Today on Rolling Stone, Steve Baltin published an article after speaking with Insomniac Founder and CEO Pasquale Rotella. Surrounding the recent spike of negative publicity towards dance music events, Rotella describes his philosophical approach to festival safety. Loosely working with the concept of ‘risk’, the article begins with legitimate realities we all face as producers and consumers, and finishes on a relevant upswing when discussion turns to the upcoming Nocturnal Wonderland Event.
Every reasonable person acknowledges that deaths during music related events are horrible and depressing, but they still occur. Pasquale has always acknowledged this fact and the point he makes at the beginning the article spurs the dialogue that follows:
“It’s horrible, but unfortunately if someone is going to take a risk, it doesn’t matter where they are in the world – in their own bedroom, at a festival. They take that risk, and it’s sad if it ends tragically. It happens every day, but there’s this attention that dance music events get that is unfair.”
Today, the recent overdoses associated with “molly” are permanently linked to dance music, a fact that will unlikely shake itself free. No matter how fair, it’s becoming apparent that ‘molly’ is the mark of this culture, conceptually similar to previous generations. The Altamont Festival in 1969 endured the death of three individuals, in addition to dozens injured and hundreds of stolen vehicles. At Monster’s of Rock in 1988 two fans died during Guns N’ Roses set due to poor conditions. And in the 1990’s there were multiple deaths at music concerts around the world. With each event inducing widespread upset and a call to action by outside demographics. The list continues throughout decades of history and now ‘EDM’ sits underneath the microscope.
Another interesting point Rotella touches on could be considered as the idea of a social contract:
“It’s the promoter’s responsibility to do everything possible to protect the attendees, and after you’ve covered all your bases and done everything you can do, it really comes down to people handling their own business, people being responsible for themselves”
Walking into a festival is a surreal feeling that demands excitement and energy, we know that. But it’s also probably the last time you will think about social responsibilities or the unwritten agreement between yourself and the promoter. Promoter’s cannot afford to take short cuts when creating events of this magnitude, they enact countless precautions to ensure crowd safety and despite all efforts are human, aka, capable of mistakes or oversights. Rotella’s point is more than valid and initiates thinking about potential ramifications of these continued actions. As consumers we will inevitably be forced to make a choice, accept the negative truths about dance music as facts, or work to adjust accepted norms within festivals by meeting promoters halfway. Enter each event with a sense of social responsibility for yourself, and anyone in the surrounding area.