When I first heard about Electric Forest shutting down the DanceSafe booth all I could say was, ‘”WTF?!’” DanceSafe had been at Electric Forest in the previous years so why were they shut down this year? Reading directly from DanceSafe’s website, DanceSafe Nation’s Outreach Director Mitchell Gomez said that the Crafting Vending Coordinator sent complaints asking them to change certain services (in which they immediately complied to). First they were told to remove the drug testing services and selling kits and then to stop giving out informational cards on heroin. Many more requests were made until they were finally asked to take down their booth entirely by Madison House Represents. Gomez recently received a response as to why they were shut down and it was attributed to the possible threat that it would bring a Reducing Americans’ Vulnerability to Ecstasy (RAVE) act prosecution.
For pretty much my entire life, I’ve been told that drugs are bad for you and to not take them. Hell, I even took D.A.R.E when I was in middle school to learn what different drugs did and why NOT to use them. I’m not condoning drug usage, I’m promoting drug EDUCATION. Drug usage cannot be 100% prevented since it not only takes place at raves, but also at homes and parks. By shutting down DanceSafe at Electric Forest, the only thing the festival was doing was preventing attendees from knowing what is in their drugs and possibly making an unsafe, uneducated decisions and future decisions due to that lack of knowledge. It’s extremely important to, at the very least, know what you’re taking by doing a simple test. For all a person knows, that ‘ecstasy’ that they’re about to take is mixed with other chemicals that could possibly kill you if you take the wrong dosage or mixture. Drug education not only educates us about drugs, but drug safety as well. We become more aware of what we consume and put ourselves at risk for if we decide to take a drug with unknown elements. We can’t shy away from this topic and cannot address it simply with force as we can all see, that never works. So if we won’t allow DanceSafe to be a part of the solution, who is to blame?
Could it be law enforcement? Fuck the police, or at least that’s what everyone says. However, police officers working events are only there to watch out for our safety, but by mainly putting them there to catch people holding onto drugs doesn’t help much. Sure, they can catch people who are trying to sneak drugs in, but that only encourages many hide their drugs better or to consume almost ALL of their drugs before they reach security, which is obviously extremely dangerous! I’ve heard from many that as long as you don’t have enough to make it seem like you’re selling, the police will just confiscate your drugs and let you in, but don’t take my word for that; that’s not always the case. The police truly care about our safety and are there to help prevent deaths to the best of their abilities. Some love raves just as much as we do! So if not the police, whom should we blame?
Ourselves. I wouldn’t necessarily call it blame, but responsibility. It’s our responsibility to research exactly what we’re getting ourselves into and what the possibilities could entail. After every big music festival (raves specifically) there is at least 1 person reported dead and the media loves to blow this up because it creates such a solid link between raves and drug usage. They don’t take into account that both the Electric Daisy Carnival and Paradiso had insane temperatures of over 100 degrees possibly causing hundreds to become dehydrated, but we can’t put all the blame on the weather so the responsibility once again falls into our hands. We already knew what the weather was going to be like, so it was up to those who attended either festival to best prepare themselves for that intensity. For those who decided to become intoxicated through alcohol or drug consumption and had to be taken to first aid, they probably forgot to take into account that the heat would dehydrate them a lot faster. I’m not saying that we should blame ourselves for these misfortunes, but rather our lack of education, preparedness, and help from those around us. I’ve heard too many stories from this year’s EDC on how there was a person that was either having a seizure or fainting right next to them and no one stopped to help them. As a fellow raver, I wouldn’t want my friend to be put in that unfortunate situation and I try my best to help those around me. Just because the person right next to you isn’t your immediate friend doesn’t mean that you’re exempted from helping them; put yourself in their shoes!
Keep this in mind: While we can’t put all of the blame on yourselves, we have to take responsibility for ourselves! Freak accidents happen and there’s nothing we can do to stop them. The only thing we can do is educate ourselves, make sure that we are fully aware of what we put into our systems and the possible harm that may happen, take into account all of the possible factors (weather, location, etc), help a fellow raver out, and to learn from other’s mistakes!