L.A.-based producer/DJ Kaskade has released a statement in response to a recent L.A. Times article about Hard's decision not to hold its annual Day of the Dead electronic music festival, accusing the paper of “salacious” coverage of recent drug-related deaths at raves and EDM events nationwide.
The article, headlined “After a summer of deaths, popular Halloween rave won't be held,” suggests that despite Hard's claims that they discontinued Day of the Dead due to logistical issues, the real reason might be the five deaths that have occurred at Hard's other major regional event, Hard Summer, over the past two years, and the resulting reluctance of large venues to host EDM festivals.
“Organizers abruptly announced that the event would not be staged this year,” the Times article read, immediately adding, “The move comes seven weeks after three young adults died after attending the Hard Summer music festival in San Bernardino County and growing scrutiny of the safety of such events.” The article goes on to note that since 2006, there have been at least 25 drug-related deaths nationwide associated with raves.
In his statement, Kaskade contrasts this statistic (citing an earlier L.A. Times article, from before this year's Hard Summer deaths, that put the number at 21) with the number of drunk driving fatalities, which he says is 27 per day (a 2014 report by the Centers for Disease Control put the number at 28 per day). “I'm happy to tackle substance abuse,” he writes. “I'm happy to use my influence to encourage people to be responsible, to stay alive. But this is a world-wide problem, something that is not even close to being unique to dance music.”
You can read Kaskade's statement in full below.
I'm not a numbers guy. I live for music, I might even choose to die by music, were that possible. But sometimes numbers paint a picture so let's get smart for one second.
Today an article surfaced in the LA Times, AGAIN, saying the sky is falling because of raves. Its headline screams a salacious “After a summer of deaths, popular Halloween rave won't be held”.
Really. A summer of deaths. Really.
In a recent previous article, LA Times states, “There have now been at least 21 confirmed drug-related deaths among people who went to raves nationwide by Los Angeles-area companies since 2006.” As a lover of dance music, a friend, a brother, a son, a husband, and a father, even ONE death strikes me down.
But let's not pretend this is an isolated problem, something unique to dance music culture. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every day in America 27 (TWENTY-SEVEN!) people die as a result of drunk driving crashes.
That's more than one person, per hour, every single day.
So, in the past 10 years there have been 21 substance-related deaths at dance events. And EVERY DAY there are 27 substance-related deaths, which are somehow less news and attention worthy. I suppose once you reach a certain point, the news doesn't notice anymore.
I'm happy to tackle substance abuse. I'm happy to use my influence to encourage people to be responsible, to stay alive. But this is a world-wide problem, something that is not even close to being unique to dance music. Part of the problem is people trying to simple-size it. Raves = drugs. So close them down.
Not going to work, and we all know it. Time to devote your column inches to some real stories. The war on drugs is a farce. There are better answers than regurgitating the same alarmist solutions that have never worked, which will NEVER work. Try this on: education, harm reduction and legalization.
Start there. And back to the music for me.