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The DJ’s Responsibility In Drug Education

Last week, URB released a PSA with a group of famous DJs (including Kaskade, Z-Trip and more) speaking out about responsible drug education. The release comes after a number of deaths this summer including two people at Electric Zoo, which resulted in the third and final day being cancelled entirely. This brings up an important question for our audience – what are DJs’ responsibilities when it comes to drugs and setting a good example for our crowds?



First, let’s not beat around the bush and avoid the purple elephant pill in the corner. Much of DJing and electronic music culture has been built on some form of drug use. It’s so dramatic that you often see waves of musical styles following the drug du jour for that generation. Trance music finds a common friend in the psychedelic persuasions while electro and other more aggressive forms of house seem to be well suited to fast-paced drug tendencies.

Before you say it in the comments, let’s call out the other elephant in the video. One of the featured performers is infamous for his spraying of champagne, SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS! attitude, and apparent promotion of alcohol abuse. There is no question that many more people die from alcohol-related causes every year than MDMA, and coming out about one drug while promoting another is somewhat contradictory.

The traditional message, “don’t use drugs that will harm you!” will largely fall on deaf ears. Instead the PSA above seems to be advocating (appropriately) smart drug education that empowers dancers to make intelligent decisions on their own.

The reason (selfish or not) is simple:

If kids keep dying at raves there will be another crackdown, and electronic music scene in general will suffer greatly.  It’s already happening, a major festival was completely cancelled due to concerns following the Electric Zoo incident last week and investors are wondering how this will affect the growth of the SFX EDM empire.  Setting aside business speculators that showed up late to the party, it’s in our best interests to keep the fans safe, educated, and coming back for many years in the future.



Should it be the responsibility of parents, friends, promoters, or organizations like DanceSafe to get the word out and keep our scene healthy for years to some? Everyone listed, but it might also be the responsibility of performers that stand on stage every night. It’s us, the DJs and producers, that many young people look up to most of all and when we set an example, (be it positive or not) they listen.

We have two options here, folks:

1) Plunder the highlands for as long as there is oil left and move onto something else when the gold runs out.
2) Practice restraint and invest in keeping the electronic music scene healthy for years to come.

As DJs, we have the greatest reach and the most direct exposure to the those that are at risk. The challenge of course is in helping without preaching.



Most DJs don’t want to come across as preachy, and appropriately so. Who are we to tell others how to conduct their business? Especially since many artists (including myself) have used drugs in the past. Here are some positive and constructive ways in which anyone can make a difference without getting holier-than-thou.

  • Avoid taking an absolute stance (this is bad, that is bad, don’t do this, don’t do that)
  • Always err on the side of educating people about the consequences of their actions
  • Always be honest and forthright about your own experiences and personal decisions
  • Support organizations like Dance Safe that provide smart education in a realistic format
  • Require that promoters and festival organizers have safety measures in place to protect their attendees- adding security won’t stop drugs from coming in, but adding medics will stop kids from dying
  • Make sure promoters have free and easy access to water, and are not gouging festival go-ers for the essentials.
  • Support and give credit to other DJs that are providing a positive example
  • Share content with your audience that provides them with real facts and knowledge with which to make a smart decision

As an ex-raver that went from the deep end to totally sober for the last 14 years, I have learned the hard way how to talk with others about substances in a realistic, non-aggressive way:

Drugs are no different from getting in an airplane, driving without your seat belt, or drinking booze. When you remove the stigma, it’s a relatively straight forward risk/reward calculation. There are upsides to getting high, and there are very clear (but wildly variant) downsides. By understanding how great the risks and rewards are – any person can (and should) make a smart decision on their own. I personally concluded there are very few drugs that pass the risk/reward litmus test, but many people do find safe ways to incorporate a variety of substances into their lives with minimal downside.

Sadly, this “nuanced” of a discussion doesn’t fit nicely in a short sound bite or on either end of the debate spectrum.  So for the Twitter generation, here is a good place to start. We like the hash tag: #PartySmarter

Guys, Gals, Ravers, Dancers, Promoters: #PartySmarter! Make an informed decision about your nightlife experience (insert link from anyone of the following sources):

General Club Drug Info:







I firmly believe our community is one of the most diverse, well-educated group of DJs out there. We rarely get articles perfect, but your help in the comments always makes for a better piece. Please help us round out this discussion with your own links to important articles including research and documentation that is bias free.

  • Pingback: Friday Roundup: September 13 2013 - Digital DJ Tips()

  • Kostia

    Yeah, steve aoki telling you “don’t take drugs” … Hey dude isn’t you last week tryed to have sex with a cdj ?

  • Tsuyoshi

    every time when i use drugs and i not really dressed for this, i feel blow dried

  • Smoothgroove

    Lets associate closer with health, leisure and sport. Dance should be available nearer daily life- at the workplace, in town. Bars and Clubs could have alcohol free hours and zones.

  • Pat Walton

    lol, if DJ’s are needed to make people not be idiots or not be ignorant and buy from sketchy people then parents truly have failed.

    If you promote crap, dumb people will show up by the thousands and people will act dumb. These are the consequences. No PSA is going to change that.

    More nanny state nonsense from people that blame anyone but the parents.

  • Phil

    I am back from Ibiza dancing on the ENTER closing party at Space. With horror prices for drinks (0,25l water = 8€ !!!! ) I wasn’t surprised that everybody was totally on some kind of mind shaking substances over limit. Where is the responsibility of the clubs.

