Judge Sides With Wet Electric Music Festival

City officials challenged the beach party over fears of drunken, rowdy crowds

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    NEWSLETTERS

    An Orange County judge ruled that the “Wet Electric” music festival will go on as planned Saturday in Huntington Beach. Local officials tried to shut down the event, in fears of a repeat of the riots that erupted following the U.S. Open. Vikki Vargas reports from Santa Ana for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on September 11, 2013. (Published Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013)

    The show will go on, after all.

    A judge ruled Wednesday that this weekend’s popular Wet Electric music festival – expected to draw 10,000 revelers to Huntington State Beach – cannot be stopped by Huntington Beach’s zoning laws.

    Challenging the Saturday event, city officials said they don’t want a repeat of the riots that erupted downtown following the U.S. Open of Surfing in July.

    “The question is, are they going to be driving under the influence? Are they going to head to Main Street? To Costa Mesa? Are they going to leave the facility?” city attorney Jennifer McGrath said.

    But since Wet Electric is being on state-controlled sands, a judge ruled the city has no jurisdiction on that beach.

    The judge also questioned by Huntington Beach waited until the last minute to try to stop the beach party.

    Organizers will pay the state $90,000 to rent 400 yards of coastline near Brookhurst Street and Pacific Coast Highway.

    They plan to have 25 state officers on patrol and 90 security guards. Organizers described the expected crowd as “adults.”

    “We’re a nine-hour event. We’re a daytime event and typically after being on all the water rides, the zip lines, people are tired. They’re going home,” organizer Steve Thacher said.

    Ticket prices for the 21-and-over event run $75 to $150. Revelers can see 30 artists perform across three stages, dance to DJs and slide down blow-up water slides.

    Contrary to local officials’ lingo, state authorities are not calling the event a rave.

    “I see this as somebody coming and enjoying music,” said Brian Ketterer, superintendent of California State Parks. “Maybe not the music you and I prefer, but it is music.”

    There will be taxis and shuttles on hand after the music stops, organizers said.

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