Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

We Aren't All on Drugs

The word music, when thought of, produces a varied response from person to person. Some people think of what they last listened to, others might threaten to tear their own head off in response to the song that has been stuck in their head on a four second loop for the last seven hours. The response is never the same though, because music is all around us; it is an omnipresent freedom of expression. Why is it then, that some people are casting out some music as a threat to society, as a drug-filled s*** show that threatens the lives of all attendees so much so that events must be cancelled outright before they even have a chance to open their gates? The genre that I’m referring to has been the victim of this prejudice quite often in recent months. Electronic dance music, otherwise called EDM (a term that makes most avid listeners have to hold back a very contemptuous sigh) has become a victim of music stereotyping. The general public has for some reason decided to take the side of the media, like a herd of lemmings, and those who listen to the music sometimes have to conceal it for fear of being thought of as pill-poppers, prone to drug induced fits of rabies. This has led to the unfair cancellation of many events and festivals around the United States as more and more people surrender to the paranoia surrounding the music. This outlandish perception that has given dance music such a bad rap has to end, because everyone who enjoys the music is at the mercy of a few bad eggs.
I personally have never tried any sort of recreational drug. I never felt the need to when I saw Kaskade, Calvin Harris, Tiësto, Alesso, or any of the other 50+ artists that I have seen at the many festivals that I have attended. I have, however, felt the need to glare back at the individuals who I encounter outside each event who seem to enjoy judging people who enjoy loud music. It’s not like I look intimidating anyway, yet I have been constantly been eyed by people as I walk from my parking spot to go to a show. With each glare I can tell that they think I have a pocket-full of drugs, just waiting to end the lives of everyone close to me.
The drug in particular that has people worried is referred to as “Molly”, which is a concentrated form of the drug ecstasy. Ecstasy is known to give users an increased feeling of euphoria, a sense of intimacy with others, and diminished anxiety. Basically people take it at shows to force them into being in a better mood. The drug users are the ones that you see at shows that are acting maybe too happy (assuming that’s possible), dancing their asses off without a care in the world, making funny faces, and generally appearing to have the greatest time among their peers. One common side effect associated with the drug in conjunction with music festivals is dehydration, which is exacerbated because the person who took the drug is at a festival where you jump up and down for hours on end.
Unfortunately, the only media coverage these festivals receive stem from when one or two idiots manage to sneak by security, then take so many doses that they sweat buckets and fall over dead, because they feel that it’s the best way to listen to the music. Of course, the media gets a hold of this and always blows it way out of proportion, because “Drug Deaths Continue to be Problem in Three Day Music Fest/Drug Use Competition” grabs more attention than “Pretty much Everyone Has a Good Time at Music Festival.” In New York this year, over 85,000 people came to the city’s Electric Zoo, a three day electronic music festival featuring well over a hundred artists. The festival has had a presence in New York for years, but this year, the third day of the festival was cancelled. Why? Because two people died and four were hospitalized from overdosing on drugs. It was, of course, the right thing to do, but at the same time when you look at the amount of people who attended the event (over 110,000 the previous year) and those who overdosed are outliers, a minute few that ruined the entire event for tens of thousands with their drug-riddled escapade. In light of this incident, electronic music events were cancelled outright out of fears from the drug use. Two electronic music shows at the University of Massachusetts were cancelled last month out of fear for the drug. These were the only events cancelled, and yet the rapper Trinidad James (with a song that refers to taking ecstasy regularly) was still scheduled to perform at the same venue. That’s like banning all semi-trucks from the road because one of them got a speeding ticket, then letting all the sports cars do 100 mph. What do these people think goes on at EDM shows in comparison to any other concerts? It’s not like you hand them your ticket, pass through security, and then get your free ecstasy pill handed out by the event. The decision is so ignorant that you would think you were reading about a new Footloose movie.

Electronic music is slowly growing into a mainstream music genre. A lot of people (myself included before I was introduced to the music) tend to think of electronic music like techno, with the nonstop bassline droning on and on and on as pale white people in baggy parachute pants flail their arms together in some abandoned warehouse in the 90’s, but now you can’t turn on the radio, watch TV, or play a videogame without hearing a tune that someone created from their laptop. Electronic music is everywhere, so why should it be stereotyped so negatively when it is present in large quantities? Simply because a few people do stupid things at the events do not make them horrible events for everyone, nor does that make everyone who attends the event likely to do the exact same thing. When someone drunkenly falls to their death at a football game, they don’t ban alcohol at football games, much less cancel future football games at that stadium.
Death is unfortunately a part of society, and sometimes it can happen at large public gatherings, there is no one type of event where that isn’t true. To single out one specific genre of music like this is moronic, and I am sick of missing out on shows because of a few people’s idiocy. If the public really knew what goes on at these shows everyone would be more open to their continued existence, because they are a ton of fun. Nowhere else have I ever encountered such a large group of people where each person I meet is so enthusiastic and passionate about what they listen to on a daily basis. The sense of peace and togetherness is what truly makes electronic music festivals so enjoyable, not the drugs. If people could just see that, perhaps they would be less likely to stereotype the genre as a whole.



Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback