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Riot police descend on oversold L.A. Pride festival

Oversold festival leads to police intervention.
Photo credit:
LA PRIDE

The Los Angeles Pride festival was the scene of police helicopters, fire code enforcement agents and police in riot gear on Saturday night due to an oversold music event.

“What were they expecting, Stonewall?” said a visiting Jerwyn Morton from New York.  “I have never seen so many cops in my life wearing riot gear at a gay event.”

According to the Los Angeles Blade around 10 pm on Saturday, Pride goers -- some having their tickets already -- were in line trying to get into the festival grounds where singer Kehlani was performing.

The Fire Marshall conveyed to law officials that the festival was over capacity and the Sheriff’s department began asking people waiting in the massive line to leave.

More than 100,000 attendees had already been allowed in.

Pride organizers said the people who were turned away could use their tickets for Sunday’s events or visit lapride.org on Monday for info on a refund.

It should be noted that L.A. Pride has alerted attendees on social media that Sunday's event has sold out and only people with wristbands will be allowed in. 

LA Pride said they take full responsibility for the incident on Saturday:

"Thank you to all who came out to the first day of the 2018 LA Pride Festival yesterday. We are sorry and would like to apologize to everyone who could not get in after the venue hit capacity.​

We sell more tickets than the venue can hold for two reasons:

We know that we made mistakes and we are sorry. Yes, we oversold tickets and accept responsibility for all the issues that caused at the door. 

We sell more tickets than the venue can hold for two reasons:

1) We want as many people as possible to enjoy the Festival and to support our community partners exhibiting there (as a non-profit organization, all proceeds from the Festival go to support the LGBTQ+ community); and

2) Festival attendees have traditionally come and gone throughout the day, which has allowed us to flow through more attendees over the course of the day or night without hitting venue capacity. Yesterday, however, many attendees arrived early and stayed all day. This has never happened before. We were not prepared for it. We are truly sorry.

This will be fixed next year."

Some reports say several people started throwing rocks and yelling expletives at police officers, but no injuries have been reported. According to the Los Angeles Blade, about 200 people began pushing their way into the festival while others demanded their money back.

The festival event is a two-day affair that begins before the parade and continues afterward.

LA Pride has had some logistical issues in the past with the West Hollywood Park not being available to rent as a venue and Pride booking more popular talent, adding more stages.

“The Festival has become a full-on rave. I went this evening because I wanted to simply stroll around the festival, but the line of early 20 something people was 20 people deep for several blocks," said Christopher Johnson of Long Beach on Saturday night. “I’m glad it’s successful but I’m not welcome. There’s nothing there for me anymore and it makes me feel old.”