Electric Zoo and the state of music festivals

I am not telling you not to do drugs at music festivals. I know it will happen, and it will always happen for as long as drugs and music festivals simultaneously exist on this planet.

Why I am telling you is that for the sake of your own health, for the sake of your fellow concertgoers and for the sake of the legitimacy of music festivals as a whole, be smart about it.

Over Labor Day weekend, New York’s Electric Zoo EDM (Electronic Dance Music) festival shut down a day early due to the deaths of two attendees who overdosed on MDMA.

The festival was in its fifth year and included some of the biggest names in EDM with Tiesto, Bassnectar, Armin Van Burren, David Guetta and many more headlining. The New York City Police and Electric Zoo agreed that cancelling the festival was the most fitting move to ensure no more deaths occurred at the festival and that the lives lost would be respected.

Now, when one searches EDM on Google, one of the first search results that appears is the news of the cancellation, which forever stains the name of EDM as a genre and a culture.

As Music Midtown and EDM mega-festival Tomorrowworld descend on Atlanta, it is important to remember why music festivals even occur in the first place. They exist as a way to bring the cathartic experience of live music to thousands of people at a time so that an otherwise disparate group can unite in a singular passion.

Live music exists as a shared experience which has the power to bring together people who might never speak or even make passing eye contact with each other in the real world. Live music transcends the confines of culture, the rigidity of social norms and the expectations demanded by daily life.

Before you plot out the various ways in which you can free yourself of mental inhibitions, take time to remember why you care about music in the first place. Chances are you will find it does not require the aid of any mind-alerting substances, legal or illegal, but only the mere willingness to be consumed by the roar of the audience and the sublime vibrations of your favorite songs.

Follow him @PaulDeMerritt