EDM Coalition Calls for Updated Safety Practices and Harm Reduction Model as Solution to Ultra Music Festival’s TroublesMissi Wooldridge
The 2014 Ultra Music Festival has Miami city officials calling for an end to Ultra in their town. Newly-formed EDM coalition wants the promoters and the city to work together to keep Ultra in Miami.
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. 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, 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”.
Electronic Music Alliance / http://www.ema-global.org
A scene advocacy, social empowerment, and environmental organization for the edm community. EMA believes Partygoers, the promoters and the host city all have a civic and social responsibility to work together in creating safe and fun environments. EMA Partygoers can now sign the Responsible Party Pledge ema-global.org/register
Janine Jordan (858) 245-7679
DanceSafe / http://www.dancesafe.org
With over 15 years in harm reduction experience, DanceSafe promotes health and safety to the electronic music community. DanceSafe’s model is in alignment with best practice standards that have been studied and evaluated in the Nightlife Empowerment and Wellness Implementation Project (NEWIP/New-Net); funded by the European Union’s Health Programme.
Missi Wooldridge (720) 885-1556
Drug Policy Alliance / http://www.drugpolicy.org
The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the nation’s leading organization promoting drug policies that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.
Stefanie Jones (323) 377-8902
Mutual Aid Response Services (MARS) / http://www.mars911.info
MARS has provided risk management consulting and emergency medical operations to the special event industry for the past 14 years
Multidisciplinary Association for the Study of Psychedelics (MAPS) via Zendo Project / http://www.zendoproject.org
The Zendo Project is an onsite harm reduction service providing compassionate care for individuals having difficult psychedelic experiences.