One Dead, Dozens Hospitalized During Rave At Fair Park

By Matt Goodman, CBSDFW.COM

Updated 6/20, 5:15 p.m.

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A police report suspects a drug overdose is responsible for a 19-year-old Argyle man’s death at an electronic music festival Saturday at Fair Park.

Officials said 30 others were taken to area hospitals throughout the 10-hour Electric Daisy Carnival, which city officials repeatedly described as “basically a rave.”

On Monday, a spokesman announced the city of Dallas issued seven citations to the event’s promoter – Los Angeles-based Insomniac Incorporated – for overcrowding, failure to obtain a count of occupants and obstruction of justice.

In a statement, Insomniac spokeswoman Erika Raney called the citations “unwarranted” and said the company “will challenge the validity of each in court.”

Alcohol, drug and heat-related emergency calls began around 8 p.m., the city said, and medical officials were called to perform CPR on Argyle resident Andrew James Graf, 19, at about 8:30 p.m. He was taken to Baylor Hospital where he died.

The cause of death remains under investigation pending a toxicology test, but a police report suspects a drug overdose is to blame.

Another person, whose age and gender has not been announced, remains in critical condition at Dallas Methodist following the event, city spokesman Jason Evans said Sunday.

An additional 30 concertgoers were also treated at area hospitals, although Evans had no specific information on how many of those were drug and alcohol related. By 10:30 p.m., 12 to 15 individuals had been taken to the hospital in addition to Graf’s death, city spokesman Frank Librio said.

An estimated 21,000 to 24,000 concertgoers attended Saturday’s Electric Daisy Carnival, which catapulted into the public eye after Los Angeles banned it following the drug-related death of a teenaged girl in 2010. Medical and police staff planned for an attendance of 22,000, Librio said.

The event took place in the 94,500 square foot Centennial Building, the 84,500 square foot Automobile building and on an outdoor stage. The festival also had carnival rides and light shows to accompany the music. All concertgoers had to provide identification at the door and submit to a search.

Total capacity, Librio said, was 42,927. However, about 76 percent of that comes from the outdoor capacity, which has room for 32,673 individuals. The Centennial Building has a capacity of 4,791 and the Automobile Building has a capacity of 5,463.

“I couldn’t tell you exactly how many people were in the Centennial and Automobile buildings, but it was determined by fire inspectors that it was more than the listed limits,” Librio said in an email.

Evans said at least 10 rescue units were sent to the location at one point during the evening to respond to heat, drug and alcohol-related emergencies. The night ended with 47 off-duty police officers onsite, about 10 more than the beginning of the festival, Librio said.

The promoter said it hired an additional 200 security personnel to staff the event.

In all, police arrested one person for public intoxication and another for possession of ecstasy.

The festival, which began at 4 p.m., was shut down 30 minutes before its scheduled conclusion at about 1:30 a.m. after someone triggered a fire alarm.

“The chaos finally came to a rapid stop when someone pulled a fire alarm … and sent those remaining scattering,” Evans said.

YouTube videos show headliner Skrillex announcing to the crowd, “The fire marshal’s here, I’m going to get arrested if I keep playing,” before asking concertgoers to exit the venue calmly. (Ed. note: The linked video contains adult language.) 

Librio said police and fire officials considered closing the festival after the transports and Graf’s death, but feared it would cause “civil unrest.” At midnight, Librio said authorities started a “soft close,” ending each area of the festival slightly earlier than publicized.

The Centennial Building closed by 12:30 a.m. and the Automobile Building was closed and emptied by 1:30 a.m. without incident. By this time, Librio said a third of the crowd safely left Fair Park. The outside area was closed by 2 a.m.

On Monday, Librio said the city issued Insomniac Incorporated seven citations: Two for overcrowding, two more for failure to obtain a count of occupants and three for obstruction of justice.

“The obstruction of justice came as a result of refusing to comply with turning on the lights and turning down the music for better crowd control,” Librio said in an email.

