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?

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 Drank Lemon Water For A Week And Here's What Happened

It has already changed my life.


There are so many health crazes out there now, it's hard to tell what actually works and what doesn't; or more importantly what is healthy and what is making your body worse. I read about simply drinking lemon water and I figured that didn't sound gross or bad for me so I figured I would give it a try. I've been drinking it consistently for a week and a half and I already notice some results.

I've never been a fan of lemon in my water, I always refuse it at restaurants. You definitely have to find your sweet spot in lemon to water ratio, in what tastes good to you. I personally cut the lemon into quarters and use on quarter per day. I put the lemon quarter in the bottle and then continuously fill with water throughout the day. I still get the yummy lemon flavor all day because I do not squeeze the lemon. It took about a bottle or two to get used to the lemon flavor, and now I just crave it.

Lemon water is supposed to speed up your metabolism. Obviously, a week is not long enough to tell if this is fact or fiction but I have noticed a change in appetite. I feel like I do not get hungry as often as I did before. I saw this effect within 24-48 hours of starting the experiment. This seems opposite to a fast metabolism but we'll see.

I definitely feel more hydrated with lemon water. I drink a lot of water anyways, about 80 oz a day but for some reason with the lemon, it makes me feel better. I don't feel as sluggish, I'm not getting hot as easily, and my skin feels amazing. I am slightly skeptical though because the lemon almost makes my tongue dry requiring me to drink more water, so I have upped my intake by about 20oz. I'm unsure if the hydration is due to the extra water, the lemon, or both!

My face is clearing up and feels so much softer too, in only a week! I have not gotten a new pimple since I have started my lemon water kick, may be coincidence but I'm not going to argue with it.

I also feel skinnier as I feel like I'm not holding as much water weight. I only exercise lightly, for the most part, walking around a mile or two a day so we can eliminate exercise factor to the slender feeling.

I have a messy stomach. Everything upsets it, and even though lemons are very acidic, they have not affected me in a negative way at all. It almost seems like the lemon water is helping me digest the difficult foods that my stomach doesn't like. I'm nowhere near a doctor so don't trust my word but it seems to be working for me.

From the effects I've felt so far, it also seems like lemon water may be a great hangover cure! I haven't tried it but I don't see why it wouldn't work. I can't say a negative thing about drinking lemon water so far expect you have to buy the lemons! If you try this for yourself though just make sure you are using an enamel saving mouthwash or toothpaste since lemons aren't so great for your teeth.

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I Don't Smoke Weed Because I've Learned My Lesson, I Don't Need To Repeat It

The dumbest decision of my life formed my lifelong opinion on weed.


Let's be realistic here, most of you guys have tried it, and if you haven't, you most likely will come across it at some point in your life. Yes, I'm talking about weed. Dope. Kush. Marijuana. Mary Jane. Whatever you call it, you know what I'm referring to. It's a pretty crazy thing, right? A college student who doesn't like getting high? Who would've thought?

There's a reason why I can't smoke weed, and why every time I do smoke weed, I turn into a complete anxious mess and end up calling my parents asking to be taken to the hospital.

I'm not exactly sure why I'm using this platform to tell a bunch of strangers why I don't smoke weed, and I know I'm definitely just asking to get shit on by the majority of my friends who already think I'm a tweak. I also know that I'm about to get hardcore judged by some of you for the ill-advised decision I made my sophomore year of high school. But trust me, there's no need for that because I've learned my lesson. It truly is the one day of my life that I wish I could do over, because here I am, nearly 4 years later, still coming to terms with the consequences of my sixteen-year-old stupidity.

It was the day I got my driver's license, and I was pumped to finally be able to drive around without my dad nagging at me from the passenger seat. So, as any newly-licensed juvenile would, I picked up my friend for a joyride.

It started off as a pretty normal day. We drove to the city, blasting music obnoxiously with the windows down, screaming at pedestrians, completely immersed in the freedom we were handed.

We were both high off of the idea that we were on our own. Driving around on that sunny day in December, we felt invincible with our newfound independence. Nothing could have ruined our mood during that drive, not even rush hour traffic.

However, that feeling quickly came crashing down.

