Earlier this month, two teenage girls died at HARD Summer Music Festival in drug-related complications. But does that mean that EDM festivals should be banned? The following is a response from Insomniac founder Pasquale Rotella, whose Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) is one of the largest EDM events in the world.
I’ve been incredibly saddened by yet another loss of life that’s been attributed to our culture, and I have spent the last week reflecting on how the story has played out in the media. First and foremost, my heart goes out to the friends and family of those two young women.
We don’t condone or tolerate drug use, but the problem here isn’t raves or dance music, or even festivals in general. The health impact of drug abuse in our country extends far beyond what happens at our events.
I lost five friends to drug overdoses at a young age, none of which occurred at dance music festivals; most of them weren’t even fans of the genre. No one wrote about them.
Dance culture has survived for decades and has never been more popular. Banning these events at facilities where we are able to provide first-rate medical care and emergency services is not the answer. I hope that policymakers and the media do not turn their backs on a cultural movement that is thriving and brings so much happiness to a generation that, quite frankly, needs an environment where they can feel loved and accepted. Most just want healthy interaction with their peers. I know that if I didn’t have access to this community growing up, my life would have taken a much different turn.
I see nothing but great opportunity within large gatherings—the opportunity to promote health, happiness, individuality, and human connection.
If we’re trying to create a safe and secure environment for these passionate fans, sending them back into the unregulated underground isn’t a step in the right direction.
We all need to do our part in creating a national dialogue that educates our youth and encourages them to be accountable for their choices—especially when it comes to drugs.