Amidst all the outcry over ineffective security, a postponed refund, and countless other maladies plaguing the return and possible demise of Electric Zoo, dance music legend Tommie Sunshine took to Twitter to call out the ‘sting experiment’ being carried out at Electric Zoo. A full write up on Tommie’s thoughts can be found at Dance Music Northwest, and I encourage everyone to read it.
Interestingly enough, I was approached by several individuals on premises who asked for assistance in finding ‘mdma’, ‘molly’, or ‘e’ on festival grounds. In each case, the person asking was extremely direct and targeted me exclusively because of the beaded mask, kandi, and fluffies I was wearing. In each circumstance, the person or persons asking cited my appearance as the reason they chose to ask me, and once I admitted I did not have any drugs they proceeded to target another patron dressed in a similar fashion.
In each situation I decided to go a step above simply saying “no I don’t have any” or “no i don’t do that” and tried to disarm their incorrect assumption that my kandi, my mask, and my fluffies signified that I was dealing drugs. This was my response to every undercover that came my way:
“The way I am dressed does not signify that I am a drug user or dealer, and I apologize that stereotypes perpetuated by Mad Decent and HARD Summer have led you to the conclusion that kandi-wearers are drug users. I do not have any drugs of any kind for sale today, and I would encourage you to not approach other kandi-kids in regards to drugs. In my experience, it is the normally-dressed patrons that sell to others inside, not those in festive masks and outfits. It has also been my experience that the kandi-clad ravers are the first to offer water, assistance, and seek medical help for those in need in festival, club, and underground situations. I feel extremely disappointed that you would accuse me of being a criminal based exclusively on my creative expressions, and I sincerely hope you come to understand that all of us here aren’t drug addicts and deviants. We’re all patrons here to enjoy the show in our own way, and I specifically have chosen to enjoy it in an outfit that expresses my creativity; my outfit today is not an advertisement for drug solicitation, and I would highly dissuade you from purchasing anything illegal on the festival grounds. Thank you.”
How do you handle being asked for drugs at festivals? Share your responses in the comments!
Within the first few seconds of receiving news that Sunday of Electric Zoo was cancelled, I was devastated. Distraught initially because I would once again be missing Armin and would not be seeing Vicetone. And like many, I took my fury to Twitter, lashing out angrily to every corner of the internet, blaming irresponsible people for single-handedly ruining my weekend.
That was incredibly selfish, and I’m sorry.
There were multiple factors in the cancellation of Electric Zoo, the most prominent and most reported being the two deaths due to drug overdoses. However these were not the only problems present at the festival itself. As I go on to list these issues I want to make it VERY VERY CLEAR that I am of the opinion that it was in NO WAY Made Event of the Electric Zoo 2013 officials’ fault for these problems:
- Security was not sufficient.
- Medical staff, while available did not check surrounding areas for fallen ravers.
- Certain volunteers / staff not only endorsed frequent ‘molly’ use, there was an incidence of a ‘we want molly’ tip sign at one water station.
- Certain ‘rented’ security staff was not only discourteous, they made unwanted flirtatious advances on female ravers such as myself.
- Apparel promoting drugs use was permitted at the event, only contributing to the ‘hype’ of drug use.
- Excessive shoving and general misconduct from attendees exacerbated already dehydrated ravers, only adding tension to already negative situations of crowding and overheating.
- Songs about ‘Molly’ including Tyga’s ‘Molly’ and Cedric Gervais’ hit song were dropped, only adding to unnecessary hype of the drug
Again, none of these are Made Event of Electric Zoo’s fault. It is important to note that in 2012 Electric Zoo had no deaths. As pop stars and rappers have begun to bolster the hype of drug use and wild partying, our festivals are getting inundated with unsafe expectations that tons of drugs and drinking are required to make the EDM scene enjoyable…encouraging newcomers to create their own ‘Project X‘ at shows like EDC and EZOO instead of simply coming to enjoy the music.
Spoiler Alert; You Don’t Need Drugs To Enjoy EDM
DJ’s such as Bassnectar and Brillz have released official statements about the situation, pleading with their fanbase to be safe and take accountability for their actions. Videos such as the the vimeo clip featuring major acts like Kaskade, Tommie Sunshine, Steve Aoki, and A-Trak have been circulated begging those who do partake in substances to be extremely careful of their actions.
Actions such as taking “6 hits of molly”, leaving a friend by themselves if you know that they are intoxicated or impaired, and buying illegal substances from someone you’ve never met without testing it are just a few examples of unnecessary risks that were taken and contributed to the deaths of these two young individuals. Preventable actions.
While some have made the argument that shutting down the zoo because the poor decisions of 6 people should not affect thousands who have shelled out hundreds of dollars to enjoy their favorite musicians, its important to understand that the decision was ultimately Mayor Bloomberg‘s. While it angered many, like myself it was a wake-up call: if we do not tackle this problem head-on more and more EDM events will be cancelled, banned, and characterized as ‘death fests’, ‘drug sprees’, and ravers like you and me will be labelled ‘drug addicts’. While you can’t convince major news networks to undo the damage they are doing by stigmatizing us with each and every false depiction of all ravers being drug abusers who yell ‘popped a molly I’m sweating’ every 2.5 seconds, what you can do it this:
- Don’t buy anything endorsing ‘molly’, ‘mdma’, or drugs of any kind
- Demand that your favorite DJ’s stop the endorsement of drug usage of any kind
- Demand tracks promoting ‘molly’ and other hard drugs be removed from their set lists; Heck, even walk out as soon as they come on
- Demand harsher security that ACTUALLY checks for drugs THOROUGHLY
If purging molly from our shows means we can continue to have our major festivals and enjoy our favorite acts free of stigma and death, I say let’s do it. Who’s with me?