On Friday, Insomniac Inc, the promotion company behind the now notorious Electric Daisy Carnival, filed a million-plus dollar lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Convention Center after the facility canceled an upcoming concert by the global trance DJ phenomenon Tiësto in the wake of the death of a 15-year-old girl at another Insomniac event earlier this year. For LA's dance music fans (who number in the hundreds of thousands), this is a major disappointment. For the promoters and performer, it is a significant blow to their business, as well as a potential first-amendment violation.
The fact is, when any government--from DC to City Hall--takes measures to prohibit a performance (ie "speech") based on the perceived character of the performance, we are all denied the fundamental right granted by the Constitution. On a weekend when Glenn Beck is allowed to speak a highly-questionable message of "civil rights" on the steps the Lincoln Monument, the notion of a city government violating a contract for the event (in effect, prohibiting the performance) is laughable at best and chilling at worst. And what are the priorities for a city that would risk a million-dollar payout when it is severely in debt, just to halt a concert no different than hundreds of other events that take place in Southern California every year?
Of course, everyone will admit that there have been some logistical and behavioral issues that need to be addressed when it comes to dance music event, in Los Angeles and elsewhere. For that, Los Angeles County has convened a Rave Task Force to address the concerns. I personally sat in on a Task Force meeting last week and can attest to the sincere intentions of all involved to best mitigate the current concerns by making dance music events safer and better run in the future. This is how civilized society should handle it's concerns. Work to fix the problems, not toss out the baby with the bath water. Doing so is not only unwise, but in this case, it might just be denying someone their rights.
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