Edmonton police prepare for worst ahead of music rave
Published Friday, April 27, 2012 7:53AM EDT
EDMONTON - Edmonton police and health officials are putting plans in place ahead of a weekend electronic music festival.
Elements Music Festival starts Friday afternoon and goes for 12 hours at the Expo Centre, with more than 30 headliners in four halls.
About 8,000 people have already bought tickets for the event and thousands more are expected.
Edmonton police will have a strong presence at the event, with officers and dog teams to sniff out drugs.
A local doctor says hospital officials have been meeting all week, going over an action plan for the worst.
Northlands tried to stop alcohol from being served at the event, but promoters Boodang and Connected got a court injunction and will serve alcohol until midnight.
"I do think we are being treated unfairly," said Viet Nguyen with Boodang. "I don't think any other promoters have to go through the tape that we have had to go through to make this event happen."
The promoters said they, like the police and the mayor, are concerned about illicit drug use at such events.
"Like Mayor (Stephen) Mandel, council and EPS, we are concerned about drug use and its effect," said Justin Pandos with Connected.
"But the prohibition of events like Elements will not discourage this unfortunate reality."
Alberta Health Services said there will be extra staff at Edmonton hospitals over the weekend, and paramedics and an emergency room physician will also be at the festival throughout the weekend.
Dr. Brian Knight, chief anesthesiologist at the Misericordia Hospital, said the last rave in Edmonton saw 5,000 people attend and resulted in 10 critical patients, mainly drug and alcohol overdoses.
"I think the 1/8emergency rooms 3/8 and 1/8intensive care units 3/8 are going to be hit up the hardest ... Some of the patients are going to be intoxicated, not just alcohol, but other drugs -- those have anesthetic implications."
Edmonton Transit said LRT Service will be extended to 3:30 a.m. Saturday to handle the crowds at the event.