What should have been a low-key documentary premiere turned into a near-riot, sparked by a DJ’s ill-conceived tweet.
Five hundred or so invited moviegoers were expected at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre for Wednesday’s red-carpet screening of the Electric Daisy Carnival Experience, a doc about one of the nation’s largest annual techno-dance fests. (It’s a subject with which the city of Los Angeles already has a very controversial history.)
Instead, thousands of uninvited guests descended upon Hollywood Boulevard in response to a Twitter message sent by L.A. club DJ Kaskade, urging his 92,000 followers to gather outside the theater at 6 p.m. for a free concert celebrating a new movie about the rave scene.
“ME+BIG SPEAKERS+MUSIC=BLOCK PARTY!!!” Kaskade tweeted. “Let’s see if the magic of social networking will work today.”
Seems it was working just fine.
Apparently Kaskade, whose given name is Ryan Raddon, had been hired to play a premiere after-party at a nearby lounge, the Supperclub Los Angeles; to promote that appearance, the DJ obtained a permit from the L.A. Fire Department allowing him to roll down Hollywood Boulevard in a flatbed truck tricked out with his audio equipment, and play two songs before entering the screening.
As uninvited people began showing up, however, it was clear that “a crisis was headed our way,” said Michael Duddie, GM of Supperclub Los Angeles.
That’s something of an understatement.
Within minutes, an estimated 3,000 street-blockers were tying up traffic in one of the busiest intersections in Hollywood. People danced on one police car, and set fire to another; they threw bottles, got into fights, and made everything in their way a surface for planking.
“I knew it was going to get out of hand when they started taunting the police,” one witness said.
But when police in riot gear showed up, firing beanbags into the crowd to disperse people and setting up a mobile field jail at the scene, DJ Kaskade changed his Twitter tune.
“EVERYONE NEEDS TO GO HOME NOW! I DON’T WANT THIS TO REFLECT BADLY ON EDM OR WHAT WE ARE ABOUT. BE RESPECTFUL AND CHILL OUT!!!” he tweeted.
When the chaos subsided, Kaskade went on to his after-party gig, as planned — albeit with tripled-up security and extra precautions, according to the L.A. Times.
The LAPD’s already arrested three people on suspicion of felony vandalism; now Los Angeles city officials are adding up the costs of responding to the incident and destruction of property and considering criminal or civil actions against those who organized the event.
One party definitely not at fault this time is Insomniac Inc., the producers behind the Electric Daisy Carnival — and the movie premiere.
“Insomniac had nothing to do with the supposed ‘block party,’ said chief executive Pasquale Rotella, in a statement. “The crowd issues that arose were a result of individuals responding to social media information which mistakenly led them to believe they could see artists perform.”
Should DJ Kaskade be held responsible?