In case some of you haven’t read it in the news, a “rave riot” broke out Los Angeles this week. That’s right, several thousand ravers showed up and then shut down the busiest part of Hollywood Blvd. It wasn’t a flash mob. It was just supposed to be a free set by Kaskade outside the screening of Electric Daisy Carnival Experience at Grauman's Chinese Theater.
DJ Kaskade proved he has a lot of loyal fans when he encouraged his followers to come out to Hollywood Blvd with this Tweet earlier in the day: “Today@6pm in Hollywood @Mann's Chinese Theatre. ME+BIG SPEAKERS+MUSIC=BLOCK PARTY!!! RT!”
Kids showed up, happy color beads and all. But when the crowd grew over capacity and interrupted traffic (I have no idea where these kids parked…) the cops came to bust up the large but peaceful crowd. When that happened a few rabble rouser ravers broke some windows and smashed a cop car. That’s when the shit hit the fan. Police in riot gear and legion formations, armed with bean bag guns, steamrolled through the boulevard. A police car was set on fire, according to multiple news reports. I didn’t see that, though.
Yes, I was there. I got on the seen late, about 30 minutes after the initial disturbances. What I did see can be viewed in what I filmed on my phone. I interviewed a few cool raver kids who seemed like they just wanted to have a good time (and I ran into my comedian friend Michael Lenoci).
The LAPD shut down Hollywood Boulevard to traffic and forced businesses along the Walk of Fame to close their doors, keeping some customers trapped inside. Traffic was snarled for miles (even more than it usually is). Police and news helicopters hovered over head. It was a pretty hardrcore reaction by the city.
In the middle of it all, DJ Kaskade sent out multiple Tweets, calling for calm and entreating the crowd to disperse.
"EVERYONE NEEDS TO GO HOME NOW! I DON'T WANT THIS TO REFLECT BADLY ON EDM OR WHAT WE ARE ABOUT," he tweeted. "BE RESPECTFUL AND CHILL OUT!!"
So what do I think about this? Well, it wasn’t really a riot. Just poor crowd control for a flash mob like gathering by the cops. It wasn’t like the kids were out of control before they showed up, unless you count having a huge crowd on a public street out of control. That happened after the cops became aggressive.
Color me anti-climatic. Call me an apologist for kids wanting to do something on a big scale. Call me a sucker for rave culture and spontaneous human congregations. But what simply happened is that Kaskade has a hell of a lot of fans, and they all wanted to hear him spin. They all wanted to have fun. That and the fact the cops and the tourists got scared of the colorfully clothed, smiley faced, diluted pupil’d, dancing youth. The thugs you saw starting trouble were not there to see Kaskade. The handful who threw rocks and set fire to a cop car, those kids weren’t cool. But the rest were. Yeah, I said it…and what? Get your rave on.