FreakNight rave event shut down after person dies from drug overdose

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Image of FreakNight rave event on Halloween night in Seattle.

SEATTLE — One person is dead and another in the hospital after overdosing on “Molly” which is a pure form of ecstasy.

It happened at the FreakNight festival, a popular annual event held at the WAMU Theater in Seattle.

On Friday, the Seattle Fire Dept transported 16 people to Harborview from the rave event. Six of those transports were possible drug overdoses. One person — 20-year-old Aaron Altman — died. His manner of death has not yet been released.

On Saturday out of concerns for public safety, organizers decided to cancel the event. The last-minute shut down left hundreds of people stranded all dressed up and nowhere to go.

“Very very annoyed,” Julia Karman said.

First told it was a production delay they waited venting frustrations on social media.

“We were in line for like two hours before they said anything,” Jaimee Cabrera said.

After hours in the cold they learned the rave event was canceled.

“They said the event got canceled because of circumstances that happened last night,” Karman said.

The Washington Poison Center confirmed to Q13 Fox News that one person died from a Molly overdose while another is sick in the hospital after the first day of FreakNight.

“Prior events you can see people doing drugs inside but last night I didn’t see any of that,” Karman said.

“Events like this people want to feel happy but you have to be responsible,” Carlos Aviado said.

“If security was doing their job don’t think they should have canceled the event tonight,” Daniel Rattray said.

They say they shouldn’t have to pay for other people’s bad choices.

“Especially events like these that cost upward of $200 plus for people,” Marcus Johns said.

They want their money back but say there was confusion around that too.

No one got a refund Saturday night. Details will be posted on CenturyLink’s website on Monday.

Suzanne Lavendar a spokesperson for the event released this statement.

“We have learned that there was an incident with a guest attending last night’s event. Our main priority is making sure that people are safe. At this time, we are looking into exactly what has happened and how it happened."

The after party at Showbox Sodo was also canceled.

Sunday, USC Events released this statement:

"On Nov. 1, news media reported that a Friday night attendee of the annual two-day FreakNight festival at CenturyLink Field died after being transported from the venue.  USC Events became aware of this alleged incident just before 4 p.m. on Saturday. After discussing the situation with USC Events, CenturyLink Field decided to cancel the second night of the show just before 6 p.m.

While we have no official information about this incident, USC Events is deeply affected by this news, and we offer our condolences to the families involved. The bond between USC Events and its fans is strong, and safety is the top priority at all of our events.

USC Events has been a promoter of electronic dance music for more than 18 years. The Pioneer Square-based company has produced shows across Seattle and the Northwest, including 17 previous FreakNight events on Halloween.

Approximately 22,000 people were expected each night during this year’s event. Prior to the festival, USC Events promoted its health and safety program, “The Message,” through web and social media platforms. Created with input from local public health officials, The Message stressed personal responsibility and emphasized the state’s Good Samaritan law.

In addition, USC Events organized the “Conscious Crew” of volunteers to interact with patrons at the venue. Equipped with water and two-way radios, the Conscious Crew is tasked with ensuring patrons enjoy themselves safely.

Free water was provided throughout the venue.

During this year’s FreakNight, USC Events’ Health & Safety Director was on-site working with the venue to advise safety plans and follow best practices in crowd management.

We remain committed to promoting electronic dance music as a vibrant and vital artistic expression. We look forward to working with all interested parties to ascertain the facts about what transpired on Halloween and creating the safest possible environment for our patrons.

Refund information will be available on Monday."

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16 comments

  • Freaknight Attendee

    Someone died of drugs inside a venue, now let’s send thousands of fucked up people to roam the streets and drive high (not saying that was USC’s fault)

  • johnny

    every one knows freak night is for doing drugs its no secrete that people go there to get high not many ravers out there these days that are sober people just looking to dance lol and get real you all know it was the molly that killed this person dont try to stand up for a drug that is known to kill people it makes you look like a total loser

    • Zaq Smith

      There are lots of sober people. Also I don’t think he was defending the drug after reading what he said. You are very aggressive and unnecessarily rude. Not sure what your angle is but please stop talking about “what we all know” and spouting outsider opinions as fact.

  • Todd Naz

    This is a gathering of a large amount of people at a music event, festival. Things like this happen with all genres of music, sporting events and entertainment in general. How about alcohol poisoning and violence at sporting events? People get hurt, hospitalized and die as well. I say the people that are hospitalized, arrested, etc. are banned from the venue premises and could be charged with trespassing. It seems to always be the same sub group/type of people this happens to?

    This is NOT USC’s fault by any means. This is great for the community to have options like this and the general atmosphere at these electronic music festivals are positive and upbeat. Not about violence and bullying that you can see at other types of shows / festivals. I’m 45 years old so I am not a kid and I’m very open minded. We all attended or still attend these types shows. A few people making bad choices doesn’t define the rest of the music lovers in that large fan base. A few people out of 22,000 at a music festival making bad choices is a reason for alarm? Not just this one event but the MANY events this promotion (USC Events) has produced, all have been mostly safe. So factor everything in and you will see the percentages are very LOW. Most of the people that complain about this have NEVER been to a electronic music show so that opinion is based on ignorance, not experience. Let’s be real here.

  • SuicideJck

    you do know that the event probably got canceled the next day because it was practically a crime scene yes they knew what caused it but still a death is a death and a big deal.

  • rusty palmer

    this was my first freak night festival, and i drove 400 miles to get there. i am an old school dj who use to spin at underground raves in spokane. get busted by cops,etc.
    i was impressed at how usc put on the show, and thought that they went above and beyond what most promoters would have.the conscious crew was especially thoughtful, and i saw them many times through out the night checking on people.compared to raves i use to attend , this was VERY well thought out and about as safe as any one could make it.
    it is sad that some people feel that they need chemicals to enjoy the evening to its fullest. ive been sober for 20 years now, and enjoy it more now that i ever did. AND i remember it all!!!
    im over 50 years old now, and i had a young woman approach me at the rave and say: “it is good to see you still raving at your age!” well, you either feel it , or you dont. i saw every one from jesus to santa claus there.my girlfriend was a first timer, and a little aprehensive about going, because of what she had heard about raves. but i had her read “the mission”, and told her its not like the old days, these are very safe and well organised events now. i want to thank usc for doing a fantastic job of putting this event on, and i WILL be back next year. the most fun ive had since tiesto’s “elements of life” tour. DONT blame the organizers. out of 22,000 people , the percentage of idots was really small.
    P.L.U.R. to the big family…. you know who you are!!! see you all next year- RUSTY THE RAVER

    • Janet Altman

      I hate to say it but MDMA and Raves go hand in hand. To say Conciouss crew did their job just take a look at th photos on USC website of Freaknight. Sure looks likes they are having fun going on all the rides, etc… There was absolute negligence at Freaknight! Conscious crew was a joke, no cooling measures, extremely hot environment and medics were few to be found!!! And when they were their care was terrible if not negligent 😓

  • Janet Altman

    It was pure MDMA and nothing else that killed our son. The toxicology report revealed a small amount of pure MDMA, nothing else, no other drugs and no bad batch! It was pure MDMA that killed our son. It breaks our hearts to hear the misconception that it must have been a bad batch that caused his death. In reality the whole idea of testing the drug makes no sense! Our son died of pure MDMA and if he had tested it he would have felt safe ingesting it! This drug caused our son to have a seizure, go into a coma, all his organs shut down and ultimately he went into cardiac arrest and died all within 6 hours. There is nothing safe about pure MDMA. Stop this nonsense that pure Molly is safe. Nothing could be further from the truth!

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