There has been quite a buzz stirring about the EDM scene and its affiliation with drugs. After the incident at the annual Electric Zoo festival on Randall’s Island over Labor Day weekend, in which two young adults were pronounced dead, the entire scene has encountered much controversy. It is unfortunate for artists and industry workers alike, as they are already on a delicate platform. Ever since the EDM craze ignited, and the genre made its way into mainstream, the music has been treated as somewhat of a novelty by its newest fans.
Consequentially, some ravers seem to be more interested in their attire at a party or a festival than actually appreciating the music itself. These same people are the ones who believe they cannot indulge in the art without being under the influence.
What some people do not realize however is that dance music is not the only drug related genre; During Woodstock, in an era that was dominated by Rock & Roll, a vast amount of music goers tripped on LSD; Hip-hop has gained a predominantly weed-smoking audience; Moshing to heavy metal has historically been aided by cocaine and alcohol.
So why shun our generation among the rest? Because unfortunately nowadays, the topic of drug use is taboo for the general population. But it is impossible to completely stop an entire society from consuming drugs, so it seems the only way to avoid further tragedy is communication. If teens and young adults are going to continue to do drugs, they should at least be well informed. This incident should have opened up the conversation in order to create a safe haven within the EDM community, instead of contributing to the ignorance of the inner circle, and the negligence of others.
Up and coming DJ/producer Brillz had quite a response to the incident. He posted on his artist Facebook a day after Electric Zoo, “There must be some actions we can take that neither condemns nor condones but can simply provide some positive force in our community.” He also suggested “drug education” and “making free water a requirement” to “help make these events safer for the audience.” Brillz claims to be neutral about drug consumption, but does not turn a blind eye to his fans or the community at large.
To ignore this reality is dangerous and life threatening, but embracing it suffers the same repercussions. Some sort of a middle ground solution is necessary for the betterment of the musical lifestyle as a whole.
In opposition, other responses from the EZoo audience were awfully insensitive claiming things like, “they ruined it for the rest of us” and “we want a refund now.”
The disparity among the artists and certain fans will be the reason the scene suffers, as it dilutes loyalty to the music. Though it is comforting to know that the most influential people in the scene are mindful of reality and truly admire their audience. Along with a strong creative direction, it becomes a recipe for timeless music.