This was the second year Fair Park has hosted the festival. The final attendance counts from last year maxed at around 11,000, with only one arrest for possession of narcotics and one person taken to the hospital for a possible drug overdose, Librio said.

At about 8:15 a.m. Sunday, the Dallas Observer reported that the Electric Daisy promoter issued a statement offering condolences to the Graf family and vowed to work with authorities to investigate what led to the man’s death.

“To go from a moment of happiness and enjoyment, to the loss of life, is very heartbreaking,” wrote Insomniac Incorporated CEO and founder Pasquale Rotella in the statement. “Along with the independent local promoters in Dallas, we will work with the authorities to understand how this tragedy occurred.”

The Electric Daisy Carnival also has events in Orlando, Denver, Las Vegas and Puerto Rico throughout the hot summer months. Las Vegas jumped at the chance to host the festival after the two-day event was banned in Los Angeles, The New York Times reported.

The event’s website says it has a zero-tolerance policy for drug use and is only open to those who are at least 18-years-old.

  • Old Jim

    Rave on…….

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  • NiteNurse

    Sometimes you think it really is “A Brave New World.”

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  • schrodinger

    Yeah, I heard the commotion last night on the police/fire scanner. What a bunch of idiots! You don’t need drugs to have a good time, and in this Texas heat Ecstasy is one of the most dangerous drugs to be using. It raises the body’s temperature and causes sodium losses which can cause seizures and death. This is exactly what I was hearing on the scanner (several reports of patients having seizures). Couple that with high levels of alcohol and stupidity, and it’s a recipe for disaster… like we heard last night.

  • Jb

    “Zero-tolerance policy for drug use”…at a rave. Really?

  • Yeah Its Abe

    Scrodinger: Ecstacy is a dangerous drug if used improperly. Otherwise it’s not that bad. Its NOT like heroin, cocaine, meth, ice, etc. It’s on a level with weed, however not it’s equivalent. But ur absolutely right about everything else. I’m a few hours south in SA and first thing I thought about was how in the hell are u gonna have a rave OUTDOORS in this relentless Texas heat, especially with this drought we’re having and triple digit temps KNOWING that ur gonna have ppl rolling?!? Ur correct in ur stating that it dehydrates and causes the body to lose sodium which reinforces my point abt irresponsible use of MDMA. The promoter should NOT have had this in this heat and should have been more responsible. Not just make the disclaimer that they don’t condone drug use when they know damn well it’s an integral part of the rave culture.

    • Patrick Fulton

      Excellent response….as a former rave promoter myself I completely agree…Patrick Fulton.

    • Learn to read

      MDMA causes irreversible brain damage, and is usually mixed with meth, cocaine, and heroin. have fun burning holes in your brain…

      • Johnson

        MDMA doesn’t cause irreversible brain damage. Stop pretending to know.

      • ...
      • FROGGER

        From that very link:

        “However, improved imaging technologies and more research are needed to confirm these findings and to elucidate the exact nature of the effects of MDMA on the human brain”

        MDMA *may* damage serotonin receptors, but nerve cells continually generate new receptors. The turnover is slow, but happens.

        Nice try.

    • Neal

      Now I know where Obama voters came from………

      • jaaaaaaaake

        Shut up, dude… my friends and I are republicans and we’re all the biggest kandi kids on the planet.

  • Mr. Darwin

    Ma Nature is just thinning the herd.

    • Reese

      Does saying things like that make you feel genetically superior? I guess you never went to a party or gathering when you were younger. Ever been to Mardi Gras perhaps? How about a block party in scorching heat where they were serving beer? If you’ve never done any of those things, then I would call you anti-social. Which perhaps could make you genetically broken.

      • Student2011

        Reese, are you saying it’s okay to be stupid in a social setting? Or, are you saying it’s okay to be young and stupid? Or, are you saying it’s okay to be young, irresponsible and stupid? My personal belief is it is okay to be all these things – but one must accept the consequences of one’s actions. One such consequence is to be judged. Another consequence is to be ridiculed.

