In the last week, we've heard reports about a handful of deaths stemming from both music festivals and shows. We reported earlier on the death of 19-year-old male outside of Spring Awakening, and are still waiting to see what the cause of death was. At Bonnnaroo, two people passed away. The first took place on June 9th when a 32-year-old woman was found dead on the festival grounds.
The second was on June 12th when a 24-year-old male died of hyperthermia after being airlifted from the festival grounds. We are still waiting on the results of both of those deaths as well. On June 10th at The Echostage in Washington D.C., a 19-year-old girl celebrating her birthday overdosed after ingesting molly. This was also not the first drug-related death at that venue either.
It's becoming all too common, and in a recent Facebook post by Australian DJ and producer Anna Lunoe, she speaks on her frustration regarding deaths at music-related events. The Los Angeles resident then voices her frustration towards drugs, stating on Twitter and Facebook "This scene is not about drugs. U don't need to take them to be apart (sic) of it." All too often though, that has become a common misconception for those looking to fit in.
It happened to many of us when we were younger, and it's a toxic mentality that's becoming more and more associated with electronic music and music festivals in general. While drugs are a large part of the problem, it's also a lack of awareness, overpacked festivals causing people to overheat, and not enough medical staff, water, and security to prevent this.
People should not just be "found" dead at these events. Greater restrictions need to be put on festivals, stopping them from cutting corners on prevention while they instead focus on selling more and more tickets and packing every corner of a venue. This won't end anytime soon unless a change is made, and festival season 2015 is already looking to be a dangerous one.
We recently covered a story regarding sober areas at festivals including Bonnaroo, where festivals provide tents for those looking to stay away from drugs, and also a place for those to come and learn. This is a step in the right direction and is a smart PR move for festivals, but it's only just the beginning. Too many people, limited water sources, lack of security, and a rampant drug culture are leading to these deaths, and it's about time festivals start taking a stand.
Yes, drug culture has always been heavily associated with electronic music, but as the scene continues to get younger and grow towards a mainstream level, it's becoming less recreational and about teenagers and even adults who don't understand the idea of moderation or complete prevention. People will always take drugs, but the music is what makes the scene, not the drugs.
In a recent interview with Billboard, Skrillex also stated his opinion on drug use in the electronic community. When asked what the worst thing about dance in 2015 was, he had this to say:
Skrillex: "Drug culture. Kids are going to do what they do, and I'm not judging them, but it wasn't ever like that for me. That's why I do a lot of mixed-genre festivals. People connect differently. I'm super into that."