DJ/promoter James Reynolds thought he had found the perfect place to throw a rave. According to the drum-and-bass DJ who goes by the name DJ Rabid, his May 16 party called Shipwrecked “…was the most underground event that San Diego had had in a long time.… We found a beach a mile and a half south of Black’s.… [A] sign…said the beach is the property of UCSD, which uses it for research. It didn’t say anything about no dogs or no glass or that the beach closes at a certain time. It just said that UCSD can revoke the right to use it at any time.”
Reynolds says that over 400 people attended Shipwrecked, which featured seven DJs. A driveway enabled Reynolds and his crew to bring down speakers, turntables, and a generator. He says he recruited “heavy hitters” such as DJ Dirty, DJ Hard Luck, and DJ Raptor.
“We gave ourselves six weeks to promote it. We brought a small PA for the first [rave, in late March]. This time we brought a lot more sound and canopy lights.… By 10 we had 150 people; by 11 we had a good 350. When the headliners went on, there were over 400, and they were tearing down the house. Right around 1:40 we heard there were cops up top. We made an announcement that the cops were here but that everything was fine and we should be sure to not leave trash on the beach.…
“[Police] came down the road with their headlights on, but when they got down to us they turned on their colored lights. Everyone started getting the hell out of there. The cops said, ‘Whose event is this?’… They told me I was going to jail because I had two felonies against me: federal trespassing on a research beach and throwing an illegal rave.… They said, ‘I don’t know why you thought you could get away with this.… You have an hour and 20 minutes to get out, and whatever is not off the beach is ours.’
“I’ve dealt with police officers before. As long as you don’t contradict them, things go better. Eventually they said if we ever catch you in La Jolla again doing anything like this, without hesitation we’d go to jail. He asked me where I was from. I told him Oceanside. He was, like, ‘We don’t want your type here; keep your problems and your people up there.’ It was like the scene in The Big Lebowski where they were told to get the fuck out of Malibu.”
Reynolds says the rave/electronica scene is thriving in L.A. and San Bernardino but that he has found it impossible to throw parties in North County.
“I’ve called just about every place I could think of. I thought we had the Ups-N-Downs roller rink in Escondido, but at the last minute they said we had to stop at midnight. Me and my buddy Matt drove all over Escondido, San Marcos, Oceanside, and Poway. We looked at warehouses in the middle of nowhere. The [commercial real estate] brokers we talked to all said, ‘We don’t want to have anything to do with anything like that. Thank you very much and have a good day.’ I spoke to a lady who handles events for the City of Escondido, and I basically got laughed at. She said, ‘We don’t condone those types of music events. Good luck.’ ”