Hot-button issue here. The Los Angeles Times recently came out with an article called "A fatal toll on concertgoers as raves boost cities' income," which is basically an investigative report about how raves are very dangerous, but cities don't care because they get a lot of money from them. There's a lot more to the issue than that, but an interesting read if you dig the EDM scene. Also, depending on how you take it, a somewhat polarizing one.
These days, raves fill fairgrounds, basketball arenas and football stadiums. Their audiences are no longer a few hundred revelers but tens of thousands.
As raves have moved into the mainstream, there have been more tragedies across the country.
Since 2006, at least 14 people who attended concerts produced by Rotella, considered within the industry the nation's leading rave promoter, and Reza Gerami, another prominent Los Angeles-based impresario, have died from overdoses or in other drug-related incidents, a Times investigation has found.
According to an analysis of coroners' and law enforcement reports from nine states, most of the deaths were linked to Ecstasy or similar designer drugs — hallucinogens tightly bound with raves.
This is interesting on two levels. It's more of a journalist-blasting-establishment sort of piece, but it for some reason comes off as one that's more ripping apart the EDM scene--linking everything that has to do with the rise of DJs to people poppin' molly and dying.
Despite warnings of drug risks from law enforcement and health officials, the raves have received the blessing of local governments hungry for the revenue they deliver.
"It pretty well fills all the local hotels," said Judge Dave Barkemeyer, who issued a permit for a Rotella rave in Milam County, Texas. "It brings in a fair amount of commerce."
James Penman, the San Bernardino city attorney, said economics should never be a justification for raves. He long has urged officials to disallow the events at the National Orange Show Events Center there. Coroners' reports show that two people have fatally overdosed at National Orange Show raves.
"The city should have zero tolerance for any activity where drugs are an integral part," Penman said. "A rave without drugs is like a rodeo without horses. They don't happen."
The Money > Lives reality is pretty stark here, and it's of course something that needs to be taken as seriously as possible. That said, Money > Lives is really just the next evolution of Money > Well Being, which is how a good deal of business operate. This is may sound harsh and terrible, but we live in a world where we know the risks of dangerous drugs, and all choices have consequences. In this case they're extreme and tragic, but that's not to say the choices of a few should compromise a scene/business that, as DJ/rising cultural icon Kaskade put, generally does a pretty good job in making sure events are as safe as possible. The Times acknlowledges this somewhat, in the sense that as these things have gotten more legit, so have the safety standards.
Now-routine safety measures include security patrols, standby ambulances and medical stations. More recently, Rotella's concerts have offered free water to attendees. Ecstasy overdose victims often crave water because the drug affects the part of the brain that regulates drinking behavior and body temperature. Insomniac's website warns ticket buyers that they will be prosecuted if they use drugs at the concert.
Rotella and Gerami declined to be interviewed for this story. In a statement, Rotella's firm said it does everything it can to protect concertgoers, but fans also must be responsible for their own actions: "Despite the fact that the overwhelming number of our festival's hundreds of thousands of attendees have a positive experience, a small number of people make the personal decision to break the law as well as the policies of our events."
The article goes then goes into detail about various stories of personal death, all tied back to doing drugs at a rave. But the thing is, even if you're taking Rotella's statement with a grain of salt (which you kind of have to), he's not exactly wrong. Sure it may be a bit more than "small number of people" breaking the law, but the truth is that not EVERYONE at raves do drugs. Sure it's a component for many, but it's kinda like getting guac on your burrito at chipotle--an add-on desired by many, but not everyone actually goes through with it. Ridiculous analogy yes, but the point is that it's a value judgement, and more people than you think have the self-discipline not to go through with it.
My somewhat problem here is that this article seems characterize EDM fans as rabid drug users who are being wink-wink nudge-nudged into making good on their self-destructive habits, because Raves = $$$. The Los Angeles Times is not exactly wrong to put this out by any means--and this is certainly an issue that should probably be talked about--but there is more to Electronic Dance Music than drugs and raves. Sometimes, the world at large seems to have a hard time processing that.