After returning home from our adventure, we established that we didn't want our fun to end, so naturally, we decided to get high. As inexperienced sophomores, we didn't exactly have the equipment to do so, so we reverted to our next best option: sitting in my drawer was an edible that I had bought months prior from God knows where. It was a pot brownie concealed from my parents with crinkled tinfoil tucked away in my desk. I still have no clue why I had an edible on hand. I'm almost positive I didn't even know what weed was at the time.

My friend and I contemplated back and forth over whether or not we should take the edible. We didn't know much about weed brownies, or weed in general, but we figured that if we each had half, we would be feeling goooood in no time.

We split the edible in half and each took a piece. Of course, we thought it started working right away. My friend and I were elated and giddy over having our first experience taking an edible. After some time, we thought we were high (we weren't) and decided to go for another drive.

It was dark, and we were about fifteen minutes away from my house when I attempted to do a 3-point turn and continue on with our joyride. It was then that my mind went completely blank, and I forgot how to drive. My vision started to blur, my hands were tingling, and I had absolutely no clue what was going on. I couldn't remember how to use the gearshift, and that was the moment I started to freak out.

I got myself together for a second and told my friend that we had to go home. I started driving in my panicked state until my friend notified me that I had driven through a stop sign without even noticing. I parked my car on the side of the road and took some deep breaths. I thought I was going absolutely crazy. I then got back into the car and turned to my friend and told her she needed to drive me home, but of course, she didn't know how to drive yet. Classic.

It didn't occur to me that I was high out of my mind from the edible I had taken earlier. As the hypochondriac I was (and still am), I went straight to the conclusion that I was having some sort of mental episode which was causing my brain to deteriorate. My heart was pounding out of my chest at a rate that I can only attribute to what a heart attack must feel like, and I was convinced that something was physically wrong with me. Then for the last time, I attempted to drive again, but with little success as I realized I had no clue how to get back to my house. I was stoned.

We pulled into a church parking lot and I stopped the car. I slumped down into my seat and focused on my erratic heartbeat as I turned to my friend and asked her to call an ambulance for me. This by far was the scariest moment of my life, as I thought I was seconds away from death. I felt completely disconnected from my own body and had no clue as to what the hell was going on.

Looking back, my reaction was pretty ridiculous knowing that I was just high off my ass. However, as a young amateur, it was the most terrifying point in my life.

My friend didn't understand what was going on, but she didn't want to call anyone because she was scared of us getting in trouble. In my irrational state, all I wanted to do was talk to my mom, so against my friend's better judgment, I called my parents who were at a movie fairly close to where we were.

I was completely frantic and between sobs as I explained to my mom I was having a heart attack and that she needed to get me to a hospital. Of course, my mom being in a sober state of mind, stayed calm and tried to assess the situation. Here's how the phone call played out:

Me: "Mom you need to come and get me I'm dying. I'm having a heart attack and I don't know what's going on."

My mom (equally as frantic): "Maya you are having a panic attack -- you are fine."

Me: "You have no idea what's going on right now so how would you know?"

My mom: "Well, unless you took something it sounds like you are having a panic attack"

Me: "Mom... I need to tell you something. I took an edible, like with weed in it."

My mom: "Darn it, Maya."

My parents quickly came to pick up their dumbass daughter and equally guilty friend. On the incredibly awkward car ride back to my house, my dad explained to me that I wasn't, in fact dying, but that I was having a panic attack from the edible I had taken. I tried to reason with him and explain that my heart was giving out, but then he explained the symptoms of a panic attack and that's when I started to understand. The rest of that night consisted of me sitting on the couch hyperventilating and unable to swallow, as my parents stood by laughing at me while still holding their disapproving glares.

I'm sure you can probably guess what happened next: after a good night sleep, I was lectured and scolded for hours the next day, and of course, I suffered the consequences of being grounded just in time for New Years. Oh, and I also lost my driving privileges for quite some time. But that was a given.

For those of you who have never experienced the negative effects of marijuana, I wouldn't expect you to understand. You probably think I'm dramatic and that I just "can't hang." Which is true, I really can't hang, but now at least you know the reason why.

I would give anything to take back the stupid decision I made when I was sixteen because the choices I made that night signed me up for a lifelong, binding contract with generalized anxiety and panic disorder. However, that's a story for another time.

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