According to a report provided to Edmonton city officials, attendees of ‘raves’ are 30 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who attend other concerts and has recommended that the city impose an “immediate moratorium” on the all-night dance. The two main concerns highlighted by the report are drugs usage and sexual assault at raves in the Western Canadian city.
The report notes that in 2017, 84 people were treated for drug-related illnesses and a further 26 were taken to emergency rooms at six raves taking place on city-owned facilities. In contrast, 14 ‘concerts’ at large scale venues Rogers Place and Commonwealth last year saw only seven people taken to the hospital – none of which were for drug related issues.
The EDM community in Edmonton have responded with frustration due to a “problematic” definition of raves per Andrew Williams, co-founder of the Alberta Electronic Music Conference. The report defines raves as “after hour club parties, electronic music shows and electronic dance parties that feature fast-paced electronic music and light shows,” and in doing so Williams points out that this definition allows city officials to target any type event containing electronic music – regardless of size or promoter. He added that “it’s a sloppiness that seems to be painting an entire artistic genre and entire type of music with a very broad brush.”
Promoter Viet Nguyen, partner at Boodang, believes that it is unfair to compare ‘concert-goers’ and ‘rave-goers’ pointing out that “the demographic is completely different. You’re comparing apples to oranges.” While the report does show that a majority of Boodang’s events see fewer than five people hospitalized, Nguyen is worried about the spikes on two of his events in the chart above – Scream and Frequency respectively. A major worry he is is that if the moratorium is put into place, EDM events will simply disappear underground and become even more dangerous. “There are no rules in place regarding how many medical staff you need, how many police you need. It’s just going to make things worse.”
The report is set to be reviewed by the community and the city’s public services committee this coming Wednesday.