Friday, July 2, 2010

Party pooping

It’s all fun and games, all peace and love, until someone dies. Which is exactly what happened.

Last weekend in Los Angeles, the Electric Daisy Festival, called the biggest electronic music event and featuring five stages and carnival rides, took place over two days at the Memorial Coliseum and Exposition Park, with 185,000 people attending. A 15-year-old girl attended on her own, although no one under 16 was supposed to get in without an accompanying adult, overdosed on drugs and was pronounced dead a few days later. Now these sorts of these events have been "temporarily banned from the venue, which is owned by the city, county and state.

I have many questions right there - Why wasn’t the girl’s I.D checked? How did she get the drugs, or was it an accident (a laced drink, perhaps)? Did her parents know where she was? Would it have been any better if she was 16 or even 17? - but it gets more complicated, much more complicated.

Something like 125 people were arrest for using or dealing drugs. What’s more, thousands were injured when some barricades were stormed.

And - get this - right before this fourteenth annual festival, hospitals in the area went into crisis mode, like they do when there’s a train crash or earthquake. They knew what was coming.

Something is wrong, terribly wrong, with this picture.

With hospitals literally getting ready for a disaster, with doctors pleading for an end to these raves, I have to say that I support the ban. At least until the folks to put on these events figure out how to make them safer and saner.

I don’t like saying this. I am all for having fun, and I really believe in the power of music to bring many different people together in peace. I also hear those who say that the vast, vast majority, thousands and thousands, of people had a good, safe time and shouldn’t be punished because of the foolish, thoughtless actions of a relatively few. Perhaps I’m not over the anger in my last post about another celebration turning into a melee, but, with the notable violence and death at this event (and other similar ones recently), I feel irked that the talk of peace and harmony, of groovy, global love, especially by the promoters and even music critics, not only rings hollow but sounds flat-out irresponsible.

Am I the party pooper here? Or is it those who act recklessly and those who insist on intoxicating substances being in the mix? Or is it those who put on and profit from these events and then pretend not to know what will happen?

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