Dance music was put in the headlights recently with two unfortunate deaths at HARD Summer Music Festival. It was targeted by the LA County Board of Supervisors, and it was given a lot of local media coverage for the negative events that transpired.
While rumors of a ban on events in Los Angeles County swirled, the real issue at hand was left unaddressed and swept under the rug once again – festivals are unable to completely care for their patrons due to harsh restrictions on care and liability.
LA-native and founder of Insomniac Events Pasquale Rotella took to Instagram to voice his own thoughts on the matter.
I’ve been incredibly saddened by yet another loss of life that’s been attributed to our culture, and I have spent the last week reflecting on how the story has played out in the media. First and foremost, my heart goes out to the friends and family of those two young women. We don’t condone or tolerate drug use, but the problem here isn’t raves or dance music, or even festivals in general. The health impact of drug abuse in our country extends far beyond what happens at our events. I lost five friends to drug overdoses at a young age, none of which occurred at dance music festivals; most of them weren’t even fans of the genre. No one wrote about them.
Dance culture has survived for decades and has never been more popular. Banning these events at facilities where we are able to provide first-rate medical care and emergency services is not the answer. I hope that policymakers and the media do not turn their backs on a cultural movement that is thriving and brings so much happiness to a generation that, quite frankly, needs an environment where they can feel loved and accepted. Most just want healthy interaction with their peers. I know that if I didn’t have access to this community growing up, my life would have taken a much different turn.
I see nothing but great opportunity within large gatherings—the opportunity to promote health, happiness, individuality, and human connection. If we’re trying to create a safe and secure environment for these passionate fans, sending them back into the unregulated underground isn’t a step in the right direction. We all need to do our part in creating a national dialogue that educates our youth and encourages them to be accountable for their choices—especially when it comes to drugs.
There is no way to prevent human nature. The only thing that we can do to mitigate negative events at festivals is provide attendees with all of the resources we can to rave responsibly and take care of themselves. Aside from festivals being legitimately overstaffed, oversold, or making noticeable mistakes, a festival should not be held responsible for the mistakes of individuals.