Electronic Music Is Not The Only Genre Associated With Excessive Drug Use

Electronic Music Is Not The Only Genre Associated With Excessive Drug Use

Why do we blame dance music, yet praise other genres?
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A few weekends ago Orlando, Florida, hosted another year of Insomniac’s Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), a two-day electronic music festival.

With attendance reaching well over 80,000 festival goers, these outdoor parties only continue to gain popularity. Along with insane light shows, trippy visual effects and heavily stacked artist line-ups, these festivals are commonly associated with heavy drug use (specifically MDMA)

I will not lie and say that this judgment is false, but I could not help but wonder why all of the bad publicity is aimed the most toward electronic festivals.

We hear about overdoses and deaths at festivals, the main culprit being “Molly” (a form of ecstasy). I have previously talked about my reasons for loving these otherworldly music festivals, but I have also acknowledged their flaws.

Excessive drug use happens often, and people can become dangerously ill or, in some cases, die from symptoms associated with abusing “Molly” and other party drugs. Along with injuries associated with the typically hot climates.

These unfortunate incidents have led to many festivals amping up their security and strict drug policies. In some cases, entire festivals have been canceled.

On day one of EDC, my boyfriend, brother and I waited outside the gates and talked to fellow attendees and activists looking for signatures advocating for the state to legalize recreational marijuana. A few feet away, a news crew, (WFTV9), was searching for the right person to interview.

Most of the crowd was dressed in any imaginable way; colorful costumes, excessive glitter and flower crowns. These outrageously dressed people are prime candidates for on-camera interviews.

The reporter was clearly scanning the crowd because I assume he had most of his segment completed, he just needed the right person who fit his idea.

I later read this reporter’s story about EDC and, just as I guessed, he interviewed someone who blatantly expressed that festivals were about “getting f***ed up, basically.”

I’m sure some people go to these events as an excuse to binge on substances, both illicit and legal, but the usual vibe is that everyone is there to listen to music and forget about real life for a weekend.

My main point being drug use is prominent at festivals, but why are we pointing fingers at one genre of music?

There are plenty of different musical varieties in festivals around the world, with genres ranging from electronic to country. Substance abuse does not affect one type of person, so the media cannot really blame music featured at events like EDC, yet praise other concerts and festivals of an opposite musical genre. We need to acknowledge the positives and negatives of these events, across all music categories.

A study was conducted comparing drug references within musical culture. Even I was surprised to find that the genre with the most references to substance use was country music.

The research mentions,

If you ask the casual music fan which genres are more likely to bring up recreational substance use, hip-hop or contemporary electronic music are likely to be the most common answers.
"But according to our research, both of these styles are relatively tame. Out of eight categories, country leads the way with a 1.6 mentions per song on average, followed closely by jazz and pop music. Hip-hop actually falls in last place at less than 1.3 mentions behind folk, challenging the assumption that all rappers are lyrical drug peddlers.”

In addition to the results of the study, there are reports of incidents at country concerts. For example, during a Keith Urban concert in 2014 at Mansfield, Massachusetts, 55 arrests, 46 medical incidents and 22 hospitalizations were reported. The Mansfield Fire Department actually had to call a “Mass Casualty” so that surrounding emergency units would send some of their units to assist with the incident.

The main issue that had caused so many arrests and medical injuries was excessive alcohol consumption. The article goes on to explain similar incidents at separate country events.

Before anyone tries to argue that alcohol “doesn’t count” as a drug because it is a legal substance, it absolutely is a drug.

So, knowing this information, how is it that electronic music gets more negative publicity associated with drug abuse than “family friendly” country?

The widely popular CMA Festival held in Nashville, Tennessee, boasted sold out attendance, free concerts, 11 stages and 1,300 country musicians. The headline does not even suggest any safety issues that may have occurred over the course of this event, but the article celebrates easier access to paying for drinks, causing a substantial boost in alcohol sales (a reported 126 percent increase).

No reports on alcohol-related incidents or injuries were mentioned. I find this information hard to believe because the odds that alcohol sales increasing by that much, with zero reported instances in which someone was treated for alcohol poisoning, dehydration or other injuries as a result of heavy drinking, are highly unlikely.

Yet, the CMA Fest is televised all over the country on a major network (ABC), and drug abuse is rarely discussed.

I have personally attended many musical events, from Dead & Company, Phish and Twiddle (all bands associated with psychedelic substance use), to a few music festivals held by different companies, such as, TomorrowWorld 2014 and 2015 and Mysteryland USA 2016.

EDC Orlando topped my expectations for performances, line-ups, productions, venue layout and organization. However, I was most impressed by the measures they had in place to keep attendees safe.

