EDC Raver's Death Under Investigation
The Clark County Coroner is investigating the death of a 24-year-old who collapsed outside Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas Saturday morning.
All photos Christopher Victorio
An autopsy was being conducted this weekend, but results aren't yet available to the media, an official at the coroner's office told us. If drug use is suspected, it's likely that a cause-of-death determination will be put off until investigators get their hands on toxicology test results.
The raver, who collapsed outside the three-day festival at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, was identified as Montgomery Tsang of San Leandro, California:
He was pronounced dead at a University Hospital at 6:15 a.m. Saturday, authorities said.
"It's the third death of an Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas attendee in three years, and, if you include the former Los Angeles and Dallas incarnations, the seventh death tied to the festival since 2011.
EDC Los Angeles moved to Vegas in 2011 after it was shut out of the government-run Los Angeles Coliseum. L.A. officials expressed concern about drug use associated with the event after a 15-year-old girl who had snuck into the concert died of an ecstasy overdose."
Insomniac, the L.A.-based promoter behind America's biggest dance music festival, sent us a statement from company spokeswoman Jennifer Forkish:
Today we learned some very tragic news, that after attending the festival a guest of the show has passed away. We are deeply saddened by this news, and hope that everyone will join us in keeping his family and friends in their thoughts during this very difficult time. Dance music fans pride themselves in being part of a loving community and, as we get ready to start the second night of the show, we ask everyone to help us keep this event safe. Look after your group of friends, utilize the buddy system, and if you see something, say something. No one should ever hesitate to ask any of our medical staff, public safety personnel or Insomniac staff for help, or call 911 in case of an emergency. One death is one too many, and we all must do our part to keep each other safe, healthy and happy, tonight and every night.
In 2011 Insomniac signed a 5-year contract to hold the biggest edition of Electric Daisy Carnival at the Vegas race track, which means the EDM festival will have one more year in Sin City before organizers and local officials can consider if the 134,000-person-a-day party should go on.
Tragedy aside, the festival has been a good fit for Vegas, which lights up each June as ravers hit the strip and the top DJs in the world fly in for both the festival and for side gigs at the city's cash-cow clubs.
Local radio blasts electronic dance music from the festival's acts all weekend. Billboards around town advertise EDC DJs. Hotels get slammed. And rave traffic clogs the strip well into breakfast time.
Last year a state lawmaker aimed an 8 percent tax squarely at Electric Daisy Carnival, which has operated under a loophole that allows outdoor events like it to skate. It'll be interesting to see if local officials try to squeeze Insomniac again as its contract comes up for renewal next year.
One thing seems clear: Loss of life isn't going to help EDC's case. It never has.
[Correction: An earlier version of this story listed an incorrect number of deaths associated with EDC]