EDM Coalition Calls for Updated Safety and Harm Reduction Practices

A broad alliance of harm reduction organizations have announced the formation of a new coalition focused on setting improved safety standards for music events and festivals around the world. The EDM Coalition advocates for event organizers to provide increased drug education, free water, space for attendees to relax, on-site drug testing, and other elements that promote public safety. “Our coalition of organizations stand ready to help them and other event organizers make those changes for better, safer events.” says Janine Jordan of the Electronic Music Alliance.

Originally appearing here.

City officials have taken the unfortunate incidents during Ultra weekend in Miami, that have caught fire on social media, as a sign the event is too unruly and should be denied future permits to operate in the city On March 30th, 2014 CBS Miami referenced the issues in this article: http://miami.cbslocal.com/2014/03/30/miami-city-official-calls-for-end-to-ultra-music-fest/. A hearing is scheduled for April 24, 2014 with a petition going from the organizers of Ultra to keep the festival in Miami.

Electronic Music Alliance (EMA) has recently helped form an EDM specific “safer party life” coalition of several established groups who have been working within the festival and event safety sphere for years to create more intra-dialogue and action for industry safety best practices, to address alcohol and other drug use with health-centered educational messages, and provide onsite harm reduction. These groups include DanceSafe, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), Mutual Aid Response (MARS), Zendo Project, The Festival Lawyer, Amplify Project, and AFP Creative. The coalition is advocating for better peer education, on-site drug information and checking, literature on hydration and heatstroke, free water, sexual health resources, “chill out” spaces, mobile outreach teams and education about state and city Safe Harbor (“Good Samaritan”) laws which prevent individuals from being prosecuted if they or a friend is experiencing an overdose and they call 911 or ask for medical assistance.

“Our coalition has come together to advocate for the EDM community. Large festivals are a crucial way for young people to gather, socialize, and hear the music they love,” says Monica Salazar, Co-founder of the Electronic Music Alliance. “We hope the City of Miami and Ultra will develop a better working relationship to make the event safer for both local citizens and attendees.” Missi Wooldridge, Executive Director of DanceSafe adds “Large festivals like this have the power to be such positive forces in their community, especially when event safety is prioritized and drug education and harm reduction measures by an organization such as ours are included from the outset,” Coalition members point out that, The Event Safety Alliance, has compiled and recently released an event safety best practices ‘Event Safety Guide’ intended for use at live entertainment events. Joseph Pred, Founder and CEO of MARS and a delegate of the Event Safety Alliance expressed hope that “the City of Miami and event organizers could benefit from adopting these best practices, not just at Ultra, but at all temporary mass gatherings in Miami and throughout the United States.”

Some city officials blame Ultra’s problems on alcohol and other drug use by attendees. The coalition of group stresses that providing honest and accurate drug education information could change much of the culture of the event. The coalition also strongly recommends including established onsite harm reduction groups such as DanceSafe into Ultra and future events. “People at these events may be drinking or using other drugs. Especially for young people, having access to information that will help keep them safe and show them they have nothing to fear from bringing a friend to receive medical assistance will help save lives,” says Stefanie Jones of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Our coalition of organizations stand ready to help them and other event organizers make those changes for better, safer events.” says Janine Jordan Chair and Co-founder of the Electronic Music Alliance. “ We want promoters and cities to work together because we want EDM events welcome in cities across the globe”.