Harm reduction services at festivals are an integral part of keeping all attendees safe, but unfortunately, sometimes it’s just not enough. This seemed to be the case last weekend when Baylee Ybarra Gatlin of Ventura, passed away while attending Lightning in a Bottle in Bradley, California. Paramedics rushed to the scene and transported the twenty-year-old to Twin Cities Hospital in Templeton early Sunday morning where she was later pronounced dead.
While we still don’t have details of what led to Baylee’s tragic death, many will rush to place blame and pass judgment, as is usually the case with this kind of tragic event. I can personally attest to the fact that The DoLab takes the safety of its attendees seriously. The festival site has medical tents, as well as the Zendo and DanceSafe harm reduction services are always on site to service those in need.
We reached out to DanceSafe Director Mitchell Gomez, who offered the following statement:
“The DoLab takes the health and safety of their patrons as seriously as any promoter I've worked with in over 20 years of attending EDM events. While it's still unclear what happened in this particular situation, it's simply undeniable that Lightning in a Bottle does everything that can possibly be done to make sure all of their attendees have a safe weekend. Despite everyone's best efforts, sometimes tragedy strikes. When this happens, our natural inclination as humans is to seek to assign blame. But the reality is, sometimes terrible things happen beyond anybody's control.”
As a community, we must be aware of potential threats to our safety, as there are often dangerous substances going around that are misrepresented. There is a substance called 25I-NBOMe that is passed off as acid. It’s a potentially life threatening drug, but without proper testing there is no way to tell what it is. I witnessed someone finding a vile they thought was liquid acid, luckily before they consumed it they were able to get it tested. It definitely was not acid as the reagent test took an ugly turn that could only be believed if you saw the video of the test.
We don’t know the events that transpired and if things might have turned out differently had she gotten help sooner, but many of us can use this as a wake-up call. Know where harm reduction services are when you arrive at a festival, stop by and say hi to the volunteers that are there to keep you safe. In case something goes wrong, it’s always good to know where you can find help, or where to point someone if they are in need. Already knowing where help is can save valuable time if things take a turn for the worst. Remember that those precious seconds could mean the difference between life and death.
While the toxicology report has yet to be released, we must come to terms with the unfortunate death of a fellow community member. While so many questions are still unanswered about the events that led up to the tragedy, our hearts go out to her family and friends. There is a GoFundMe donation page that has been set up for Baylee here