Photo: Courtesy Ryan Maas, Ever After Fest 2016 Kitchener, Ontario.
Toronto has become a global centre for electronic dance music (EDM) over the last couple of years. Every weekend brings another festival or concert where the crowd is decked out in neon and crazy costumes and the air is a cloud of confetti and glitter.
The EDM scene is all about being reckless and getting wrecked, which means drugs such as ecstasy and MDMA are being used carelessly. This has led people to wonder; why does EDM and drugs go hand and hand together?
Each summer Toronto holds two major EDM festivals: Digital Dreams and VELD. The two events bring over 80,000 ravers to the city each year to see their favourite world class DJs, but the usage of drugs and alcohol at these events have led to over a dozen deaths over the years.
In 2015, two young adults died, and 22 people were hospitalized due to drug related causes at VELD, which is annually organized by Toronto’s leading lifestyle and entertainment company, Ink Entertainment.
“Public safety and security have always been the number one priorities of the Veld Music Festival, and we will continue to make sure they remain that way and with the highest standard of support,” Ink Entertainment said when they released a statement following the two deaths.
Ryan Maas has been a fan of EDM music since 2013, and the first rave he ever attended was VELD in 2015, the same festival the two Toronto natives died from drug overdoses at. He was completely amazed what an actual rave was like.
“My first thought was wow, I never experienced anything like this before,” he said.
Even though drugs are passed around at raves Maas said that he has never tried any, but believes that everyone is different when it comes to the two being associated together.
“Some people are against drugs, and some people are totally for them. It is what you as an individual feels comfortable doing. Drugs can effect how your experience goes for a rave. It could be good or bad,” he said.
Rachel Hall, a faithful raver since 2012 has seen it all. From people passing out in front of her, to someone crowd surfing naked during a Dillon Francis set. She believes that people do drugs at raves to help enhance the experience.
“I believe most people do drugs at raves because it sparks their experience and makes it one that they will never forget.”
Even though the drug problem is still continuing inside raves, hearing the stories of those who have overdosed has helped people stay away from them.
“One time a girl basically overdosed on me. She fell hit her head off my back, and I saw her eyes roll to the back of her head, that’s when I knew I would never do anything like that.” Maas said.