The last 12 months in EDM have not been pretty. From the period of May 2015 – May 2016, there have been 17 reported deaths from drugs at festivals and over 100 confirmed drug-related hospitalizations. Festivals have not become any more lax in their security during this time period, in fact, the opposite could be said, and yet these numbers continue to rise.
Industry leaders are looking to meet at IMS in Ibiza May 25-27 to discuss negative portrayals in the media and, more importantly, how to shift EDM back on a positive path. The Association for Electronic Music (AFEM) will present “The Future of Our Industry” panel, bringing together Dutch label Spinnin’ Records’ CEO, Eelko Van Koote, Italian DJ Joseph Capriati, CAA’s Maria May, Beatport’s Terry Weerasinghe and Tommy Vaudecrane of French industry association Technopol.
The panel will not be a forum to discuss what happened in the past, but rather will focus on a way to move forward and forge a path to understanding, awareness, and greater safety for festival attendees.
Many have been increasingly pointing to harm reduction practices (as opposed to prohibition) as the best way to ensure the safety of people who do choose to partake in illicit substances. Organizations like DanceSafe are leaders in harm reduction practices, and founder Emanuel Sferios has been diligently campaigning for his documentary, MDMA The Movie, in an effort to showcase the positive aspects of the chemical.
No matter what, there needs to be an industry-level change in how drugs are approached at festivals, in the media, and in EDM. “You’ll be hearing from AFEM soon about what we can all do as an industry and as a culture,” says IMS organiser Ben Turner.