A rave that drew 3,000 Utah residents was held just inside the Nevada state line in northeast Elko County. Local officials didn’t know it was happening until it was underway—and nearly over.

“It was a very well-organized event, and it went on completely under the radar,” Elko County Sheriff Neil Harris told the High Desert Advocate. His department learned of the event after midnight when the Utah Highway Patrol stopped a car and found a map that provided the route from Salt Lake City to the event. A report in Utah’s Tooele Transcript said that the sheriff’s department broke up the event, but deputies actually arrived at the site after the event had mostly ended. The sheriff’s office later said there were fewer than 400 people still present.

In a statement, the sheriff’s office said it had identified the “main contractor” of the event as a Utah man named Brandon Barnett, assisted by Exile Entertainment in Boutiful, Utah. (A Brandon Barnett of West Valley, Utah, was enmeshed in 2003 in a dispute with the Steven Spielberg studio DreamWorks after Barnett registered a domain name of Dreamwerx Entertainment. A World Intellectual Property Organization arbitration panel awarded the Dreamwerx site to DreamWorks.)

The site of the rave was a dry lake a few miles north of Wendover. There were elaborate stage and sound facilities at the event, a substantial crew, and checkpoints to screen arrivals. The map/invitation read, “Please do not bring any coolers or [beverage] containers of any kind! We will not let them in. Sorry, folks.” Photos of the event, called Sequence VI, are posted on a MySpace personal blog. They show huge crowds and sophisticated light shows.

There was one medical problem, a 15-year-old Utah girl who reportedly suffered a reaction from a hit of MDMA. However, she declined treatment by a Wendover ambulance and an Elko medical helicopter and departed with her husband.

Elko deputies seized trailer- mounted generators and held them, supposedly to determine ownership. Prosecution of organizers for failing to obtain permits is possible, and action is also possible by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management because the event was held on federally managed land.

Dennis Myers was the news editor of the Reno News & Review. He was a journalist for more than four decades. In 1987-88 he was chief deputy secretary of state of Nevada. He was coauthor of Uniquely...