Drugs are obviously a big concern at music festivals. EDM festivals have a worse reputation than most other genres, but is this justified?
An EDMbiz panel approached the subject. The panel was moderated by Mark Lawrence, Chief Executive of the Association for Electronic Music. Speakers included B. Traits of BBC Radio 1, Dr. Dale Carrison of Emergency Medicine at University of Nevada, Insomniac’s Director of Health & Safety Maren Steiner, and UBC Mass Gathering Medicine Interest Group Founder Dr. Adam Lund.
The panel generally agreed that drugs and alcohol aren’t more of a problem at EDM festivals than at festivals of other genres, or even other non-music events.
In fact, Dr. Carrison and Steiner felt that EDM fans are easier to deal with, versus old drunk guys at a Metallica concert.
Dr. Lund talked about Shambala Festival, a Canadian electronic festival. Shambala allows attendees to hand drugs over to get tested. Festivalgoers that were going to take drugs anyways can test part of their stash to find out if they really have what they think they have. The tent also provides information on the effect of various drugs, so people can make informed decisions. Dr. Lund argued that attendees that chose to discard their drugs after testing would have been the most at risk.
One of my favorite quotes from the presentation was by Dr. Lund:
“When people choose to celebrate with drugs and alcohol and get sick, they are stigmatized. But when people choose to run Ironman Races until they pee blood they are celebrated.”
Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more: @nine_u