There are three major characteristics of rave culture: electronic music, heavy dancing and drugs. This weekend, these three things came together to cause the biggest annual rave festival to be shut down on its last day as two deaths occurred from suspected overdoses of the party-drug Molly, a new powder form of MDMA, also known as Ecstasy.
As the New York Daily News reports,
Four other concertgoers were treated for apparent overdoses in intensive care units at local hospitals and 31 people were arrested on drug-related charges during the first two days of the event.
While tickets are being refunded for the 3rd day of the festival, only single tickets are eligible for the full ticket refund. Concertgoers with three-day passes will have one-third of their ticket prices refunded, but many are upset at the costly New York hotel prices they won’t be able to recoup.
Event organizers released a statement on Sunday, saying:
“The founders of Electric Zoo send our deepest condolences to the families of the two people who passed away this weekend. Because there is nothing more important to us than our patrons, we have decided in consultation with the New York City Parks Department that there will be no show today.”
New dangers emerge in rave culture
As rave culture continues to grow with the advent of Dubstep music and new electronic devices become available to musicians, so too does the emergence of new designer drugs, specifically Molly which has become rather danger as it is known to be often mixed with other powdered substances such as cocaine and heroin, or “cut” with replacement chemical powders by drug dealers looking to make a larger profit from their sales.
The increase of emergency room visits due to MDMA use is a more alarming statistic to look at. In 1995, U.S. emergency-room visits were around 421 for the year, rose to 5,542 in 2001 and, according to DEA statistics, were at a whopping 22,816 in 2009. The party drug is known to cause two danger side-effects of exhaustion and dehydration, which is why many people who plan on taking it do a little preparation beforehand.
The danger in rave culture is the prevalence and wide distribution of Molly and other drugs like it to young people without enough caution towards designer drugs, often under the guise of the popular YOLO mentality (You Only Live Once). Festivals such as Electric Zoo rarely shut down completely due to a death, but in this instance there were some apparent serious causes for concern, as one concertgoer told the Daily News,
“I was shocked that nobody searched [my] CamelBak hydration bag like at other concerts. Not once was I asked to open it, and not once was I patted down. The security and staff along the entrance route did nothing to prevent drugs from being brought in.”
In a city so concerned about security such as NYC, this incident is sure to raise concern over tightening security at electronic music festivals, and festivals in general, which is precisely the opposite of what raves started out as back in the late 80s. With electronic music reaching new peaks in the mainstream music world, could this be the beginning of the end of this subculture?