SAN BERNARDINO — The Plantasia mega-rave dance party here New Year's Eve was an entertainment success and an attendance flop.
While promoters were hoping for a North American record of 20,000 dance-till-you drop fans for the 9 p.m.-to-6 a.m. event, only 7,210 paying customers came through the turnstiles of the National Orange Show Fairgrounds, according to officials. The rave record belongs to a New Year's event held at Knott's Berry Farm two years ago that pulled in 17,254.
At Plantasia, one outdoor and two indoor stages housed solid dance music. Techno virtuoso Moby led a lineup of star DJs. The event was marred only by false advertising: "Plantasia will be the largest celebration of its kind in the history of the United States," said one Plantasia info line before the event started late Saturday. Adding another helping of hype, Plantasia organizer Philip Blaine, 26, blasted media accounts of rave's demise and vowed Plantasia would plant the seed for the scene's resurgence.
Perhaps near-freezing temperatures and an hour's distance from Los Angeles turned off some ravers. Blaine originally advertised that it would happen at the L.A. Coliseum. He says he switched to San Bernardino several weeks ago to stay out of the Raiders' way should they make it as far as a New Year's Day NFL playoff game. Still, Plantasia proved there is a market for mega-raves, even as raving is "out" with L.A. trendoids.