Wet Electric Goes Dry

The Wet Electric Festival was forced to go “dry” but Huntington Beach, Calif., officials failed to stop the Sept. 14 EDM fest on its coastline when a judge denied a last-minute temporary restraining order.

The festival went off with nary a hitch, though attendance was lower than expected and at least two were arrested on drug-related charges, according to KTLA-TV.

California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control denied a liquor license for the fest the day before kickoff, and city officials – nervous in the wake of a melee after the U.S. Open of Surfing in July – were denied the TRO Sept. 11.

The festival, featuring Paul Oakenfold and billed as a “dance party,” was expected to draw 10,000.

Attendance figures weren’t available but published reports indicate it drew well short of that target.

The ABC denied the alcohol permit because “the plan submitted … did not sufficiently address public safety concerns,” agency spokesman John Carr told KCBS-TV.

But it was the city that fell short in making its case to Judge Jamoa Moberly to pull the plug on the event.

Huntington Beach officials couldn’t prove the city would suffer “irreparable harm” from the nine-hour event on the beach, the judge ruled.

City leaders claimed they had only recently learned of the festival, which they feared would get out of control.

But Moberly said the city in fact had been notified in April. Wet Electric took place on Huntington State Beach, and was under state jurisdiction.

Activated Events, which owns Wet Electric, also promotes waterpark and poolside parties. Another Wet Electric is scheduled in Phoenix Oct. 5.