Fire Marshals Close LA Pride Festival Due to Massive Crowds

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LA PRIDE festival crowd - Photo by Mike Pingel

Fire Marshals closed the LA Pride festival from the massive crowds waiting outside of the venue this evening. Chaos broke out over the sky as a police helicopter flew over the venue to inform the hordes of people waiting at the festival gates that they would not be getting inside. The venue was filled to capacity.

“By order of the fire marshal, this venue is now closed” an officer yelled into to a megaphone from a helicopter. “You need to leave the area right now.”

LA Pride Festival SOLD OUT – Photo by Mike Pingel

WEHO TIMEs received several calls about the long lines that were a block and half long and the huge crowds that stretched down Santa Monica Boulevard from San Vicente. There are also reports that some of the drinking areas were shut down, because there was not enough space to support the crowd of people. Police barriers were put up to keep people from entering the festival a little before 10pm.

“I don’t know what happened,” said Jimmy Palmieri, who is the founder and producer of #Sizzle, the sober carnival section of the festival. “The fire marshals kept saying, ‘no matter how long you wait, you’re not getting in, you’re not getting in,’ to the people that were waiting in line. We packed early and we left because we knew this was going to happen, once we heard the choppers yelling. It was really crowded, but honestly, it didn’t seem like trouble to me. I think the cops were not letting people in no matter what, even if they had tickets.”

LA Pride Festival 2018 – Photo by Mike Pingel

It is unclear if the result of the lockdown was because tickets were oversold, or due to the smaller footprint of the West Hollywood park this year. The free party LA Pride normally throws on Friday was scrapped this year, which may have encouraged a larger attendance on Saturday from those who would normally only attend the free event on Friday.

The festival and the music continued while helicopters flew overhead. Those who were already inside were allowed to remain in the festival, however those who were outside had to disperse.

“It was disconcerting hearing the helicopters fly over the city yelling into megaphones, telling people to go home on Pride night,” said West Hollywood resident Dan Mryglot. “It really made me uneasy.”

Below is a video taken from his balcony.

The LA Pride festival will most likely draw a larger crowd tomorrow on the day of the LA Pride parade. It is not clear yet how they will handle the crowds at the festival tomorrow, so get there early and stay within the festival gates.

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Paulo Murillo
Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings close to 20 years of experience in LGBT media and more than two decades as a West Hollywood resident. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. Murillo’s work has appeared in numerous print and online publications. He was a contributor to LGBT magazine IN Los Angeles. He is known for the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, in which he covered breaking news and local events in the City of West Hollywood. His recent work has been published in the Los Angeles Blade and his articles, essays and photographs can also be seen on the pages of THE FIGHT Magazine. He started “The Share” feature for THE FIGHT, which spotlights members of the Los Angeles recovery community who share about their sober journey. He can be reached at editor@wehotimes.com