The culture associated with electronic dance music or EDM has evolved over the years and has especially undergone a dramatic change in the past few years. Along with the popularity of dubstep came an entirely new demographic of EDM fans.
The culture of EDM has rapidly evolved into a drug culture that has infected the roots of the music's community. Festivals like the Electric Zoo, Coachella and Bonnaroo have seen an increase in the number of drug users and the tragic consequences of overdose.
The final day of the Electric Zoo was canceled a few years ago after two attendees died after ingesting an excessive amount of ecstasy. Four people were hospitalized, a 16 year-old was sexually assaulted and 31 people were arrested for drug possession and disorderly conduct.
The Evolution of Ecstasy and EDM
The development of dance music such as house and techno began in the 70s and 80s by underground artists in Chicago. Around the same time, MDMA or ecstasy was moving from labs into nightclubs and eventually became a part of rave culture.
The subculture of EDM seems to have evolved along with ecstasy but many who are part of the community still believe that the rave scene is really all about the music. The EDM culture has a philosophy of PLUR which stands for Peace, Love, Unity and Respect.
Fans of the music tend to engage in fantasy, dressing in bright neon colors and imaginative costumes. These aspects of the culture have been around since the 80s but the new EDM scene has taken things to an extreme.
Drug use has escalated and ravers are engaging in riskier behavior. Recently, recreational drug use in the new EDM scene has led to tragic consequences and an increase in overdose deaths and sexual molestations.
The New Electronic Scene
The dance music scene once had more of a sense of camaraderie and fun which has turned to a higher focus on illicit drug use. Festival goers find themselves in increasingly dangerous situations as the prevalence and availability of drugs continues to rise.
In many scenes, EDM and ecstasy have become inextricably linked as ravers need the drug to enhance their experience on the dance floor. Users taking ecstasy experience a sense of euphoria which helps them to enjoy the lights, music and dancing that takes place at a rave or a festival.
Ecstasy provides ravers with a highly pleasurable experience and also fosters feelings of empathy and closeness which can enhance the fun that they have on the dance floor. There are plenty of dangers associated with the drug, one of the worst being overdose which has become more of an issue at EDM festivals.
Ecstasy users can also die from severe dehydration because they often dance for hours with endless energy while perspiring heavily. People can also experience side effects such as confusion, depression, anxiety and even paranoia or psychotic episodes when they take ecstasy. A person's reaction to the drug can be unpredictable which makes it very risky when dancers are provided with a dose by friends.
Although ecstasy has always been an element in the electronic dance music scene, the risks of the drug have also become more prevalent. Because drugs are so easy to obtain at these shows, people often make the mistake of taking too much or failing to stay hydrated which can both have fatal consequences.
As ecstasy becomes more available at EDM shows, concert goers are seeing more of the risks associated with the use of this drug. While plenty of fans simply are there for the music, the new scene seems to center around ecstasy in spite of its many dangers.