The families of Brandy Escamilla and Josilyn Ruiz, two nurses who were murdered at the 2023 Beyond Wonderland EDM festival at Washington’s Gorge, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit. The lawsuit targets entertainment giant Live Nation Entertainment, its subsidiary Insomniac Holdings, and multiple security companies, alleging that lax security protocols and other failures led to the fatal shootings.

“All Brandy and Josilyn wanted to do that weekend was enjoy good music, dance, and unwind from the week but instead, they lost their lives and their opportunity to spend their lives together as they’d intended,” families of the women said in a joint statement. “We now only have pictures of our beautiful girls to look at instead of being able to hold them in our arms again, hear their voices, and let them know how much they are loved. We never want any parent or family to have to go through what we have been through.”

FURTHER READING | Beyond Wonderland Cancelled After Campground Shooting

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The fatal shooting took place on June 17, 2023 when a festival attendant allegedly became agitated after ingesting hallucinogenic mushrooms and arguing with his girlfriend. He got a handgun and ammunition from his truck, returning to the campground area before opening fire. Escamilla and Ruiz were walking nearby and struck fatally, while several other individuals were also injured in the incident.

Filed in King County, Washington on April 11, the lawsuit says that Live Nation should have forseen that “something catastrophic and/or similar to this event could occur, especially given the history of illicit drug use, violence, weapons seized upon the premises, and potential shooter events at the Gorge, and at other Live Nation properties worldwide. It references numerous complaints about security at The Gorge, as well as the “numerous other violent and deadly incidents at [Live Nation] festivals and concerts in the past ten years.”

Specifically referenced in the lawsuit are

  • a 2014 fatal shooting at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View California
  • a 2016 fatal shooting at Irving Plaza in New York that also left three wounded
  • a 2017 explosion by a suicide bomber outside an Ariana Grande Concert in Manchester, England, that killed 22 people
  • the 2021 fatal backstage stabbing of Drakeo the Ruler at Once Upon a Time in LA Festival
  • a 2022 reported shooting at Ruoff Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana
  • the 2022 attempted knife attack on comedian Dave Chapelle onstage at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California
  • a 2022 incident during the Bass Canyon EDM festival – also at The Gorge – where a man was observed “inhaling an intoxicant, loading two pistols in the trunk of his car in the parking lot, and asking concertgoers when people would be leaving”

With such a lengthy history of security lapses at Live Nation events and specific concerns about The Gorge, the shooting at Beyond Wonderland was a failure caused by poor planning by the entertainment giant and its subsidiaries, according to the lawsuit.

FURTHER READING | Read the Lawsuit Complaint Here (PDF opens in new window)

“Live Nation has the means and the duty to make sure security is the highest priority for their concert patrons. Never should someone’s life be taken so senselessly and tragically at a music event,” said the Escamilla and Ruiz families in a joint statement. “We hope filing this lawsuit sends a message to Live Nation and their associates that they are responsible for the deaths of Brandy and Josilyn. They are responsible for our broken and shattered lives. Our families will never recover from this loss, but we do not want their deaths to be in vain. This could have and should have been prevented.”

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The families are represented by Brian Panish, Spencer Lucas and Hunter Norton of Panish Shea Ravipudi LLP; and by co-counsel Kevin Boyle of Boyle Law. The Gorge Amphitheater is managed by Live Nation, which acquired the venue in 2006.

The shooter was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree assault and one count of first-degree assault domestic violence.