Update: SHM has released an official statement on their Facebook page, stating that they are waiting until they have more complete information before detailing anything that happened at the festival. Click here to go to SHM‘s Facebook page.
On a hot July night, during one of their final concerts together as a group, Swedish House Mafia played at Dublin’s Phoenix Park. What should have been a pleasant night out enjoying some vibe-lifting house music ended in tragedy: nine people were stabbed, and one died of unknown causes, the assumption being drug overdose. Of course, crime is something that happens: as much as we would all love for all violence to come to an end and for people to simply enjoy each other’s company—at least, I hope we all want that—there’s no good way to stop crime, only try to prevent it. I’m sad to see this happen anywhere, but particularly in the EDM scene—is this really how we want our music portrayed to the world?
Like every subculture and movement in the world, the common conception of EDM in the general public is pretty far off of how we conceive ourselves: the public sees only hedonistic, drug-abusing people escaping their problems through lavish parties and endless ecstasy—but they don’t see the subtle truths of the movement: the deep sense of camaraderie and the loving community within EDM culture. Ecstasy is a drug that is rarely overdosed on, and barring a few tragic exceptions, most ecstasy-related deaths in the history of rave culture have been from outside sources or side effects—for instance, dehydration or overhydration—and not from the actual immediate effects of the drug itself. Yes, it’s true that drugs besides MDMA have been associated with EDM culture in the past—and yes, as the movement has evolved, ecstasy and LSD have been replaced with amphetamines, cocaine and alcohol—so wherever drugs are involved, the risk of overdose or accidental death is present. The young man who passed away in Dublin last night was a tragic and unfortunate casualty of the dark side of EDM, the side that the public sees: the hedonistic, pleasure-seeking, reckless abandonment of people in search of the ultimate rush.
But more disturbing to me is the incidence of nine—yes, nine—stabbings at one concert. Violence directly contradicts the PLUR ethos that made EDM such an appealing philosophical movement when raves first started appearing in the world: peace, love, unity and respect. To see this happen at an EDM concert deeply concerns me—not only because violence in any form is bad and shouldn’t be tolerated, but also because, in a culture where respect and love for others is practically required, this behavior deviates so dramatically from the movement’s roots that it’s disturbing and disquieting. No one should feel unsafe at a rave, and this type of behavior simply should not be tolerated at any event, regardless of motivation.
My deepest sympathies go out to the victims and loved ones of those affected by these tragic events, and my wish is that members of the EDM community can band together and prevent things like this from happening in the future. Please remember that it’s our duty to love and protect one another—because, after all, EDM is about creating an extended family that can support you in your weakness and bolster you in your triumph.