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Dance, but make sure someone’s watching: Weekend deaths prompt Board of Supervisors to consider EDM party ban

Diplo and Skrillex of Jack U perform during Hard Summer Music Festival at Fairplex on August 2, 2015 in Pomona, California.
Diplo and Skrillex of Jack U perform during Hard Summer Music Festival at Fairplex on August 2, 2015 in Pomona, California.
Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images

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The discussion over whether to ban raves on Los Angeles County property has reignited after two women died this past weekend at the Hard Summer music festival at the L.A. County Fairgrounds in Pomona.

County Supervisor Hilda Solis called for the temporary ban on Monday and the Board of Supervisors will consider moving to ban raves during their meeting today. She wants to prohibit the events until a full investigation into the raves can be done to see if enough is being done to make sure patrons are safe. The two women, 18 and 19 years old, were found unresponsive on Saturday at the Fairplex. Toxicology reports have yet to come back, but the suspected cause of death is drug overdose.

Drugs like MDMA, known as ecstasy or molly, are prevalent at EDM parties and raves, and the environment of big dance parties with pounding beats and pulsating lights enhance the feelings of affection and euphoria. MDMA also raises the body temperature, and users who don’t monitor themselves can dehydrate, which can lead to soaring body temperatures and organ failure.

Opponents of the ban say the solution isn’t prohibition, but education. There are safety and advocacy groups that send members to dance parties and raves to provide support, distribute pill tests, and water, and provide calm, open spaces for patrons to come back to reality.

Should raves be banned on county property? What do you think is the solution to preventing deaths at dance parties and raves? Should party and festival organizers be taking more safety precautions or is it the responsibility of party-goers to police themselves?


Dr. Brian Johnston, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at White Memorial Medical Center in East L.A.

Amy Morrill a.k.a. Amy Raves, Los Angeles-based rave advocate and president of Safer Raving by Amy Raves, and advocacy group that aims to spread awareness and educate about safe raving