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Promoters, Artists & Electric Forest Festival Respond To Beyond Wonderland Mass Shooting

20 June 2023 | 10:20 am | Mary Varvaris

"What happened at the festival camp is simply horrible; violence has no place in the world of music."

Beyond Wonderland Festival

Beyond Wonderland Festival (Source: Facebook)

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As the EDM community mourns the lives lost after a mass shooting took place at Beyond Wonderland festival at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Quincy, Washington on Saturday (17 June), artists, festival promoter Pasquale Rotella, and new event Electric Forest have responded to the tragic moments that unfolded.

As reported by NBC and ABC, the EDM festival Beyond Wonderland resulted in two deaths and three injuries after a gunman opened fire. It’s said the shooting occurred in the festival’s campground area around 8:20 pm when the alleged shooter fired “randomly into the crowd”.

A statement given by Kyle Foreman – a public information officer with the Grant County Sheriff’s Office – claimed that the unnamed suspect “then walked away from where the incident happened” before continuing to fire aimlessly at concertgoers. 

The second day of the festival, which was due to take place on Sunday, was cancelled. Insomniac Events founder and CEO Pasquale Rotella has since issued a statement about the terrible events, writing on social media:

"On behalf of the entire Insomniac family, we extend our heartfelt thoughts and condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of the victims," Rotella stated. "The loss of two lives, as well as the injuries sustained by others, is an incredibly heartbreaking tragedy."

The statement continued, "Given the various accounts circulating, I would like to provide an update based on the information currently available. We know that the shooting took place in the furthest campground from The Gorge Amphitheatre, which is designated for overflow camping and located a half mile outside the perimeter of the main festival grounds.

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“It is our understanding that the incident stemmed from an isolated situation that escalated, leading the assailant to flee the area. An officer-involved shooting then occurred to neutralize [sic] the threat."

Thanking the festival’s artists and staff who "greatly contributed to maintaining the safety and calmness of attendees,” Rotella added, "This tragedy has deeply affected me.

"As the organizer [sic] of this event, my intention has always been to bring people together and celebrate our shared love for music and community. I am at a loss to comprehend how individuals can commit such heinous acts. Throughout 30 years of organizing [sic] events, we have brought together millions of people without any incidents of this nature.

“I hold a profound love for our community and deeply value the principles that define our culture. This incident stands in stark contrast to everything we stand for – it goes against the spirit of unity, love and respect that we strive to foster within our community."

Since the mass shooting at Beyond Wonderland, the new EDM festival Electric Forest has vowed to increase safety measures ahead of its event going ahead this weekend.

“We want to reassure you that HQ works year-round with large-scale event security professionals including Michigan State Police, and local law enforcement agencies, and FBI, to provide a safe environment for our patrons, staff, and artists,” Electric Forest organisers wrote on social media.

Organisers assured fans of “increased safety oversight and protocols. This presence will be visible to all attendees throughout the festival site and campgrounds.” They continued, “In addition, we will have specialized [sic] Festival K9 Units on site. These highly trained dogs and their skilled handlers have undergone rigorous training in firearm detection amidst a large crowd and in challenging environmental conditions.”

The EDM community has also responded with grief to the heartbreaking events at Beyond Wonderland. French DJ Malaa wrote, per, "What happened at the festival camp is simply horrible; violence has no place in the world of music. My deepest condolences to the families of the victims."

Grammy-nominated artist ILLENIUM added, "Sending love to everyone affected and to our community as a whole cuz that shit is just absolutely fkd.”

Afrojack wrote, "my thoughts are with the families of those passed away, injured and the whole community, never in my life thought this would happen, be safe everyone".