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‘Electric’ riot sparks scrutiny

Charges mulled as rave repercussions echo

After business on Hollywood Blvd. was disrupted by a near-riot outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater on Wednesday evening, authorities are weighing charges while film promoters and participants in the long-contentious Los Angeles megarave scene are left to ponder the fallout.

The trouble started with the lure of a surprise “block party” perf by popular DJ Kaskade outside the theater to coincide with an invite-only screening of the docu “Electric Daisy Carnival Experience.” Kaskade — who is featured in the film — announced his appearance to fans Wednesday afternoon via Twitter. Thousands showed up and eventually turned raucous, throwing rocks and bottles at police. Three arrests for felony vandalism were made, with dozens of other people detained, and sections of Hollywood Boulevard were closed by riot police for several hours.

LAPD spokesman commander Andrew Smith told Variety that the LAPD is still looking into whether promoters or Kaskade could be held criminally or civilly liable in relation to the fracas.

The film’s director, Kevin Kerslake, told Variety he wasn’t even aware of the Kaskade stunt until he encountered heavy traffic on his way to the screening. “It’s good to hear that everybody’s safe,” he said. “That’s the most important thing. It’s really unfortunate that things like this happen, but it’s really a testament to the power of social media, and also the popularity of this type of music.”

Pic chronicles the high-profile rave, which occurred annually in Los Angeles from 1997 to 2010, spawning incarnations in Dallas, Colorado and Puerto Rico. After scores of arrests and the drug-related death of a 15-year-old girl at 2010’s EDC at the L.A. Coliseum, the rave was moved to Las Vegas for its 2011 event. Last month, a total of 215,000 people attended the three-day Vegas iteration, though a 19-year-old man died at an earlier date in Dallas.

L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge said he couldn’t tell whether Wednesday’s incident would specifically affect the Carnival’s future in the city, though he noted: “When you’re a promoter, you have a track record, and that track record affects your ability (to secure permits).”

For its part, event producer Insomniac Inc. issued a statement expressing disappointment “that a small group of people would try to mar a private documentary screening.” Midday on Thursday, Kaskade issued a statement saying: “This is not what EDM (Electronic Dance Music) is about.”

While Wednesday’s incident will likely fuel tensions between outdoor electronic music promoters and L.A. officials, the effect on the film remains to be seen.

“I work in the music industry with people I would consider very in the know, and they’ve never even heard of Electric Daisy Carnival,” said Kerslake, a vet musicvideo helmer. “It’s like the biggest thing out there that you’ve never heard about. I’m sure there will be a viable bump from (the incident) … it certainly raises awareness that there is such a thing.”

“Electric Daisy Concert Experience,” which features electronic acts David Guetta, Deadmaus5 and Moby, is slated to unspool on 250 U.S. screens on Thursday, with screenings produced by National CineMedia Fathom. Kerslake confirmed that there has been no change to the release schedule following the incident.

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