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EDM venues must pick up safety slack

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By Monica DeLuca
Staff Writer

Photo by Monica DeLuca
Photo by Monica DeLuca

E-Zoo or Electric Zoo was one of my new adventures this past summer. I had never been to an Electric Dance Music, EDM, concert before. This three-day festival has been in New York City on Randall’s Island every Labor Day weekend since 2009. For those of you who have never heard of this festival, it’s a concert with highly popular DJs or artists. Sounds like fun right? Absolutely! But the problem with fun is that sometimes it can get out of hand.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened. For the first time in the past five years of the festival’s existence, the third day was cancelled. After day two, I found out that two people, out of the thousands who attended, had died due to drug overdose while at the concert, along with others being sent to the ICU. Rumors flew fast on all social media sites. Statements were being made slanderously like what types of drugs the people overdosed on and where they were pronounced dead. Both people died when they were at the hospital and both were positive for “the drug MDMA, also known as Ecstasy or ‘Molly,’” according to The New York Times.

I was a little concerned after hearing the news and looking on Facebook to see people I knew making statuses about being so heartbroken over the cancellation but not any sadness toward the families and friends of those who lost their lives. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing; people had just died at the concert I was at. My heart still goes out to the parents, families and close friends of the two victims. It’s never easy losing someone and especially two young people, ages 20 and 23, to drug overdoses.

The fact that one of the victims was a 20-year-old girl, like me and other students at Loyola, gave me the chills. It could have been one of us. The thing to keep in mind is no drug is a safe drug. We were taught this in elementary school. These days, a drug like Ecstasy is not necessarily pure or what you think it is. Sometimes they are cut with other drugs and become more powerful, dangerous and deadly than you would expect. “The world can be a dangerous place, but even with all the bad drivers, treacherous heights and violence, more people are dying from drug overdoses than from any other cause of injury death, including traffic accidents, falls or guns,” said The Huffington Post article, “America, It’s Time For An Intervention: Drug Overdoses Are Killing More People Than Cars, Guns.”

The biggest thing that bothered me was that while I was at the festival, both days, not once did I think, “Wow, this is dangerous,” or “Look at all these people on drugs.” I actually thought that the event was handled very well. There were security checkpoints everywhere inside the concert venue and also a security line checking bags and pockets before we got into the venue. It’s sad because the entire “EDM lifestyle” is sucked into the “drug abusers” stereotype, even though it comes down to only a few people. Because I was new to these EDM festivals, I didn’t know what to expect. But afterward I can say there were only the happiest, most creative-looking people who just wanted to listen and dance to good music. Whether they did drugs or not wasn’t my first thought as the people I saw were capable of holding themselves together.

When somebody from a community, like the “ravers community” dies, it’s hard to separate it from the atmosphere. Because there are a few irresponsible people in a community does not make the entire community this way. In order to avoid cancellation for next time, it would be smart of the venues to be more proactive in monitoring the concert-goers. I know if I were to go to another EDM festival, I would be more aware of what goes on there, but I don’t think it will change my experience. If it’s good music with my good friends, how could it be bad? But it comes down to the venues and how they could make it more safe.

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    PaulSep 17, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Want people to not overdose? How about we teach drug safety. Kids are going to use drugs, especially at an EDM festival. It comes with the territory. The one girl reportedly took six hits of ecstasy – not exactly reasonable dosage.

    And the drug culture with EDM is there for a reason – because it’s the most prevalent aspect of it. It’s not a small minority utilizing drugs at these events, it’s a majority. And there’s nothing wrong with that, just be safe doing so. Drink water, don’t take six times your normal dosage…the usual.

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EDM venues must pick up safety slack