue to attend. some people are never happy. many people complaining about not be checked properly, but then if they go to extreme measures, you'll still have people complaining. 

Rave'n since 1994
Rave'n since 1994

P.L.U.R....  Looks like there is about as much PLUR going on between party goers on these comments as I've ever seen be promoted at our outside of parties.  PLUR is a joke... The idea is great, but I have yet to see someone who claims that stupid acronym actually represent it. 

ravin for longer
ravin for longer

you dont know the right people then. those are the "kandi kids" the ones there for just drugs and partying. the real "ravers" know and understand plur and represent it. although it is true it is few and far between at the moment but all it takes is one person to bring it back the right way. if plur was in effect on saturday that guy would still be here. someone would have seen that he didnt look so hot and offered water or to go get fresh air and chat. plur is not a joke. and those of u who dont know what plur is it stands for Peace Love Unity Respect/responsibility. love yourself and those around you and others will soon realize that they can do the same.

Xavier
Xavier

Hit the nail on the head

Coleman
Coleman

Great article, Jim. My friends and I went to Electric Daisy Carnival last year and from reading this and other posts about it, it seems security was just as good this year as it was then. The only difference? Crappier DJs and over twice as many people.

Keller506
Keller506

you are joking right? the line up this year completely blew away the line up last year bahahaha. sure there weren't as many recognizable names like benassi or kaskade, but i can guarantee you the number of attendance more than doubled (compared to last year) because of the superior line up in other genres besides house or trance.

Coleman
Coleman

there weren't as many recognizable names like Benassi or Kaskade OR Moby or Rusko or that dude from MSTRKFT or Dieselboy or Savoy...This year had...what? teenagers shitting their drawers over Skrillex? sorry, dude. This year's EDC was bigger because everyone heard how fun it was last year, not because of the mediocre line-up (Diplo excluded).

really?
really?

why do you think there were twice the ppl there this year than last? its because of the artists. last year there were 3 stages this year 5. more stages with more djs that are more popular equals more people. they were unprepared for the amount of people at the event in my opinion. it was the most crowded event ive ever been to. i say a bigger more open area would fix any problems that were present there. and at least have the headliner artists at an outside stage.

been there done that
been there done that

You are wrong. More people attended 2010. So far the numbers I am hearing is 25K this year compared to 28K last year

Ljensen369
Ljensen369

Your crazy!!!! There was about 18k last year and 25k this year. There is no way the venue could hold 28k last year. The space was half the size compared last year. Check your info before you post, it makes you look like an idiot.

Keller506
Keller506

no you are wrong hahaha, the official numbers last year were about 11,000. not to mention that if you were even there it was easy to tell there were far more people this year than last. they opened well over twice the amount of space this year around, but the density in terms of bodies was much more prevalent this year as well; more people attending last year is completely wrong

thefncrow
thefncrow

Where'd you hear 28K for last year?  All the estimates I'd heard about last year was that they were expecting 15K and got around 11K.

Danielsu21
Danielsu21

Good article. At rap concerts there have been shootings/murders, rock concerts their have been riots/trampling but since this was a "rave" which is looked down upon communities it is a big deal.

Adub
Adub

finally a person who was actually there gives an accurate account. I was there and i completely agree with everything that was said. security and police presence was even better than i expected. and to grumpyoldman, i was one of your so-called "bottom feeders" that frequented the dubstep stage. I have a 3.5 gpa at SMU studying electrical engineering. just because you like dubstep doesnt mean youre a lowlife

Credible Source
Credible Source

He's not saying you ARE scum.  He's saying you listen to scum....

Edcraver
Edcraver

well he must be a scum...

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