Rave Promoter Reza Gerami Says He'll Fight (And Sue) For His Right to Party at L.A. Sports Arena
Much of the focus regarding raves at the publicly controlled L.A. Coliseum and Sports Arena has been trained on the promoter of last summer's controversial Electric Daisy Carnival, which attracted about 160,000 young people over two days.
Go Ventures Reza Gerami.
But there's another major promoter who does parties at the venues. In fact, Reza Gerami and his Go Ventures company put on the first raves there and helped to open the door for EDC's Insomniac Events.
As such, Gerami tells the Weekly that while he's moving his annual Love Festival from the Sports Arena to another L.A. venue to-be-announced, he's determined to be back there for his New Year's Eve event Together As One. In fact, he says ...
... if the Coliseum Commission votes it down, he'll sue.
"We have to go for a commission vote," he says. "From everything I've heard our events are still a go and the commission is proud to work with us."
The commission changed its tune on raves following June's EDC, which saw 200 medical emergencies, 60 arrests, and the subsequent death of a 15-year-old girl who overdosed on ecstasy.
Caesar Sebastian Love Festival lovelies.
The parties were on thin ice, but the commission was poised to let them continue until ... the Los Angeles Times revealed that the venues' events manager was moonlighting as a manager for Insomniac. Such double dipping could be illegal, and it prompted Coliseum general manager Patrick Lynch to resign.
After that, the commission's president, David Israel, said he would not support next year's EDC. So it moved to Vegas.
Now Gerami says the next big party, the Love Festival, is pulling out of the Sports Arena too. But he says Together As One, which he co-promoted with Insomniac, will go on at the Arena.
"For anyone to stand in the way of our music being displayed is someone revoking our First Amendment rights," he said. "I am one to take lawsuits very seriously. I have a track record of never losing a lawsuit in my life. I've sued cities, promoters, venues. If I'm right I will pursue it."
Gerami agrees that things got a little out of control at EDC, last year, however. He thinks the party is too large for the venue. While the Coliseum holds 90,000-plus seated customers, people tend to gather on the main field -- the dance floor -- during raves. And with 160,000 people last year, it was not big enough.
"The coliseum doesn't hold enough poeple," he said. "EDC is going through growing pains."
Caesar Sebastian Love Festival ravers.
But he also blamed the news media for being "one-sided and very jaded" when it comes to coverage of the parties at the venues over the last year.
"You can't surpress or discriminate against one type of music," Gerami said. "There's no difference between our events and a Britney Spears concert."
Gerami says he did not employ Coliseum events manager Todd DeStefano and disputes that Insomniac did either, only saying that he's seen that promoter's financial data and that it doesn't support the allegation.
However, he indicated that if he plans a New Year's party for the Sports Arena this year, Insomniac might not be on-board.
"I'm not sure," he said of Insomniac helping out this year. "I don't know how they feel about doing events at the coliseum and sports arena" any more.
But Gerami said he's done 42 events at the public venues in a span of 13 years and that he plans to do more:
One of the things I always said with our events is it's come a long way since the days of desert parties or people dong parties in warehouses. The first Love Festival, in 1992, was at the Long Beach Swap Meet, a warehouse.
We outgrew it and went into an arena because we felt we wanted to provide an
environment that's more friendly -- with resources and where there's police and fire and medics.
It's not an underground party or a rave party, it's music.