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Security to be tight at FreakNight in Tacoma

FreakNight will come to Tacoma this weekend with evil stilt walkers, carnival rides, pulsating beats — and lots of security measures.

The electronic dance show has been held in the Northwest for 19 years, but this is the first time it will be hosted at the Tacoma Dome.

“We wanted to go for a change this year,” said Alex Fryer, a spokesman for promoter USC Events.

The company is expecting 12,000 people to attend nightly on Friday and Saturday, a significant drop from the 22,000 nightly estimate from last year’s event at WaMu Theater in Seattle.

The second night of FreakNight was canceled last year after a 20-year-old man died from overdosing on the drug Molly, a form of ecstasy, and 16 others were taken to hospitals.

It was never determined whether the man took the drug before or during the event, but USC Events has upped its efforts to enforce a message of safety and personal responsibility for FreakNight this year.

A website for the event makes it clear there is zero tolerance for drug use. The promoter has partnered with Stay Safe Seattle, which offers peer-based information and conversation to attendees.

Dogs will work entrances to the Dome to ensure people are not bringing drugs, alcohol or other illegal substances inside. Purses and bags are not allowed unless they’re clear. Shoes must be removed and searched.

The lengthy list of items banned from FreakNight includes unsealed ChapStick, selfie sticks, stickers, gum or pens. Dome staff members also have banned masks.

“This is so we can always have a visual connection to make sure the patrons are OK,” Tacoma spokeswoman Kim Bedier said.

About 200 security personnel and 20 Tacoma Fire emergency medical personnel will be on hand each day. USC Events will deploy 82 volunteers trained in first aid and carrying two-way radios.

Two “cool down” zones will be set up for people to relax and hydrate, as well as 11 water stations.

“We want everyone to go home safe, and we have a plan in place to make that happen,” Fryer said.

Deadmau5 and Tiesto are headlining the event. General admission is $102.50; a two-day pass is $199.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

stacia.glenn@thenewstribune.com

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