How age requirements are affecting Electronic Dance Music
Compiled by the Retriever Weekly Staff
With the almost meteoric rise of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) over the past three years, the current cultural generation has played audience to the rebirth of one of America’s most talked about taboos: Raves.
These events, whether held in nightclubs or in warehouses, have become more and more synonymous with hard-hitting beats, younger crowds and a voracious appetite for synthetic illegal substances — the latter of which has caused an uptick in local and national media presence.
The most recent example of these social phenomena could be seen after a Skrillex concert at Chicago’s Navy Pier on October 18th. After the show ended, the venues spokesperson announced that 16 people were taken to the hospital due to drug overdoses, a seemingly endless problem that has plagued the electronic dance scene.
In the follow up to this unfortunate turn of events, Andrew Bazos, the CEO of CrowdRX – a company which oversees medical safety for electronic music events – stated that some of these incidents might be preventable provided that an age limit is set beforehand.
Bazos suggested this idea, saying “If their parents were there, they would have gone home with their parents … it’s not fair to make the promoter take care of kids who don’t know how to behave. … They’re young, and they’re often irresponsible.”
This incident trails the two deaths caused by overdose that occurred at an EDM concert held at Merriweather Post Pavilion this past August — an event in which both victims were under 21 and an age restriction was not set.
In response to the Chicago incident, the main promoter of the concert series and EDM performer known as “Diplo” tweeted out his sympathies for those who had been hospitalized. However, he did not address the concerns that the show was “all ages,” or that those who were involved in both incidents were under the legal drinking age.
It seems as if these more recent events have finally brought up the inevitable question of whether or not these types of music events should have an age restriction in order to limit the health and safety concerns that have plagued the EDM scene for so long, and which the EDM community is increasingly desperate to answer.
Greg Adams, a history major and senior at UMBC, considers himself greatly involved within the EDM scene and is a firm supporter of age restrictions. “I was there the day they took those kids out on stretchers,” Adams said, referring to the Merriweather Post Pavilion incident.
“The environment was something that I felt extremely uncomfortable in. The music was great but I can’t recall how many times I was asked by teenagers to buy beer or liquor for them; it was insane. It just seemed as if they were going to a concert to get messed up, not enjoy the music,” he said.
Adams added that “those promoters or those venues who advertise shows as ‘All Ages’ either don’t know what atmosphere this type of music attracts or just choose to turn a blind eye to the situation in hopes that they will still turn a profit. Profit is their main goal, not safety or the experience of the customer.”
As the popularity of EDM culture swells, the expectations of change that come with any culture are anticipated to be on the horizon. Whether or not that change includes the implementation of a widespread age restriction will be something that many, depending on their age, are either looking forward to or dreading.
But one thing is certain: incidents of health and safety that affect those under a certain age are on the rise, and if the millions of members of the EDM community don’t take action to regulate these shows, other bodies such as state and federal governments certainly will.
Picture source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/40090461@N04/6232669938/in/photostream/