  • dee j rahul k 26

    dj rahul k

  • jkhc

    I think Joel Z and Ryan R are absolutely correct about the state of electronic music festivals/concerts –

  • Patrick Ijsselstein

    Another thing regarding the dj. If a dj is able to make you feel like you used xtc or even make you cry, there’s no need to take any drugs

    • Pat Walton

      Demented delusional rubbish. You think people take drugs because the music can’t create what they do?

      That’s borderline retarded

      • Patrick Ijsselstein

        people should stop making sense

      • Patrick Ijsselstein

        i think you missed my point here

      • Patrick Ijsselstein

        how do you know what i think? Drugs is drugs and music is music, one can not replace the other. It is a fact though, that drugs will alter man’s perception and magnifies the mood of that moment. In the case of music, it’s a win win situation. (dance)music and drugs have a long, long history. As a dj, i have a few what we call in the netherlands; “pillenplaten” what would translate to; pill-records. I’m talking about records that you know of how they will be perceived when someone is on xtc, and can recall that particular rush without. For me, this is where my responsibility in drug education ends. People will do it anyway, it’s their choice and self-determination is a great good.

  • Patrick Ijsselstein

    i think reponsibility lies with the individual and this whole discussion is slightly stupid. Considering how many people die every day because of alcohol and tobacco related use. More people die in traffic then people that use and abuse drugs. Think of this, if for example mdma or xtc was legally, people who CHOOSE to take it at least take 100% quality. In Holland there are “bad” pills at the moment and we had 3 or 4 deaths in a relatively short time. But these pills wouldn’t have been on the market if xtc was legal, think about it. People should at least be able to test them whitout proscecution

  • Shaun Whitcher

    The $5 to $10 price for a small container of bottled water certainly doesn’t help. Dehydration is a major issue when taking MDMA and gouging kids for water is deplorable. Either provide free water or charge a fair price ($1.00).

    For a while the Seattle City Counsel cracked down on DanceSafe, threatening them with criminal charges if they continued to provide services at clubs, raves and festivals. I’m not sure if this is still the case, but ignorant politicians and absurd “anti-drug-everyting” legislation must change so that DanceSafe and other organizations like them can continue to keep kids safe without fear of incarceration. Otherwise, more will die unnecessarily at the (red) hands of the very people pounding the anti-drug pulpit.

    One more thing, how many people die or hospitalized at Lollapallooza and other giant rock-n-roll festivals? Where is the outrage from the talking heads on TV? Why is electronic dance music (for the last 25+ years) always under fire more than any other type of music?

    Do you ever see a good drug story on the news? Never!

    Long live Bill Hicks! –>>

  • Dmob

    one big problem america has is its drinking age if 18 year olds could drink like in every other country drug use would go down because its easier for kids to get drugs into a festival then getting a drink there

  • Weaver2

    I’m going to be “that guy”. I’m going to get tons of hate as this isn’t related to the article. But I have to ask, can electric zoo and its ilk really even be considered a rave? These massive events feel like a summer mega concert tour than anything even vaguely like a rave. Growing up in the scene since I was 15ish years old, I’ve seen people balk at tickets and claim price gouging on promoters that were charging $30 ticket prices from 9pm – 6am. Now people pay hundreds of dollars without hesitation to attend these overcrowded, dry, hot festivals waiting for Skrillex to “drop” his latest pile of shit.

    I’d honestly take a dark room in a sketchy club that probably isn’t up to fire code any day of the week.

  • Anthony G

    As much as I agree w/ others who have commented about drug education not being the DJ’s responsibility, I believe that if, at any time, you have a voice that can be heard and may be able to bring about awareness of an issue it is your obligation to do so.

    • Chris R

      obligation?!!! Not at all man. my job is to spin the tracks and get people dancing. governments have an obligation to set out better drug policies and club owners and event promoters have an obligation to ensure that people have the ability to take care of themselves at events. am i really going to get on my soapbox about drug awareness because i play dance music? no. i am not. people are gonna get high at gigs.

      why is it that when shit goes bad, some DJs begin to cower and get all “we should be doing this or that”. Fuck that. if YOU do drugs, then YOU increase the risk of YOUR OWN death. in this day and age, nobody takes drugs blissfully unaware that they are potentially dangerous.

      I don’t do drugs or drink alcohol any more, and i have been clean and sober for around 7 years now. in the 90’s i did ecstasy regularly when raving, but you know what, i still love the music from back then, and love the evolution of music from those days up to this point. and i don’t need drugs to enjoy or enhance music. the scene has become huge, from underground beginnings to the global “EDM” phenomenon that we are now experiencing. it WILL survive, despite the doomsday talk that i have read on here.

      In answer to the title of this article, the DJ has NO responsibility in drug education. Before DJing, i was a substance misuse worker for several years…..the job sucked, the hours were long, the pay was shit and due to government funding cuts, the clients were not getting the kind of service that they needed and deserved. legal highs are on the up and up and no one really knows what is in that shit or what it does to you, so how can you educate people to make an informed choice when we don’t know the necessary information.

      the issues that we have in dance music are a DIRECT result of government policy on drugs and alcohol.

