Electronic Music Alliance Advises Los Angeles County Electronic Music Task Force and Announces Minimum Industry Standards

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EMA to give presentation on November 5th 2015 to propose harm reduction strategies for electronic music festivals

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”For everything in life, education is key. We are advising stakeholders on how to make education both more integral and more effective." - Janine Jordan, EMA Executive Director and head of Task Force Electronic Music Community Subcommittee

In early August 2015, L.A. County Board of Supervisors called for a moratorium on electronic music events to be held on county land and in county-owned venues. Additionally, the L.A. County Electronic Music Task Force was created–and has been meeting since September 2015–to assess if such events should be banned or if steps can be taken to improve event safety. On November 5th, Janine Jordan, the Electronic Music Alliance (EMA) Executive Director and head of the Electronic Music Community Subcommittee for the L.A. County Electronic Music Task Force, will lead a presentation outlining harm reduction strategies that could make the moratorium unnecessary. Jordan’s subcommittee is comprised of event attendees, experts, and on-the-ground service providers, who have identified best practices in ensuring attendee safety. These practices are based on decades of research and harm reduction program evaluations at electronic music events.

Harm reduction is a nonjudgmental, health promotion approach to mitigating negative consequences of risky behaviors. The harm reduction strategies for drug use have the same goals as traditional abstinence only, zero tolerance policies - preventing negative drug-related reactions, drug overdoses, or drug-related deaths. However, harm reduction strategies acknowledge the limitations and ineffectiveness of the zero tolerance and abstinence-only approaches and anticipates, that despite best efforts, individuals will continue to use drugs.

Under the direction of the EMA, which has been working to create a minimum set of recommendations for the betterment of electronic music festivals, the Electronic Music Community Subcommittee will recommend services that reduce harmful experiences at these events, including medical and psychological emergencies. The subcommittee will advise the following: (1) that event attendees and staff receive health and safety education on: (a) possible substance use, (b) the risks of dehydration, (c) potential for heatstroke; and (d) the importance of eardrum protection; (2) that free and accessible water is provided; (3) that sufficient chill/cool down and shaded areas are available; (4) that medical and security tents are clearly marked; (5) that health and safety information is distributed at the event and listed on event websites and apps; and (6) that drug checking with an early warning system are implemented.

Jordan explains, “Our community and events have been under intense scrutiny.... Media hype should not dictate whether these events should be able to continue... Large-scale electronic music festivals are now mainstream... We should not be discriminated against due to the cadence of our content.” EMA acknowledges that electronic music events can be more energetic, and dancing can increase the risk of heat and exertion-related maladies, such as dehydration and heatstroke. But Jordan says, ”For everything in life, education is key. We are advising stakeholders on how to make education both more integral and more effective." EMA’s proposals include education outreach to inform event participants about their susceptibility to heatstroke, possible complications with existing medications they are taking, especially in conjunction with the consumption of alcohol, caffeine or other substances before, during, and after the events.”

When asked about drugs Jordan says “Our community is often blamed for drug use, and inflated fears over MDMA run rampant in the press. Drug use is not special to our community; it is prevalent in society as a whole.” Jordan points out that in the 2014 DEA National Drug Threat Assessment Survey, a study on the use of illegal substances, MDMA is not even listed as a major threat. The number one threat listed by the DEA in that report was for controlled prescription drugs. More than double the population uses prescription psychotherapeutics as opposed to MDMA. Jordan points to the findings that the study starts at 8th grade and suggests that, rather than focusing on EDM events, perhaps parents and school officials need to be further encouraged to talk about drug use with children in a more honest, fact-based manner. Jordan suggests the guide provided by the Drug Policy Alliance for non-judgmental fact-based information. Most importantly, Jordan argues that “producers who create events for eighteen year old adults should not be taking the blame for drug use at their events.”

Janine Jordan is an active member of the Amend the Rave Act Coalition, a coalition advocating that public policy should not endanger public safety and that safe settings will save lives.

To find out more about the presentation in November and participating presenters, please contact EMA.

About Electronic Music Alliance (EMA):
Electronic Music Alliance (EMA) is 501(c)(3) comprised of a network of artists, fans, and organization leaders of both the electronic music and nonprofit industries. EMA provides a unified voice for our community, advocating for high standards in the categories of health/safety/wellness, environmental, and charity/social engagement. EMA encourages its members to be the Sound of Change. http://www.ema-global.org

About Amend the Rave Act:
Amend the Rave Act is a coalition of individual members from Drug Policy Alliance, DanceSafe, Zendo Project, MAPS, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Amplify Project, and Electronic Music Alliance advocating that public policy should not endanger public safety and safe settings saves lives. http://www.amendtheraveact.org

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