        I believe the point “Mr. Darwin” is succinctly adding to the discussion on this article is one consequence of stupid behavior is to die.

        The individuals engaging in the decision to attend the RAVE are of an age to make rational decisions. If one make decisions that are inimical to continued normal ambulatory existence, one receives what one asks for. If one does not recognize one’s decisions (and actions) can result in death, experience is a dear teacher. Once an individual engages in risky behavior (i.e., stupid behavior when the action is looked at dispassionately) don’t expect individuals not engaged in risky behavior to be overly concerned.

        As for being anti social, assume (for the sake of discussion) that an individual who has not done one of the items you list is, in fact, anti social; being so does not negate that individual’s observation or opinion. Your observation that being anti social is a sign of genetic dysfunction (or genetic drift) may be correct. However, genetic drift is the basis of evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin’s theory of species origin. (Recall the full title of the theory is On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured (sic) Races in the Struggle for Life.) Such an individual may be genetically superior to those of us who do engage in social events. Today we do not know.

      • Mr. Darwin

        Stupidity kills. Since I have to spell it out for you you should expect a call from Mr. Death soon.

  • One Dead, Dozens Hospitalized During Overcrowded Dallas Rave... | Breaking News

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  • sailordude

    If you watch some of those Skrillex DJ videos on Youtube it opens your eyes to a real herd gathering. Looks like everyone is on MDMA (X). It reminded me of a 1960’s movie with Michael Cain called The Ipcress File, the scene I’m thinking of is when he is being tortured, lol. I just wonder if this is creating a sub set of America that is partially brain damaged over the course of many years, and I jknow thats always been around but this looks like tens of thousands across every city in America. Democrat evil plot? I question, you decide.

  • NoMoreKoolAid

    We don’t need “cool” axelrod – we need a freakin leader! That axel rod must be through your fat head.

    • Hello?

      Jesus, guy. Do you even read the articles you find linked off Drudge Report before you comment on them? Typifies most DR readers, but I thought I’d ask anyway.

  • Mike

    Only one? As dumb and ignorant as the average young brainwashed American is today it is surprising that it wasn’t more….

  • Jay

    If it turns out that this boy just died from a heat related illness, I hope all of you are going to apologize.

  • NoMoreMrNiceGuy

    I got a heart full of pain, head full of stress
    handfull of anger, held in my chest
    And everything left’s a waste of time
    I hate my rhymes, but hate everyone else’s more
    I’m riding on the back of this pressure
    Guessing that it’s better I can’t keep myself together
    Because all of this stress gave me something to write on
    The pain gave me something I could set my sights on
    Never forget the blood sweat and tears
    The uphill struggle over years the fear and
    Trash talking and the people it was to
    And the people that started it just like you

    (Tried to give you warning but everyone ignores me)
    Told you everything loud and clear
    (But nobody’s listening)
    (Called to you so clearly but you don’t want to hear me)
    Told you everything loud and clear
    (But nobody’s listening)

    I got a heart full of pain, head full of stress
    handfull of anger, held in my chest
    Uphill struggle
    Blood sweat and tears
    Nothing to gain
    Everything to fear

    • MrNiceGuy

      And your point is?

  • Trey

    Over 11,000 people attended last year’s EDC in Dallas and this year was only projected to be higher. Assuming most of those people were rolling on ex (they were) we are looking at a 1 in 10000 or so chance of dying due to MDMA related illnesses 3 days away from the summer solstice on a day when temperatures were above 105 degrees. Those are odds I can live with

    • Dennis Rutherford

      Or die with, idiot

  • One Dead, Dozens Hospitalized During Overcrowded Dallas Rave… | The Daily Conservative

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  • kay parsons

    the dallas summer musicals had a responsibility to email the patrons of last night’s show that a ‘rave’ was taking place on the fair grounds, so we could have had the option of exchanging our tickets. i do not read the ‘observer’ and had no idea of this event, banned by los angeles no less, was taking place until we reached the fair park entrance. the musicals staff emails us about construction problems, etc., and an email was awaiting when we got home thanking us for our attendance at ‘spamalot,’ but not a word about the wave. what is most upsetting is that we considered taking our young granddaughter to the show. the oft repeated old saw that ‘fair park is safer than northpark’ is bunk. i was at northpark on friday and believe me, fair park, you are no northpark.