      • Anthony G

        I sort of get the gist of what you are saying, it’s just that the points in your argument are a bit contradictory. You place emphasis on people individually understanding what they are getting into yet you also say that it is not the DJ’s who have the obligation to help other’s but promoters/owners/gov’t. officials. So which is it? Are people to be responsible for themselves or not? I’m trying to be nit-picky here, I just really want to get an understanding of your position.

        That being said, I actually did DISAGREE with those saying it is the DJ’s responsibility to EDUCATE. But we do have a voice as DJs and I feel that sometimes a simple, “Stay safe,” or “Drink lots of water tonight, guys,” might be satisfactory to at least plant in someone’s mind, “water.”

        Drugged-out Raver: What the fuck is that D-Bag saying?
        Other Raver: I don’t know. Some bullshit about water. Whatever.
        Drugged-out Raver: I am kinda thirsty though…

        Seems goofy, but sometimes it CAN be that simple. I don’t know, maybe my youthful naivete is getting the best of me, hahaha.

        • Anthony G

          *I’m NOT trying to be nit-picky, my apologies.

  • Jeroen Kolkman

    I indeed think that the DJ has a some influence on the crowd.
    Just look at some other types of music and how many are following the artists in the habbits they have.

    I think the most stereotypicle one in that is the regea.
    Around me this type of music always is connected to smoking pod and chillin, easy going.
    And that is what many people that listen to it do.

    I am starting out as a dj in the dance and trance scene and been to enough events to know that there is always some way to get drugs (I personaly never used any drugs, except alcohol 😉 ).

    But I think that if a DJ everyone watches like say Tiesto and it whould be know that he uses xtc or whatever drug, many people whould be using it to.
    Just because tiesto is.

    So I think if DJ came out more with their experiances on drugs and if they even used it or not, I believe things will improve.

    But I’m not saying drug use will be stopped soon.
    But hopefully be less so less people have to die or be seriously damaged.

    (sorry for the grammer)

  • Knowledge Writing

    You have given light over a unique topics, never thought that a DJ can do so much in drue education.

  • Preston

    Great article, I started hard in the rave scene but when i became a role model to the youth its important that i be strong and set the right examle

  • æ

    Harry J. Anslinger is the name that put some shit upon the stars, so we have today no true study.

  • IM KRU2000

    Alrite: this is some bullshit! Not long ago I started a thread in the forums to discuss this exact same topic under the exact same intentions as this post. I made tons of disclaimers and explanations to avoid the thread being seen as a drug conversation. A few readers understood my point in the original post but many jumped at the chance of bashing my idea claiming that DJTT would never include this discussion and these things shouldnt be mentioned because it has “nothing to do with djing”. Even when some people stood up for the topic, the moderators banned me instantly. I will now flare a very gracious reminder for them: FUCK YOU!

    • chris

      djing is also meditationly making music. to went in a part of trance and have some nice experience is a lot more in the reality of what music is. there is not only one mind (maybe yours?) outside.

  • 031999

    I must speak on two things….

    1. Free water is a must. Greedy venues are cheating these kids out of water. Even a simple hangover is caused by not drinking enough water when you are drinking alcohol.

    2. I have personally WITH MY OWN EYES seen Steve Aoki do a line of coke backstage at a show. His musical talents aside. I just cannot respect him as a person.

    • chris

      better one line thrue the nose, than one pill in my stomach, for they would killing some animals at the pharmazie.

      think about what is reality!

  • Geert Rombouts

    the things we first need to do :

    1. Decriminalization and demarginalization of drug users.
    2. Open and fair communication and education about drugs and their usages.
    3. On site drug testing and free water! Seriously, how hard can it fkin be.

    Number three should just be mandatory by law for big events. this is not even
    up for debate. you as an organizer have every right to cram as many
    possible into your event and charge overpiced prices for drinks, but
    just leave a waterfountain. People will still buy drinks, because water
    tastes like… water. Drug testing stands are great for the users, but
    they can also act as an early warning system when they see bad batches
    pop up.

    The first and second ones reach beyond dance-culture. We
    as a society need to stop demonizing drug users. People will try to get
    off their face, no matter what. How many choked each other in school
    until you passed out? The only thing that will make it happen in a more
    sensible manner is educating them about usage, dosage and risks. By
    making the user a responsible and knowledgeable person, he or she will
    be more inclined to make the correct decision.

    Will people still take too much drugs, will they still overdose? offcourse, like drunk
    people still keep driving into trees, there will still be idiots, just less.

  • chris

    there are so many and so different drugs on market. But the best that i hear is from an irish -chemists. they would found some substance to make them free from his phantom-pains – he lost on hand. the name is “roflcoptr”

    (leave some artist from the other side on earth >> Sun Control Species >>)

  • chris

    this is very tricky. Most of good Sounds are in a kind of an drugged situation. You have to realise that drugs can made you fit in your brain, in an meditational way. Albert Hoffmann said that you have to have respect for such Substancen or they can kill one. (Albert Hoffmann died in the age of 102)

  • Man Fred

    Play lots of tracks with samples that utilize vulgarity and drug usage references.

  • RH

    Haven’t read the other comments (yet), but there’s such a big difference between the US and Europe when it comes to this. Born, raised and still living in Holland, people over here seem to be more informed and educated when it comes to partying and all the side products like drug usage. Although the government banned the stands at parties where you could test your drugs, there’s still a group of volunteers called ‘Unity’ who are there to inform people in a friendly way. And outside of all the raves there are many places where people can anonymously bring their drugs to get them tested, which is a great way. There were a few incidents with raves and drugs over the past years, and they’ll probably never stop, but almost 90% of the all the promotors and organizations in Holland are aware of the consequences and they all take precautions. Lots of medics at festivals, cheap or free water, etc. And 9 out of 10 times there’s also tap water near the toilets.

