Two teenagers died at the HARD Summer music festival in Los Angeles just over a month ago. The HARD enterprise is owned by Live Nation.
Local government officials immediately proposed the prohibition-era idea of banning electronic music festivals on county owned land.
Los Angeles County has come to an interim agreement with Live Nation as they investigate the safety of electronic music festivals. Live Nation agreed to cancel HARD Presents… A Night at Fairplex, an event that was partnered with the LA County Fair.
Live Nation also agreed to put restrictions on the upcoming HARD Day of the Dead festival. The event will now be 21+ instead of 18+. Attendance will be reduced from 65,000 to 40,000 people per day. Live Nation will provide more shade, cooling stations, and free water. Medical services and security will be increased. Anti-drug and drug education information will also be distributed.
I was worried about the initial desire to ban an entire genre of music festivals, but this interim agreement is very reasonable.
The county has approved an EDM festival task force. They will be conducting more research on deaths at electronic music festivals so they can implement new policies and restrictions.
Now for the troubling part…
The county says a complete ban of electronic music festivals on their property is still on the table:
“Ultimately, in the interest of public safety, a ban of electronic music festivals at County-owned properties remains a possibility that will continue to be evaluated. While the Board supports musical events in the County, what is of paramount importance is the health and safety of the youth attending these events”
This is ridiculous. Part of the problem is drug policy in both Los Angeles County and the entire United States. It’s extremely difficult to properly educate attendees on drug safety when drugs are so criminalized.
As Insomniac founder Pasquale Rotella said:
“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.”
How many more overdoses will there be if Los Angeles County pushes these events underground? There will be blood on the county’s hands.
But there is hope. The county says: “The task force should also seek input from the electronic music festival community, specifically groups promoting safe experiences.”
See the full document here.