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A Must Read: "The Right To Rock 'N' Rave" by Simon Rust Lamb


I've got something serious for all of you to check out. This is for those of you, (hopefully this includes all of you) who enjoy EDM beyond the safe guards of the surface level and know of the battle it has been raging with the L.A. Times (here's our retort), the government and the world in general. Simon Rust Lamb, for those who aren't yet aware is the COO of Insomniac, presenter of some of the best-known EDM festivals in the world, such as Electric Daisy Carnival, Electric Forest and the Wonderland family of events. The man knows a thing or two about a thing or two—remember this name.

Lamb recently released a piece discussing the First Amendment rights of presenters; in it he reviews the world's general reactions to EDM up until now, details the First Amendment in regards to EDM and its festivals/shows and chronicles various court cases involving music and its shows dating back as far as 1981. Let me bring this home for you guys, Lamb was an attorney for Lionsgate Entertainment before opening his own firm, a music journalist for publications like URB and editor-in-chief for BPM and Lotus Magazines; in other words, the man is knowledgeable, skilled and well-versed in the art of battle. Against adversaries in the courtroom, newspapers or disapproving communities, Lamb is quite the contender. So much has been said since the specific "war on EDM" began, from the L.A. Times EDM-bashing articles to the general opinion of the public when something has gone wrong that I very much appreciated reading a strong argument that was both educated and engaging in its determination to defend and inform. I ask you now to follow the link I will provide and read the piece in its entirety, because no one can do a thing for this culture we've grown to celebrate and respect so much unless we know the building blocks it stands on.

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In the last few years, the live event community and the press have given considerable attention to raves and their place in today’s world. The term “rave” may be defined in several ways. As many using the term overlook this detail, here are some options: (1) an event featuring electronic music, or (2) an illegal underground party with electronic music and people under the influence of drugs, primarily Ecstasy. These two definitions cover AEG/Goldenvoice’s Sahara Tent at Coachella, Live Nation’s Identity Tour, Insomniac’s Electric Daisy Carnival, illegal warehouse parties and KCRW’s annual Halloween party.

While many would like to pigeonhole all electronic music events into definition 2, which focuses on the misconception that these events are tied solely to drug use, the truth is that producers of modern-day electronic music festivals, or raves, implement the same safety preparations as any other major music concert or sports event. In reality, the top producers of electronic music festivals exceed security requirements because of the lack of understanding about how this genre has evolved from underground parties into multi-million-dollar productions in some of the world’s most famous venues.

Regardless of the definition, what cannot be lost in this discussion are the First Amendment protections afforded to all forms of live musical expression and concert promoters, including electronic music events and promoters. It is altogether too easy to overlook civil liberties when tragedies occur as people seek accountability and easy solutions. Our cherished First Amendment not only protects our freedom of speech, but it also entitles us to freedom of expression, with the goal of promoting creativity and ingenuity. While not everyone may understand why people express themselves in certain ways, the First Amendment ensures that such expression cannot be restrained by subjective opinions of government officials.

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