Many security and volunteer personnel roamed the grounds checking on people napping under the shade during the day, passing out free water bottles and other necessities to anyone who needed it. We experienced the “Oasis”, which was a shaded tent littered with plush pillows, bean bags and rugs. The perfect place to recharge your body and take a break from the sun and constant movement.

A few people were visibly not feeling well, but the volunteers (called “Ground Control”) were attentive by being friendly and non-judgemental, offering water or just a calming conversation if the person was feeling overwhelmed and panicking due to using some kind of substance. Medical units were called when they needed to be and not one person was punished for their drug abuse.

I could tell that the main goal of festival workers was ensuring the safety of their attendees.

Not only did EDC staff put festival goers’ health and safety as the top priority, they are also genuinely grateful for their fans and followers. EDC refers to attendees as “headliners”, acknowledging that without the fans, these festivals would have never reached the level of success we see each year.

If you look at EDC’s website, they have a section highlighting the “Awesome People” they met each day of EDC Orlando. Reading answers from these people to questions about being part of the dance music community, you get to see a range of ages and occupations who mention the best reasons why they love dance music and festivals.

And, not one attendee expressed “getting f***ed up” as the main reason for attending electronic events.

Next time a news channel wants to point out the deviant, illegal behavior of festival goers, maybe they should point out the real reasons why people love these events, instead of finding the portion of people who use electronic festivals as an excuse to indulge in excessive drug use.

And, maybe these publications need to place the blame on the right culprits, across all music genres and concerts.
Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia

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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

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It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

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Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

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I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

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3. Time

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4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

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These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

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We Need A Sugar Tax Both To Bring Public Awareness To Its Health Risks And To Limit Its Use

It would help prevent a plethora of health problems and would take away the dominating influence from big corporations.

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What if I told you that researchers have discovered a new drug? This drug is highly addictive and even deadly, not only has it lead to death but to so many diseases. However, this white powder isn't off limits to people, and no one gets put in jail if they are caught with it. In fact, this stuff is everywhere and in everything. Our government encourages us to consume it and even gives it to kids.

What's this drug called? Sugar.

People's sugar consumption has been on the rise, despite the many proven health problems it can cause. A leading cause of the rise in sugar consumption are sugary sweetened beverages. A tax on sugary sweetened beverages would be a great benefit to our society, as it would help prevent a plethora of health problems and would take away the dominating influence of big corporations.

The consumption of sugar leads to a massive rise in health problems such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. There are two types of sugars in our daily diets. The first are naturally occurring sugars, that come from fruits and milk. If someone ever tells you that we need sugars in our diet, this is the sugar they are referring to. The other kind is added sugars, this is the sugar we are told to avoid, coming from our soda, candy, juices, and the list goes on. Added sugars are the sugars that lead to all kinds of diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and even cancer.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to about 25 grams per day for women and 37.5 grams per day for men. If you're thinking to yourself that this seems doable, think again. One can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar in it alone, and a Minute Maid Lemonade has 45 grams of sugar. Think about it, these drinks are what we use to wash down our food, and then think about what you're eating there is most likely added sugar in that too. It's so easy to eat so much more sugar than our body needs if we aren't careful.

Big corporations like Coca-Cola and Pepsi flourish in our society today. They offer endorsements to Olympians and athletes and artists, and this is something that always makes me think twice. There is no way a top performing athlete like Olympian figure skater Michelle Kwan, includes the sugar-packed Coca-Cola in her diet. These companies will do anything to sell a few more cans of their soda, and frankly, it's not hard for them to do so with all the sugar in their drinks, and we already know how addictive sugar can be. Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine report 96 national health organizations accepted money from Coca-Cola, PepsiCo or both companies"?

Some of these organizations include the American Diabetes Association, the National Institutes of Health, the American Red Cross, and many more. Now how does that make sense? These organizations are the ones we trust and go to in order to learn more information, and the latest updates when it comes to our health and nutrition. But now they are getting paid off to support the very drinks that they should be warning people against.

People think that this sugar tax would do nothing to face the monstrous problem that is obesity. They think the tax cannot possibly solve the problem, as sugar is in so much of the foods and pastries we eat, and that a sedentary lifestyle is also a major factor in causing obesity. While these facts are all true, people don't understand how a sugar tax would be the first step in the right direction. Sugary beverages are the first target in a very large problem, because of their empty nutritional value and their rapid increase in consumption.

The thing that most people don't realize is that this is not a matter of people making poor eating choices, it's a problem of having something so bad for us so readily available. In the 1960s, nearly 1 out of every 2 adults smoked, but after tobacco taxation the number has dramatically dropped to less than 1 in 5 today. A sugar tax would bring about the same type of awareness to a bad habit and has the potential to have the same effects the tobacco tax did.

Cover Image Credit:

Pexels

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