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In the Pipeline: Wet Electric event good fit for H.B.

August 14, 2013|By Chris Epting
  • An inflatable slide was one of the attractions at a previous Wet Electric Beach Party.
An inflatable slide was one of the attractions at a previous… (Wet Electric )

Timing is everything, as they say. I mean, had there not been the recent rioting after the U.S. Open of Surfing, then I'm guessing that the Wet Electric Beach Party may have gone if not unnoticed then at least earned a lot less scrutiny.

If you haven't heard the latest controversy, a big party is happening Sept. 14 at Huntington State Beach. The Wet Electric Beach Party will feature almost two dozen well-known deejays, a slew of giant water slides and rides, zip lines, cabanas, day beds and bars.

It's a 21-and-older event, but like I said, given the recent melee downtown, many people have begun expressing concerns about this get-together. I think it's completely responsible to take a close look at this event.

Some have called for the promoter to abandon the idea, but it's worth noting that the state beach approved this and so the responsibility, in effect, lies with those officials. The promoter evidently applied for and received all the proper permitting, after being vetted by the beach officials.

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The Huntington Beach City Council took up the issue Aug. 5. Mayor Connie Boardman told me after the meeting, "There are estimates of up to 10,000 people attending the event at the State Beach near Brookhurst. The entire City Council has serious concerns about this huge alcohol-fueled party on the state beach. From the videos I've seen of events put on by the same organizer in other cities, I can tell this is simply not the kind of event we want in our city.

"The event ends at 9 p.m. on a Saturday night. Where will the revelers go to continue the party?"

I think she makes valid points and I also think it was totally appropriate for the City Council to take this under discussion. But I also wanted to track down the promoter to get his take.

Steve Thacher, 38, runs an Orange County advertising agency. He came up with the idea for the Wet Electric events several years ago as a concept for a water park client of his in Irvine. The event was a smash, and so he began creating similar events at water parks in other markets.

They all did well, and so he thought to evolve the idea beyond water parks to having events right on the beach. He originally approached Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, but scheduling problems did not allow for the event. The officials there suggested Huntington, and so a deal was struck with beach officials in our city (who, it should be noted, are always in the market for moneymaking events on the beach to help offset budget issues).

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