Dallas officials investigating festival event after teen's death

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by JONATHAN BETZ and CYNTHIA VEGA

WFAA

Posted on June 20, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 20 at 10:11 PM

DALLAS - The company behind the Electric Daisy Carnival music festival at Dallas Fair Park on Saturday night was ticketed seven times during the event, and that is part of the investigation into how a 19-year-old ended up dead.  

Dallas city officials held a 45-minute closed door meeting at Fair Park's Tower Building on Monday. News 8 witnessed members of Dallas Police Department, Dallas Fire-Rescue and the city's Park and Recreation Department attending the meeting.

"Obviously something went wrong that day," said Dallas City Council member Delia Jasso, who heads the Public Safety Committee. "Certainly something tragic like that that happens, we've got to look at everything, and that includes whether or not they come back."

Andrew Graf of Argyle, one of the EDC attendees, died after being rushed to Baylor University Medical Center. City officials have said his death may have been drug-related. 

Another person last reported in critical condition was also rushed to the hospital on Saturday night. 

In all, 30 attendees were taken to the hospital during the Electric Daisy Carnival. They were in their teens and 20s. Firefighters said most of the problems were heat and drug-related.  

New information released Monday shows that problems at Saturday's event began as early as 8:30 p.m., when Graf collapsed and later died.

As the crowd swelled to more than 23,000, officers became so concerned about safety they considered shutting down the party more than three hours early, but they held back, fearing unrest.

"It's just such chaos," said Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Lt. Samuel Friar. "It's just a big opportunity for more than one person to die next time."

The Dallas Fire Marshal's office cited Los Angeles-based Insomniac Events seven times for issues ranging from overcrowding to obstruction of justice by failing to heed official requests to turn on the lights and turn off the music.

"Given that the venue was permitted to hold 42,972 people and our event hosted 23,600, we did not violate any laws, and our plan is to appeal these unwarranted claims," said Erika Raney, Insomniac Events director of communications.

Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesperson Jason Evans said the company violated occupancy load in individual buildings at Fair Park.

"The obstruction of justice came as a result of refusing to comply with turning on the lights and turning down the music for better crowd control," Evans wrote in a statement.

The event finally came to an end when someone pulled the fire alarm.

Attendees told News 8 the event was hotter and more crowded than last year.

However, Dallas city officials said they had no reported issues with the same event last year. They said the promoters followed the same safety and security measures this year.

Insomniac has encountered troubles at its raves before. In Los Angeles, a 15-year-old girl collapsed and later died of drug-related problems. The city of Los Angeles has since decided to postpone this year's rave, originally scheduled for next week.

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