Drugs are Flourishing and Expanding Within Global EDM Culture

Comment Stream

2 years ago

Rolling Stone: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/drugs-death-and-dance-music-20130911

This Rolling Stone article, cleverly formulated by Steve Knopper, delves into MDMA tragedy within the United States at EDM music festivals. Knopper targets Electric Zoo as a prime example of what disasters can occur when party goers, drugs, and raves come together. Two people in their twenties died at Electric Zoo 2013. Electric Zoo is one of the world’s premier EDM music festivals, located in New York. Knopper credits numerous causes for these overdoses, not simply due to the act of taking multiple hits of molly or MDMA, but because the drugs that are sold to these festival goers are not what they are advertised as. A dealer could sell someone what they claim is MDMA, however, it could actually contain traces of PMA, “a much more toxic drug that mimics the effects of MDMA” (Knopper).
Knopper later claims that he believes that it is “not clear if there really are more deaths at EDM events than at other music festivals” (Knopper). He uses Bonnaroo, a multi-genre festival as an example, where ten people had died due to overdoses. I disagree with this assertion, because Bonnaroo has evolved into incorporating more EDM acts over the last few years, making most of them headliners as well. If Knopper had used Stagecoach as an example, a solely country music based festival, then he would have a valid point. This generation of teenagers and college students are infatuated with experimenting with psychedelic substances and dancing all night to the beats of house music. In the sixties, Woodstock was the young generation’s haven. In this era, dance music festivals dominate the psychedelic drug industry and as a result, correlate with the fatalities of numerous, vulnerable kids.

BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28525703

Bruno Boelpaep provides a more global take on the spark of EDM culture around the world. He zones in on Tomorrowland, the biggest music festival in the world that strictly hosts the top talents in the EDM industry. It is located in the outskirts of Belgium, attracting people from around the world including India, Australia, Chile, Canada, and Mexico. The article delves into how Tomorrowland started as a smaller festival in 2005 with just 9,000 people in attendance. Today, that number has bolstered to 360,000 people over the span of two weekends. It has risen to the prominence of not only being the biggest EDM festival in the world, but among the biggest that include other festivals which boast numerous genres of music.
Boelpaep describes how Tomorrowland, like other festivals, have zero tolerance policies on drugs. However, this does not stop people from smuggling numerous substances within the festival’s gates. Tomorrowland is a melting pot of EDM lovers from around the world, and illustrates the effects of a newfound resurgence of psychedelics that plagues raves globally. It is not just a problem within the United States. Boelpaep also describes the extravagant stages at Tomorrowland, pointing out that in 2012 the main stage “was a huge volcano, erupting in fireworks” (Boelpaep). These colorful and exuberant stages further maximize the MDMA experience, giving festival goers more reasons to use psychedelics. Boelpaep successfully demonstrates the immense popularity that dance has accumulated over the last four years and how psychedelics continue to play a large role within its culture.

FBI: http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/clubdrugs

This FBI article takes a more statistical and lecture approach, informing the reading audience of raves and the drugs that frequently accompany them. The article states that “some club drugs are colorless, odorless, and tasteless,” further demonstrating the issue of people being told lies of what drugs they are told they are consuming (FBI). This frequent mistake is what leads to overdoses. For example, as stated in the Rolling Stone article above, PMA could be mistaken as molly, which is a far more lethal drug. It describes 6 different rave drugs in great detail, including rohypnol, ketamine, and LSD. Other than listing each drug’s street names, it articulately describes the consequences, symptoms, and how to get treated. The primary reason this article was of great use is because of its differentiation between numerous drugs that are generally misunderstood to be the same, when in fact each drug comes with its own set of consequences and dangers.

JSTOR: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1073992?searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Ddrugs%2Braves%26amp%3Bacc%3Don%26amp%3Bwc%3Don%26amp%3Bfc%3Doff%26amp%3Bgroup%3Dnone&resultItemClick=true&Search=yes&searchText=drugs&searchText=raves&uid=3739656&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21106194352861

This chapter, written by Michael H. Dore, embarks on targeting ecstasy use at raves. Dore briefly describes brief history notes on the crack epidemic in the 1980s, stating that “the Crack House Statute was passed...to outlaw operation of houses or buildings, so-called ‘crack houses’, where ‘crack’, cocaine and other drugs are manufactured and used” (Dore 1583). He also discusses a theory that talks about a more symbolic value that ravers place upon the drugs that they use. Ecstasy consumption causes its consumers to grind their teeth, therefore it is common for ravers to walk around festivals with pacifiers in their mouths. Dore believes that festival goers view these pacifiers as a symbol of innocence and childhood that they can use to escape their circumstances in reality. Because of this infatuation with these characteristics, they feel that ecstasy is the route towards a more stress-free environment. Dole concludes this chapter by stating that raves do not need to be eliminated, but solely the drugs within the raves. HE questions the promoters and club managers true drive to eliminate drugs as well. It becomes an issue that involves the question of if drugs were impossible to sneak in, would profit and attendance significantly be reduced? To most promoters, the answer is yes. A large part of the rave culture is the enjoyment of psychedelics. As Dore states, it ultimately is on the shoulders of the promoters to eliminate the presence of drugs at events.

C-Span Public Policy Video: http://www.c-span.org/video/?158510-1/ecstasy-club-drugs-conference

The video is a conference that discusses the harm of ecstasy and its growing popularity throughout the rave culture globally. Key points that speakers specified on were that many people believe that ecstasy is harmless, and how people consume club drugs simultaneously with alcohol, which can increase fatality. Speakers demonstrated astronomical growth of the consumption of club drugs from 8th to 12th grade. The saying that drugs are ok until proven dangerous was repeatedly brought up, demonstrating the uneducated nature of the drug consumers. Although this conference took place in 2000, legitimizing the lack of drug knowledge of the youth, the rave and psychedelic scene is showing no signs of slowing down, as the populous of ravers has exponentially increased. This exponential growth of ravers correlates to an exponential increase and demand for psychedelic drugs as well. Drugs including molly and MDMA are also deemed as “cool” as also stated within the conference. Singers glamorize these drugs, which further produces curiosity within the youth culture to experiment with these psychedelics. Jay Z, Miley Cyrus, and Kanye West are a few of the numerous artists who propagate the consumption of these substances.

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