The irrefutable association between drugs and music festivals is becoming grievously evident with each passing death. Reddit took the spiraling subject head on and hosted a live AMA with Insomniac’s Director of Health and Safety. The answers below provide some needed clarity on the subject.
Pseudosocialite asked, “Why don’t you allow organizations like Dance Safe to set up and educate people on site?”
“The rave act as well as other local and federal laws don’t allow for having on-site drug testing. Over the years I’ve had many great conversations with the folks over at Dance Safe and have nothing but respect for them and the work that they are doing. I actually have a collection of their drug information cards on my desk at work. We’re always looking to work with different non profit organizations who have harm reduction programs that don’t include the drug testing part of it.”
I think this is the most important question in the entire AMA. Pasquale Rotella, CEO of Insomniac, touched base on this last year. “I’ve actually had DanceSafe at our events a while back, but when the venue, the local authorities, and the insurers are opposed to it, you won’t have that city or location as an option,” Pasquale responded. “Unfortunately some people view partnering with DanceSafe as endorsing drug use rather than keeping people safe. Part of me is grateful that I got denied from bringing in DanceSafe everywhere I went, because when the DEA started going after innocent event producers under the Crack House Law, having DanceSafe at an event was one of the things they looked at to justify putting them in jail for 20 years. If you don’t know about the Crack House Law, you should look into it.”
It’s the legalities behind the ‘Crack House Law’ that Pasquale speaks of, or the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act, that make it difficult for businesses to advocate awareness and safety. It allows for the federal government to easily punish business owners for the drug offenses of their customers because of the act’s broad terms – even if the business may take precautionary steps to stop such offenses. In other words, it unfairly holds businesses accountable for their customer’s actions.
Readatwork asked, “How many paramedics and doctors/nurses do you guys have at your festivals? How much larger is EDC LV compared to a Nocturnal, Beyond or Escape?”
“I’m so proud of the medical teams that we put together at our festival. We only employee the best of the best of emergency room based doctors and nurses and not only do they provide great medicine but they also love what they do. Stop by and say hi anytime! Our medical teams love trading kandi, giving high fives and giving some advice to aspiring medical professionals. EDC Las Vegas is definitely the largest of the festivals that we do so it definitely has the largest medical team of any of our shows. Our numbers vary based on a variety of conditions mainly the size of the show.
CombativeAccount asked, “Hey guys. In honor of your 20th anniversary, I was wondering what you think your biggest advancements have been in the last 20 years in terms of safety for your event attendees? What are the biggest challenges you’re facing in terms of your attendees’ behavior and well being, currently?”
“I’ve been working in festival safety for about a decade now and I can tell you that the industry has definitely changed. Concerts used to be the thing and now music festivals rule the land. A few years back I had the privilege of speaking with the medical director of Woodstock. They had equal struggles even back then with educating fans on harm reduction measures as well as not being afraid to get help for themselves or another fan that they see who might be struggling.
Today, there are several big issues at play in our society. The first being drug use. It’s an epidemic in society and definitely not a rave specific problem. Just ask any EMT or Paramedic what kind of calls they are running in their city on a Friday and Saturday night and the answer will most likely be the same. The second major issue is mental health and the stigma to ask for help. This is the “YOLO” generation but they are so smart! It may be hard to see it now but I promise there is a future for you. Don’t be afraid to get healthy. Drugs and alcohol are not the answer.”
Read the entire AMA here.