Halloween is upon us and with it, some of the largest parties of the season. To expand on what’s happening 4:30 PM (1:30 PM PST) during our #FestFriday discussion on Twitter, I wanted to explain one of the biggest problems in the dance community today, the RAVE Act. I’ve written about this extensively on a much larger blog, EDMTunes. The short story is, laws that were created to prosecute people who rented to crack dealers, were used to prosecute rave producers. Public comment on the laws and aggressive prosecution especially after tragic events essentially destroyed the EDM boom of the mid 2000’s. Any of us old enough to be keeping score can tell you about how certain clubs got obliterated, gangbusters style. NYC, DC, LA, you name it, nights were being ruined. This was done under the pretext of protecting children from unscrupulous dealers, and Joe Biden did his best to ensure that no one danced to hardstyle, happy hardcore or techno again.
In reality, adult American taxpayers don’t need Joe Biden taking care of them. When given the appropriate resources and freedom, we do a decent job at taking care of ourselves. However, the RAVE Act (and public comment used by judges & prosecutors) was worded such that event producers & insurance companies found it to be more safe/cheap for events to have zero harm reduction and amenities. Organizations such as DanceSafe were thrown out of clubs and water was taken away. Having it would open them up to the implication that their events were basically the 00’s equivalent of a crack house. While this is perplexing and wrong, adjusters, risk managers and producers across the country dropped pill testing, free water and EDM all together in some places. Cheaper to pretend you didn’t know, while aggressively searching kids in Jnco jeans and wearing Kandi. After it being shown pretty conclusively that idea is moronic and completely useless when it comes to both keeping drugs out of parties and keeping kids alive, we think there’s another way.
The RAVE Act ignores harm to attendees of hip hop, country and sporting events (coughSFcough), but prosecutes only a small subsection of the recreational event attendee community. This not only allows unscrupulous dealers to operate unfettered, but it exposes many more people to much larger risk. Plenty of people want to have the drug legalization debate, and they can have it away from my page. This movement is strictly to prevent kids from hurting themselves when they’re dancing for 6hrs without water, rolling or not. The new movement to Amend the Rave Act came from a Mother of a fallen raver who couldn’t get education, water and safe spaces at her last event. Dede Goldsmith is doing amazing work, and You need to support it if this community means anything.
We’ve gone from a place where festivals in the UK & the USA were seen as a place of refuge and transformation, to a militarized atmosphere, antagonizing festival-goers & exacerbating responses from intoxicated attendees. When The Festival Lawyer provides tips to navigating even something as mundane as entering a festival, we’ve done something wrong as a society. I think we can acknowledge that certain things (like driving drunk) are much worse for you than others (smoking an e-cig or a joint with your friends). The paranoia about certain scenes being qualitatively worse for you than others is both confusing and damaging. To think, that the people in charge now believe “rock and roll” shows are safe but “dance” events aren’t. We can make all parties everywhere safer by doing this. Changing the language would allow events to bring in DanceSafe and other harm reduction measures, so even the bro you don’t like benefits. But please, do sign the petition and join DanceSafe, Stay Safe Seattle, and as many people as we can get on Twitter at 4:30 PM EST, on Halloween. I’ll see if I can find some full-size Snickers to hand out.