    Same goes for Germany, Belgium or France by the way. Promotors in the US should take an example on how everything has developed in Europe over the last decades and they’ll do much better in the end. EDM is just starting out in the US and everyone wants to get the EDM scene just as big as in Europe on such short notice, but that took some too.

  • DJ_ForcedHand

    Taking drugs is a personal decision (unless someone doses you). That being said, we are responsible for our bodies, our own health and ultimately, our own decisions even if others make decisions which effect our own. Most people who do drugs at events are going to be young people who don’t know what their limits are and generally equate “more” to a better time (with no upper limit to the “AWESOME” that can be had). This being said, we generally like to help people who “fall down”when they’re not strong and this means we need a strong safety net for those people who choose to do drugs and either do too much or have a bad reaction. It should be the responsibility of the Promoter to make sure there is medical assistance available (for any reason), just as it is their responsibility to have security, and insurance for any mishaps.

  • mehhh….

    bbc,s docu-drama on drug legalization.

  • Ray Phoenix

    We as a whole: Djs, Producers, “ravers”, music lovers, human beings, have a responsibility to be good to each other. Yes people are going to go to festival and nightclubs and do drugs and if you are one of those people hopefully you know your limits. But if you see someone in trouble ask them if they need help. Give them your 4 dollar bottle of water. I cant even remember how many of my waters i gave away at EDC this year. As much as we would like to see promoters give away water or have more medical staff on site the sad reality is that doing that would probably hurt their bottom line. So that really only leaves us to look out for one another. Be safe guys! and in the words of the amazing Bill & Ted “Be excellent to each other… and party on”

  • DJ Rapture

    I’m a firm believer in the idea that you shouldn’t need to take drugs to enhance your experience of the night – that’s what the music is for. If you have to get high to enjoy the night, then you’re doing something wrong. But, hey, that’s just my opinion. I am entitled to it as much as you are your own. If you think drugs are a-ok, then go right the heck ahead. I won’t stop you. I’ll advise against it and try to help if you overdose/have some other mishap while high, but I won’t stop you.

  • adam p

    It would even be nice if the big clubs in Ibiza even lowered the price of water! €10 or more for a bottle that’s about the same size as a can of coca cola!

  • Simon Clements-Hawes

    I like the idea of a chemical-centric safety net; if you know people are going to do something anyway, why not do a little something to make sure YOUR fans come back? No one is expecting the DJ to become a philanthropist but those people are paying to see you, they’re not there coincidentally. I always thought credit cards with basic first aid tips would be great in clubs 😉

  • Pulse One

    Good one, Ean. I have always believed that a well-informed risk/reward decision is the only sober alternative, whatever that decision may be. Lack of full knowledge only keeps people stuck choosing between dumbly hyping or hating drugs. Let’s keep lighting up those elephants. And there are a lot of those elephants. Accepting/respecting dear ones’ high-risk decisions, for example. Or how to handle decisions when already unsober. Or how to handle others who are trying to make decisions when they are unsober. Let’s not get stuck on the easy questions.

  • Props to DJ Tech Tools for taking a stance on something that is generally going to get you ridiculed. I personally don’t believe this is an issue but I still respect y’all for your integrity.

    This problem has existed since raves started and people who use drugs recreationally will occasionally kill themselves decades from now.

    There is no such thing as responsible drug use within the club environment. As long as venues force peeps to hide their drugs groups like DanceSafe and PLUR won’t be able to test pills. As long as venues charge too much for water while banning outside bottles users will never hydrate enough. If venues keep over booking their shows while being cheap on the air ventilation kids will continue to pass out.

    The responsible thing to do is not to use drugs- but that defeats the purpose of the rave for most of attendees. Not much more can be said. With the exception of one thing…

    LEGALIZE ALL DRUGS. Until that happens we cannot really have a reasonable discussion on how to handle responsible drug use within any community.

  • b

    I wonder if gunshops are being closed in the usa, after another teenager shoots some one for no reason?? When you still have famous people promoting gun ownership, now thats a real shame, and why are alcohol and
    Tobacco not banned for killing so much people? Simple awnser : money money money money..

  • b

    This is just bull, alcohol and tobacco kills a lot more every year, and drugs are taken at all kinds of music and other events.
    Occasionally some one dies from them, but that is mostly due to bad drugs or excessive abuse.
    Just that now, there are two deaths at a big party in the usa djs must take responsibility? There are a lot of djs that take drugs themselves, it is connected to music..this was the case with the old rockbands and now edm gets the blame..this is all bull. People should get responsible themselves, that why at most partys there is an age restriction, so the organization trusts those people to be responsible for themselves..

  • Sephyr

    The bottom line is, enough money is being made in raves to provide a safer enviroment to attendees.

    Measures like free water and drug quality tests should be provided at least in festivals.
    Most owners say they care but most owners charge 2 to 5 eur for a bottle of water and we all know that most kids wont spend that money for water when they can get alcohol instead.
    I even went to a party where they shut down the water in the bathrooms so that they could charge you for it. I mean, how greedy can you get.

    The old “dont do drugs” motto doesnt work and most parents are oblivious of whats goin on in the nightlife world these days.

    I strongly support this inniciative and urge all teens to atleast get yourself educated before you try stuff out.

    • “Most owners say they care but most owners charge 2 to 5 eur for a bottle of water and we all know that most kids wont spend that money for water when they can get alcohol instead.”

      B I N G O. But to be fair some peeps died at burning man too and all that shit is generally take what you need. Still I have seen so many kids nearly at their limit and it’s clear they haven’t had water in hours.

  • Mad Zach

    Without them most people would wake up and probably go back to real good music, bands like creed, toto, where its more okay to be yourself just wearin’ cowboy hats and stand around feelin the vibe. Maybe even a bbq, who knows where the night will take you…

    To me it seems it would make more sense to make a PSA against pyrotechnics and overbooking venues which have accounted for way more deaths at events than drugs.

    Another good starting place would be unlimited free water at every major festival, considering many drug related deaths are due to dehydration. Often you have to wait 20 minutes to get to the bar so you can buy a $4 bottle of water.

    • Ewan Matheson

      @mad_zach:disqus in the UK it’s a legal (well not technically legal… it’s a bit of a grey area but falls within the Responsible Retailing of Alcohol guidelines…) requirement that water must be available at every licensed bar for free – I assumed this was the same in the US??? I guess we learned our lessons during the 90s – I know that some of my friends that were in the Acid-house scene in the late 80s/early 90s used to have to pay £4 for a bottle of water – adjusted for inflation (1991 historic inflation adjustment) and current rate that is US$12 for a bottle of water in today’s money…People were dying left right and centre…

      • James Brian Thomaston

        Nope, even a glass of water with ice will cost you in many of the clubs in the US.

        • Ewan Matheson

          Out of interest what would a nominal charge be for a glass of water and ice?

          In most of the clubs I go to there is usually a sectioned off part of the bar that after about 1:00/1:30 the club have free plastic tumblers full of iced water just sitting for people to help themselves – so the concept of having to get queued and paid is a little odd for me!

          • James Brian Thomaston

            I live in Spring Break capital of the East Coast. So they charge for everything. For a cup of ice water, you usually would pay a couple of dollars in one of the two larger night clubs. They usually push you to buy bottled water though, which is $2.50-3 a pop. Their main focus is on alcohol, so to keep clubbers from coming in on drugs and drinking free water all night, they charge them so they make that extra money. It’s a bad practice, and I have seen people suffer from heat problems more than once.

          • Ewan Matheson

            I think there is a general recognition here that overheating in clubs is a separate issue from drugs and one isn’t necessarily linked to the other… One of my favourite clubs in the UK (Subclub – Glasgow) is two flights of stairs underground, and although the club has done what they can to get air conditioning around the dance floor it’s no match for having 500 people packed into what is a relatively small club (and with it being – supposedly – the oldest dance club in the world – it’s not huge)

            Another one of the clubs in Glasgow – The Arches, is a lot bigger and they give out tap water from the bar, but some of their bars do not have taps so you need to pay at those ones… It’s not a huge money spinner I wouldn’t have thought… Clubs in the UK seem to have accepted that drugs are part of the scene and are more focused on providing a safe environment for people to enjoy a party…

    • tr4gik

      Free water and medic professionals on site, jeez promoters how much could that cost your already selling 400dlls tickets. Come on dont be freakin’ greedy.

    • Mad Zach

      also forgot, for the absolute best educational reference on all types of drugs:

    • DJ Justin Time

      I agree with Zach… “How many times have you been to a rave and waited 20 minutes for a $4 bottle of water”… This to me summarizes a massive problem in the edm/club/rave scene. No matter what water shouldnt be $4 a bottle. A club i regularily attend gives its customers a bottle as they leave, half the cost covered by the advertisement revenue from a sticker that goes on the label.

      If you ask me its a money making scheme… why not charge $4 a bottle, if your customers dont pay they die so its quite the ultimatum.

    • DJ_ForcedHand

      Dorothy: “I miss Kansas.”
      Toto: “I miss the rains in Africa.”

      • Mad Zach

        I’d blesssss the rainsss, down on Aaaafrriikaaaa (jazz hands)

    • chris

      water is the best. our Lymph-System need everytime water for cleaning.

      • Mad Zach


        • chris

          “hi profile” probro 🙂

          • chris

            give you some pleasure with two coins 😉
            “French plaisier” from Dj Drenan

            “psy” does not mean crazy, it stands for “soul”

          • chris


          • mellonhead

            um, or perhaps it’s short for psychedelic, as in psychedelic trance? or perhaps it means, “i’m too lazy to write more than 1 drum beat.” lol

    • djbkmusic

      There were multiple free water refill stations at Electric Zoo, and they almost never had lines. I had no trouble filling up my Camelbak multiple times.

      Festivals are starting to provide free water, but the issue is getting people to drink it and realize that they NEED it. Camelbaks have become popular at festivals, but many people come in without one, and thus have nothing to refill at the refill station.

      On another note, I had a friend who had a 102 fever while at the festival (unrelated to drug use) and the medics didn’t do anything to her. I think for performers to sacrifice a few hundred bucks each to hire better medical staff is necessary to keep the festival scene going

    • Tonto

      you can’t put toto in the same league as creed. Until you understand why you will keep on making shitty music that only guys on a forum listen to.

