SANTA FE, N.M. — Expo New Mexico will stop holding concerts open to all ages and suspend electronic music shows following the death of a 14-year-old Santa Fe High School student last weekend.
On Saturday night, Hannah Bruch went with a few older friends to the Foam Wonderland concert that featured Luminox at the Villa Hispana, an amphitheater on the state fairgrounds. Organizers leased the amphitheater for the concert.
Hannah appeared ill a few hours into the show and was checked out by paramedics, who rushed her to University of New Mexico Hospital, where she died. An autopsy is pending, and her father has said that he suspected drugs may have been involved.
“We’re still waiting on the final report from State Police before we make long-term determinations, but we are suspending any further shows of the same nature as Foam Wonderland: all-ages, electronic/dance music oriented shows until we have more information,” Michael Henningsen, a spokesman for Expo New Mexico, said in an email to the
Journal on Wednesday afternoon. The decision was made after speaking with the Governor’s Office, he said.
“One of the determining factors is that we want to be sensitive to the family, and we felt that doing anything of the same nature soon after this tragic incident would be insensitive,” he said in an interview.
“We also feel that until we get further information from the police as to what happened, it’s in everyone’s best interest that we not put on those kinds of shows.”
When asked who made the decision, he said: “It was an internal decision, through consultation with the Governor’s Office.”
He did not specify if it was the governor’s idea or Expo New Mexico’s: “It all came together at once,” he said. “We had been considering it anyway, and through consultation with the Governor’s Office, we made the final determination.”
One show, Drop::fest, that had already been scheduled on Sept. 13, will be canceled, and people who have purchased tickets will get a refund, he added.
A flier for Foam Wonderland’s touring concert said the event was open to “16+”, but Henningsen said that it was a recommendation to parents, not an obligatory cutoff age.
It is unclear whether anyone checked Hannah’s identification to see how old she was. Asked whether she had been carded, Henningsen said earlier this week, “Well, presumably,” and added, “But I think it’s hard to say whether anyone specifically remembers checking her ID.”
While Expo New Mexico hashed out the plan with the Governor’s Office, State Police were continuing this week their investigation into what happened to Hannah, whom one friend described as bubbly and active in school theater. She would have turned 15 on Sunday; instead, friends and family gathered for her funeral Wednesday in Santa Fe.
“Investigators were talking with witnesses” Tuesday and Wednesday, said State Police spokesman Emmanuel T. Gutierrez. “There are going to be quite a few that they need to talk to.”
In an email Wednesday, he said State Police “are looking into interviewing 25-30 witnesses.”
The investigation will not be complete until the police review a toxicology report, which could take as long as three months for the Office of the Medical Investigator to complete. It will allow investigators to determine what, if any, drugs were in Hannah’s system when she died.
When asked about the cost and size of the investigation, Gutierrez said, “It is requiring many man-hours since it is a priority case.”