Pala Rave Party, 8/21/99

The Pala Rey Youth Camp, a Catholic facility just outside the Pala Indian Reservation that was rented to the promoters, was duped into hosting a "rave party" 21-22 August 1999. The facility was rented under the pretense that it was a free event for members of the Universal Life Church. Instead, the event was a rave party, an all-night dance party that attracts teenagers, often with alcohol and drugs, and was advertised on the Internet with $30 tickets. An estimated 5,000 to 7,000 people attended.

The promoters did contract with the Highway Patrol for 7 officers to handle the traffic, hired 85 security officers, and had an ambulance present with emergency medical technicians. The party started at ~9 p.m. August 21, and didn't end until ~6-8 a.m. August 22.

Complaints about the noise were made by residents as far as 3-5 miles away. After the parking lot at the Camp filled up about midnight, people began parking on SR-76 after traffic backed up all the way to I-15. People were using both lanes on the two-lane highway to try to get to Pala. Several hundred cars illegally parked on the highway for several miles. The Highway Patrol deployed Caltrans sign trucks with the message that the event was closed to further visitors and broadcast warnings that vehicles parking on SR-76 would be towed. 96 vehicles were towed by ~20 tow trucks. An additional 8 CHP officers, four Sheriff's deputies from Valley Center, and "a handful" from Fallbrook responded to the chaos.

Party-goers stole fruit from and vandalized the fruit stand east of Couser Canyon Road, and packed the Mobil Station at I-15 and started damaging property. Sheriff's deputies closed the station after a 911 call was made. Most of the roadway signs and call boxes along SR-76 were trashed.

However, only one person was detained, a 17-year-old with a loaded handgun, who was released to his parents after his gun was seized.

The organizers obviously lied about their intent, violated noise ordinances, vandalized the Pala property, and failed to clean up the trash as they promised to do.

Apparently a rave party was held in Pala a year ago as well, but Highway Patrol officer Anthony Ramborger said it was "mild". The party last year apparently didn't run out of parking.

Sources: VN 8/26/99, 11, 30; NCT 8/23/99, B3.

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Copyright © 1999 by Tom Chester.
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Last update: 26 August 1999.