Renewed concerns over fan safety at live music events has led to several prominent concert cancellations this summer. Police closed down a free Drake show at New York's South Street Seaport in June when an overflow crowd began a small riot, and the rapper's gig in Central Park (part of Good Morning America's live music series) was subsequently nixed over security concerns. A Ke$ha performance scheduled for the Seaport will also be relocated. And last night, organizers of the HARD L.A. M.I.A. festival, an electronic-music event headlined by the Sri Lankan MC, confirmed the event has been called off, the Los Angeles Times' Pop & Hiss blog reports.
Though HARD organizers deny security concerns led to the fest's demise, the cancellation comes just weeks after a 15-year-old girl died of a suspected Ecstasy overdose at a similar Los Angeles music festival, the Electric Daisy Carnival. One hundred twenty of the 185,000 attendees of the two-day Electric Daisy fest were hospitalized, mostly due to drugs. Ecstasy use is on the rise at Los Angeles dance parties, and after the Electric Daisy incident, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors established a task force to "enhance rave safety." Fresh Squeezed, another electronic music festival in Los Angeles, was also canceled in the wake of the Electric Daisy death. According to the Los Angeles Times , in 2005 only an estimated 4.5 out of every 10,000 people who went to drug rehab said Ecstasy was their drug of choice. By 2009, that number had ballooned to 33.6 out of 10,000 people. The amount of Ecstasy seized in drug raids has also doubled over the same time period.
HARD L.A. M.I.A., scheduled for July 17th at Los Angeles State Historic Park, would have featured N.E.R.D., Sleigh Bells, Flying Lotus and Die Antwoord. Tickets for the fest will be valid for the city's HARD Summer Music Festival on August 7th at the same venue, which includes Major Lazer, Crystal Castles, Soulwax and Diplo. A similar HARD M.I.A. event at New York's Governor's Island on July 24th also remains on schedule.