    • Pat Ambrosio

      Hey Mad Zach, and rest of the DJTT staff. Why not do a ThunderClap campaign so the word gets out en masse, louder, and more far-reaching. Check the site, I’m not affiliated with these guys and I think it’s free, I’m just hoping this helps.

    • mollieeeee

      yea not to mention bartenders tend to ignore the ones buying water. fucked up

  • Backtothefront

    Any death due to misadventure with drugs is a sad one and it’s incredibly sad for those close to who died.

    It does remind me a little of the outcry in the UK in the late 80’s/very early 90’s with the acid house parties/M25 raves/warehouse parties etc and the mainstream media hysteria over kids and drug taking and this ‘evil’ House music. Fast forward more than 30 years and these same ‘kids’ are now running the mainstream media and club culture is well excepted.

    Music and drugs have always been intertwined and will continue to do so but the bottom line is it an individual choice whether to take something or not, and another person/DJ/promoter cannot ultimately be held responsible – although they can do a lot to get information out there so people can make an informed choice.

    My two penneth worth 🙂

  • Dios Gnosis

    I’ll pose a question:

    — What responsibilities should, say, Wal-Mart corporate take during Black Fridays when it is not uncommon for some unfortunate shoppers to become seriously injured or, as not uncommonly reported, die of injuries sustained from a trampling accident upon the opening of their doors? —

    I use the rhetorical question route, but I feel that others will be able to see my point.

    I think the first question we should consider is, what are the desired tenants we wish to establish when establishing the EDM Culture?

    Specifically, what is the center of this culture going to revolve around? Drugs? Music? Dance? Art?

    I would venture to say that, regardless of the individual DJ’s personal take on drug use, all DJs would agree that the focal point of our endeavors revolve around the music.

    I like the topic and will continue to follow the comments.

  • Rafa

    so 2 or 3 die and than 50.000 ravers to blame, USA you´re crazy, you always have to blame someone, The Dj´s, the promoters ? in a full crowed festival 2 die, and know we blame the all scene, that´s so wrong, the ones who should be blamed were those kids, 1st for taking drugs, 2 for taking to much or for buying the wrong thing, there a lot o drug test kit in the internet, there are some gigs in europe, that you have a place for testing drugs, I´ve been there, nobody arrested me, and the drug was ok, and than they gave a talk about how I should take care of myself and the risks. ( this is the smart thing to do ).
    I´ve taken drugs in alot EDM parties and festivals, but all so in rock concerts, in the street with friends, in the woods, discos, at home. So if have died taking drugs at home, you would blame my neighbor´s ? my landlord, for renting me my apartment ?

    • Chris R

      spot on…..

  • Jake Hale

    The problem isn’t the drugs, the problem is ignorance and deception…

    Education not prohibition: the same way that abstinence only education does NOTHING to prevent kids from figuring sex out on their own, so it also goes for intoxication.

    DJs, Clubs, Promoters; they’re all WAY too far down the line of people with which an honest discussion should be had about harm reduction and responsibility. Parents, teachers, family and friends are all going to have FAR more of an influence on these decisions.

    • Dan White

      I mention this in another comment, but you’re spot on. The statistics for “Just Say No” D.A.R.E. programs in America show that the program actually increases the likelyhood that an individual will use drugs:

  • Drizden

    Well said, Ean.
    To those of you that don’t think it’s an artists responsibility:
    As a DJ you have a responsibility to your industry. The Insurance industry goes out of there way to educate drivers about safty… keeping their customers safe and happy, keeping them able to purchase more insurance, paying out less in claims.
    As a human being, you have a responsibility to use the platform a DJ naturally has to set some sort of example and do a least a small part in keeping people safe. If you have the DanceSafe URL on your website or in your email signature for years and it saves one life or a few people from getting sick even… would you say it was too much effort?

    • Dr Beatz

      well put man. Its impossible to put statistics on how many people were saved from your actions.

  • krautrock

    at the german wacken open air festival (heavy metall) four visitors died over the years, three of them were drunk.

  • Lylax

    all of music culture has had influences from drugs. The only person who is responsible for eating drugs is the consumer. If your that person who is dumb enough to take something handed to you in the middle of a concert from someone you dont know or have never met…..then its all on you.

    fake drugs and research chemicals are going around like wildfire. people dont know if there eating the real thing or just a bunch of bath salts and protein shake powder. dance safe test kits are the way to go if your hell bent on “seeing” the music.

  • Consolero

    I think it’s difficult to point to the possibility of doing free, educated decisions about drugs, when the exact same thing can make you addicted and limit your freedom of choice. a lot of people using drugs cant make their choice like that…

    But i agree with you that DJs are role-models and should think about their responsebilities.

  • Rock88

    Why should it be down to the DJ? If you want to take drugs, take them. If you dont, then dont! The people that die because of drugs are often the ones who drink too much on a night out. They are usually the social hand grenade that no-one wants to take with them or look after. The DJ is there is provide music and entertainment, not molly coddle (pardon the pun) or advise a bunch of morons who pump themselves with substances.

    • True, there is no reason to suggest Djs are responsible for audience behavior, but can you think of a different group of people that:

      a) can reach the full audience
      b) would actually be listened to
      c) has a vested interest in maintaining a healthy long term scene?

