Drug-related deaths spike along with casualties of overheating, dehydration and accidental self-immolation -- is ecstasy to blame or is it just the cost of doing EDM business?
On July 18, a student was found dead of undetermined causes at Pemberton Music Festival in British Columbia. In June, two Glastonbury festivalgoers died, a 67-year-old of natural causes and another from a suspected reaction to the anesthetic ketamine. One more succumbed at Las Vegas’ Electric Daisy Carnival from drug-related causes, and reportedly six at Future Music Festival Asia. Perhaps the oddest of all, a man self-immolated at Utah’s Burning Man equivalent, Element 11. So far, a total of 15 people have died at music festivals around the world. What gives? And is EDM, which seems to see disproportionate numbers of deaths and serious injuries at its rave-like events, becoming the scapegoat genre?
There is no question that the number of deaths attributable to controlled substances is on the rise, but dance music is hardly the only hub for excessive partying. Still, it’s worth noting that until 2013, when at least seven festival attendees died of drug-related causes, the majority of news-making festival fatalities were accidental: nine people were crushed to death during Pearl Jam’s set at Denmark’s Roskilde Festival in 2000, 11 trampled at Morocco’s Mawazine Festival nine years later, and 15 at 2010’s Love Parade in Germany (not to mention the hit-and-run tragedy at this year’s South by Southwest in Austin when a driver barreled into a crowd, killing four).