Longreads suggested the tell-all essay on so-called molly and Electronic Dance Music festivals written by Shane Morris. It is a good read with snappy prose and a strong argument that the EDM festivals are locations where lots of people seek drugs from one-time drug dealers who may sell them almost anything.
But I’m more taken with his follow up essay where he not only answers many of the criticisms and also suggests a series of solutions.
Much of what he suggests is harm reduction – trying to make risky behavior (of almost any stripe) less likely to result in damage. But it is also a sincere plea for bystander accountability and a change in the culture of drug-users and those promoters who make money on festivals.
I’m only saying that it’s time the EDM community starts acting like the family it espouses itself to be. No more secrets. No more “turning around and pretending you didn’t see that happen.” No more fearing what might happen if you ask for help. No more pretending people aren’t getting hooked on Molly. If everyone in the EDM community collectively decides to help themselves, rather than bending to legislation, we can fix this. If we advocate a culture of safety, health, and honesty, we can correct the course of this ship before it maroons itself on the rocks.
Part I. We need a return of safe, “cool down” areas to EDM events. If we all acknowledge that people are going to do drugs, and it’s just something that happens, then we should also be able to acknowledge that every person deserves to be safe, healthy, and well. If you’re not feeling OK, there needs to be a place you can go and sit down, chill out, drink water, maybe even get a bag of ice and put it on your head.
Morris also suggests people “call out the idiots promoting overconsumption,” and for transparency (including drug testing kits for prospective users). He also commits to making his own music events more safe and offers up “safe word” as the catchphrase for a campaign of communication:
Here is his explanation:
In BDSM circles, using a safeword means things have gotten too much for you to handle, and you need to stop, without judgement. In that regard, I feel its purpose is well served here as well. If you’re at an event, and things have spun out of control for you, a friend, or perhaps a stranger you’re just looking out for–you should be able to remove yourself from the situation and know your safety is the primary concern, without fear of repercussions or judgement.