      • Rock88

        Whilst i see your point Ean, i don’t think a DJ will be listened to in the slightest. People will always take drugs at parties/raves/festivals and wherever a DJ is present. Unfortunately nowadays a vast majority of these people attend these events, not because of the music, but because of the drugs. If people were half as passionate about music as we all are, they wouldn’t need them.

        There was documentary on the drugs scene in ibiza by a BBC news crew a few years ago that highlighted that if the drugs stop, Ibiza stops. This is a very sad state of affairs in my opinion but definitely worth a watch.

        I can think of a group of people that will be heard, listened to and have a vested interest. Club owners and the business that surround them. It’s easier for them (and it is harsh) to bodybag a couple of overdosers at these events than it is to stand on the door and actually operate a Zero drugs policy. If they did that their business would die.

        Whilst i think it’s commendable that there are some DJ’s that will voice out against drug use in clubs, it’s all for naught if the people running these events don’t have the follow up action that will truly make a difference.

        • Robert Nathan Leslie Collins

          I have to agree with Ean. The buck doesn’t stop with any one person in particular, we all have a part to play in ensuring a healthy community. Nobody expects DJs to take on the sole responsibility, but if DJs do their part, and festival goers do theirs, and promoters do theirs… Then it all combines to promote a healthy discussion and atmosphere. Hopefully this means less tragedy and deaths.

          It’s also not about being anti-drug, or voicing out against drugs. Ean very clearly states in the article he’s not anti-drug, but he’s for an open and honest discussion on the issue. You know how abstinence only sex education policies in certain states results in higher teenage pregnancy and STI? Perhaps an ‘abstinence’ approach to drug use and abuse is similarly ineffective, and new methods must be tried.

          As a researcher of drug policies in Canada (in addition to the producer/DJ thing), I have access to records and data on the health of individuals throughout Canada. Without violating confidentiality agreements, I can say with some certainty that even accounting for differing levels of usage, there are plenty of drugs that are far less harmful than alcohol. MDMA, LSD, and Cannabis, in their unadulterated form and used responsibly, are minimally harmful to an individual.

          Our current attitude and culture surrounding drugs is simply untenable. Ean Golden’s push for an open discussion on the subject is commendable!

          • Ewan Matheson

            Robert – Is there any publicly available data similar to your research? We’ve had similar in the UK but they are all too often the subject of government interference (our “drugs minister” produced a report advocating the legalisation of the majority of street drugs – quite correctly in my opinion – asserting that responsible education and removing drugs from the black market would mediate a lot of the negative societal effects… That got him fired…)

            Mixmag do a study, but I wasn’t convinced that the methodology was stringent enough to really reference…


          • Robert Nathan Leslie Collins

            The datafile I owned was accessible through a document delivery agreement Western University has with my university, so I’m not at liberty to divulge it. The datafile I used for this research came from the Canadian Community Health Survey, however: If you are in the UK, check out these two studies in the Lancet, regarding UK drug use and policy suggestions:

            Nutt D, King LA, Saulsbury W, Blakemore C (March 2007). “Development of a rational scale to assess the harm of drugs of potential misuse” (pdf). Lancet 369 (9566): 1047–53.

            Nutt DJ, King LA, Phillips LD; Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs. (November 2010). “Drug harms in the UK: a multicriteria decision analysis” (pdf). Lancet 376 (9752): 1558–65

          • Ewan Matheson

            Awesome – thanks Robert – appreciate the time you took.

          • Rock88

            Oh i agree with the open discussion side of things. Awareness of how to use drugs if you’re going to use them is probably the best way to stop these kind’s of thing happening. In fact the video above probably is the first many people will see on drug use and how to use them properly (if you can do that).

            However, i think the DJ shouldn’t be even having to breach the subject to a crowd. A majority of these events are 18/21+ and the people there are legally adults. They can make decisions themselves. They should already be mindful of these things before they take the notion to get sorted.

            If however, this kind of thing starts to become a norm, which is unlikely, as it’s more a case of it just being reported on (as stated by another commenter, this kind of thing is blowing up in the US. Europe has been doing it for years!) then it will fall around to the organisers/doorstaff/club owners etc to crack down on it which in turn will kill the scene off better than any drugs scare campaign ever could.

            It’s a viscous cycle, and i see ean’s view that prevention is better than cure, and to get it in the open will be better for all.

      • BTD10

        I would also put some of the responsibility on the friends that people attend with at these events, speaking from personal experience when we attended these events back in the late 90’s to about the mid 2000’s we would always go as a group and would keep an eye on each other even though we were all responsible individuals, it all comes down to education and moderation but it’s a tough sell to some when they are having so much fun and get careless, also agree with your point regarding more medics instead of security but these events have gotten so big that security is their #1 priority besides making lots of money of course, lastly taking drugs is an individual choice thus sole responsibility belongs to the taker.

      • Dr Beatz

        Even if no one will listen to the DJ, you can still have a meaningful impact.

        Place terms in your DJ rider that say the venue must provide free water, the venue must have an EMT on staff for the event and a DanceSafe style booth in the entrance. Then you can make one simple announcement about it on stage and be done with it. Participants will know where these resources are when/if a problem arises.