    • John Marshall

      Yeah, wander out of the parking lot at fair park at 3 am and see how ” Safe ” you feel.

  • LarryG

    There is no substitute for good sense.

  • Reese

    Some people get together to have a good time and they are immediately demonized by other people? Really?
    If someone is judgmental enough to hurl accusations at a group of young people for enjoying getting together to dance and listen to music they enjoy then they better be ready to look at some of the things they do or have done in their own lives. How pathetic to have to take joy in others getting hurt to make yourself feel “right”.
    It was over 100 degrees. Would I know better than to stay in a crowded place in that situation at my age? Yes. But when I was a teenager and young adult I probably would have stuck it out too. But I didn’t deserve to die back then for making a bad decision.

  • Mark

    Idiots. The gRave is where they belong.

  • Scott

    These shows have been going on in the same format for at least 15 years all over the world.

  • Scott

    They didn’t email patrons about a “rave” taking place because nobody calls it a rave. It’s a music festival like any other.

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  • bob

    Wake up Texans, stop importing the drugs and obamunist cultural degradation from NYC and LA.

    • cappachino65

      This has nothing to do with politics you moron! These are dumb-a teenagers doing what dumb-a teenagers do.

  • Stephen Williams

    I was at Electric Daisy Carnival and was in the building that was allegedly “chaotic” I can assure you that the fire marshal spokesman’s comments were most definitely misguided. When the lights came on, people were a bit confused as to why the show was ending early but there was no chaos.

    – The buildings were properly air conditioned and they provided relief from the outside Texas heat.
    – There was plenty of water and food in all buildings and outside.
    – There was a seance of peace, happiness and an overall easy-going mood from the crowd.
    – There was a big FREE water refill tent outside between the two buildings.
    – There were lots of security personnel properly managing the event.
    – There were medical stations inside of the Fair Park event.
    – There were 3 checkpoints to get into the park. 1. Check ID (in which I had to recite my address and DOB. 2. Checked pockets, bags, and purses (we had to empty everything and turn our pockets inside out, and at another insomniac event in Texas we were patted down). 3. Checked tickets.
    – There was a 4th checkpoint to get a wristband if you were over 21 and wanted to drink (so short of a TSA body scanner Insomniac did everything you can do at an event to ensure safety).
    – Electric Daisy Carnival was not permiantely but temporarily banned from Los Angeles. As a result of that girls death they have since upped the age limit to 18 and implemented many more policies to ensure safety.

    This show was much better planned, implemented, and managed than last year. It was a much greater success than last years EDC. Condolences to the family and friends of the man that died. But Insomniac Events nor the City of Dallas is responsible for the death of that man or the people that were hospitalized. When you consider that 30 people out of over 23,000 had problems this only accounts for 0.1% of the people that went there. This is 30 people who either took drugs, drank to much alcohol, or didn’t drink enough water to balance 104 degree day. Before you re-post articles from the associated press or even write articles you should check sources to make sure what your posting isn’t a slanted story.

    It is bad journalism to slant articles and it’s bad media that will give 30 irresponsible people the power to kill a great event for 20,000 people

    • ddub

      I was there and I agree with all of your facts except for the 1st one. You must have not entered the other building after 11pm because it was extremely hot in there. It was literally 5-10 degrees hotter than it was outside. There was most definitely air temperature problems in the building with the “bass pod” stage. I wanted to see several of the acts in that building and I did not stay in there more than 10min because it felt like a sauna. Whoever says the air conditioner was working fine did not go in that building.

    • Jrey

      Agreed!!! I’m tired of all the bad press! I would go to a EDM event any day over edgefest or crazy rap concert series.

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