Electronic dance music festivals have been criticized a lot in the news recently for their safety. EDM events have always carried the negative stereotype of being events for ravers to take drugs and party all night long with lazers and multi-colored lights moving to the fast-paced music. Unfortunately, these stereotypes carry some truth. Throughout the genre’s history there have been numerous reports of people dying or needing medical attention for drug overdose, dehydration, overheating, or seizures at shows.
The drugs commonly found at EDM festivals include MDMA (Molly and Ecstasy), cocaine, LSD (acid), and marijuana. Molly, a purer version of MDMA, is quickly gaining popularity among ravers. The dangerous drug gives its users a prolonged feeling of euphoria, physical energy, and heightened feelings of love and intimacy. It is so dangerous because it increases heart rate and blood pressure, raises your body temperature causing dehydration, can make you clench your teeth and nauseas. Molly and ecstasy are typically sold in the form of a pill or white powder making it very easy to be cut or combined with other drugs like bath salts or methamphetamine, so people really don’t know what they are taking unless they buy a drug testing kit.
For many years EDM festivals typically went under the radar except in the rare event of a death. Today, EDM festivals are constantly in the news for deaths and hundreds of arrests. In 2013 there were two deaths from drug overdose at Electric Zoo in New York, causing the third day of the festival to be cancelled. Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas has a rough past too, two men died at the festival in 2012, another two in 2014 and at this years festival there were 75 arrests and a man died from an ecstasy overdose. In 2013 at Ultra Music Festival in Miami a man died from an overdose and then again in 2014. In 2015 there were 76 arrests at Ultra. At Nocturnal Wonderland in California there was one death in 2013 from a drug overdose and this years festival resulted in nearly 200 arrests. In 2014 at Mad Decent Block Party in Maryland two people died from drug overdose, one only 17-years-old. In almost all of these drug involved deaths, the drug taken was molly or ecstasy.
All of these deaths and arrests have led some to campaign for a ban on EDM festivals. Due to two deaths at Los Angeles’s HARD Summer Music Festival, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis introduced a motion to ban large music festivals on county property. The LA County Board of Supervisors voted to “explore a possible temporary ban on major music festivals on county property” (O’Donnell, foxlanews). After a security guard was trampled to critical condition at Ultra in 2014, the mayor of Miami called for an end of the music festival. He proposed a resolution to the city commission to end any future plans of Ultra returning to Miami. Beach Glow is an EDM concert held annually in Wildwood, New Jersey but after complaints about drunk and high attendees and foul mouthed artists, the Wildwood Commission told Beach Glow they could not return and the concert is now located in Atlantic City.
What are your thoughts on EDM festivals? Should they be banned completely? I personally have never had a problem at any festival I have attended and would hate to see them come to an end.
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