As beats pounded through the systems of 16,000 people at the Sydney Olympic Park on the 7th of February, tragedy struck at A State of Trance 700 as one teen was pronounced dead, another in critical condition and four others hospitalized a result of drug abuse. Drug deaths are becoming a bigger threat to the dance music industry as yet again reckless and quite possibly idiotic attendees attempting to gain a synthetic high make headlines around the world.
These drug related deaths and hospitalizations have drawn a dark cloud over dance music festivals around the region and as such after the death of a few attendees at last year’s ASOT in Kuala Lumpur, local authorities almost instantly banned these festivals from coming back to Malaysian shores.
The deaths are a stark reminder of how easy it is for festival attendees to get carried away and foolishly give in to the apparent ‘hype’ of drug and dance music. It is clear that even though festival goers and not the festivals itself are the problem, the stigma that drug use, dance music and death go hand in hand still stands - as people continue to behave recklessly as they drag the industry into more controversy.
Armin van Buuren who headlined the ASOT festival in Sydney alongside Aly & Fila, Marlo and other international DJ’s have urged their fans to refrain from drug abuse. Buuren has stated that the stamp of drug misuse on the industry is unfair and attributes it to attendees, who carelessly use drugs, and ruin the festival for everyone else. With the backing of its DJ’s festival organizers and promoters are seeking new and more effective ways to provide a safe and responsible festival environment for its attendees.
Even with all the security and safety measures festival organizers take, no one can fully prevent all forms of drugs from entering the festival grounds and neither can promoters or security do anything about festival goers who consume these illicit drugs pre-event. Individuals who seek to gamble their lives by consuming drugs need to be reminded of its fatal effects on themselves as well as the impact it has on the dance music industry.
We at DJ Mag Malaysia urge the dance music community to look out for each other at events and festivals, to ensure that drug use and abuse is no longer associated with the high that bass lines, synths and the thumping beats naturally provided.
By Lydia Lohshini