        I think Eans point is super crucial, people WILL listen to the DJ, as long as they take the suave/chill point of view (“I know your going to do drugs, but I want you all to come back and party with me next time, so take care of each other”)

        People are going to drink and do drugs, cuz its what people do, has been this way for all of civilized humanity. But to say you can’t do anything is undermining yourself from the start. You have the power to change the world right in the palm of your hand, its more a question of how far are you willing to take it. 🙂

    • Dr Beatz

      nothing kills a vibe like a dead person at your show though. If you think of a DJs job as setting the party “mood” then I would argue this IS a DJs job.

      Similarly, some people just need a “slap in the face” Ever been to a rock show where some douche is throwing things at the stage and the band stops and calls him out in front of everyone? A crowd of people calling you an asshole while your escorted out by security, might just be the wake up call one needs.
      One show I was at, the lead singer got the security guard to hand over the offenders wallet. He then read his name and address to the whole crowd. Who knows what happened after, but I bet his FB wall was insane the day after.

      OR, some trashed kid getting called out by a DJ on stage might cause him to rethink his substance selection the next time around(if they can remember it)

  • KIO

    Dear Ean, whenever you write a topic intended to share your point of view on the EDM industry or something that happened at an event it always irritates me how biased your articles are to a very typical USA state of mind that the world just seems to end at the borders of the USA. In this particular article you write that after a tragic event where one or two persons died at an EDM event, the consequent must be that “If kids keep dying at raves there will be another crackdown, and electronic music scene in general will suffer greatly”. Well, for your information EDM started in the early ’90’s and has blossemed in Europe for two decades until only very recently the USA has cought up. Already in the ’90 every now and again sad news has popped up about people dying at raves after irresponsibly using drugs. Nevertheless two decades later EDM is thriving and none of these tragic deaths has had any effect on the EDM industry whatsoever. So for your future reference and my enjoyment of reading your opinions, I’d like to ask you to consider a whole continent and two decades of EDM history before releasing an article on your blog.

    • mtlgrrr

      Lol, who the fk are you to tell someone how to write something on THEIR blog. Don’t read it if you don’t want to…

    • tetrix

      Speaking as a European, you are hugely wrong

      Till this day dance music events in Europe are plagued like a cancer by the use of drugs, bogging down many nights in clubs due to the stigma that is around events. People associate dance music with drugs, in fact its so bad people associate drugs with dance music. This drags in people from the worst parts of the community getting lit up on cheap mdma, a bag of coke and about 15 double vodkas into the clubs making it very hard to enjoy your favourite artists since the guy beside you wants to rip your head off.

      Besides the social stigma and cultural impact that the drug taking club-goers have on dance music here, the government and local council are extremely cautious in giving out licences to dance related events and allowing new clubbing events to go forward where i live. From 2002-2010 (i’d personally say) dance music took a huge dive in my area due to the “Rave” scene that developed in the UK, and only in the last 18 months has it been coming back to a normal level of popularity.

      So Ean is 100% right, if people don’t control themselves and things go out of hand with drug related problems at massive events like electric zoo, itll be your local club that will be struck down by your government soon.

    • ImNotDedYet

      Well, for your information, house music started in the 80’s in Chicago before it branched out to Detroit and later became popular in the 90’s in Europe. Just sayin…you kinda sound like an ass telling someone fairly respected in the DJ community about the origins of the music when you yourself don’t know about the origins.

      And like it or not, deaths at festivals have the potential to have a global reach on the scene. If the scene were to dwindle in one particularly big area such as the US, or Europe, or Australia, etc. it would have a negative effect on the overall scene.


      Well man, I hate to burst your EuroCentric bubble, but you need to get your facts straight. We had a great scene here in the US all through the 90’s and say maybe till 2002. The crackdown we dealt with at the time dealt a huge blow to the “EDM Industry” as you like to put it. Local governments instituted dancehall ordinances to shut venues down and we even had a bill called the RAVE Act at the time, to be honest I don’t know how far it got, but it was written because of MDMA use and abuse and at about this time they started putting up more 2AM closing times for clubs and bars. Judging by what tetrix posted, Europe had similar pains. Personally I think it’s funny that it is you that has to consider another continent and now nearly three decades of electronic music. At any rate let the man write his piece, these deaths happened in the US and the controversy is here, AGAIN, right now. I personally don’t ever want to hear from a club manager that they don’t want my “scene” or “element” there any more, which is what I was facing at the end of 2002. So, just chill and quit making it about you, the fact is that people need to start using their drugs more responsibly and we as a community can’t just write these deaths off as a casualty of the party.

    • Hey Kio, I appreciate your feedback. Even though everyone at Dj TechTools is very well travelled (I have lived all over the world myself including europe) we are still based in the US, which can sometimes color our perspective. To counter this are make sure all of our readers feel well-represented, might I draw your attention towards a new editorial position in Europe on our jobs page?

  • Rave47

    Personally, I think that the video is pretty educational.
    They don’t say that MDMA is bad(because it’s not), they’re saying it can be dangerous(and it can), and offer the best ways to enjoy your drugs and be safe.
    Hydrating, avoiding caffeine, knowing your drugs and getting them from a trust worthy dealer, avoiding alcohol, hydrating(again), having friends around that could help you in case you’re feeling bad, and knowing when and where to take your drugs, these are the ABC’s of responsible drug use.
    It’ll be best if kids would learn it in highschool, along with responsible drinking, sadly the school system will never do that, but I’m damn glad there are some artists that try to help out. It’ll probably have a greater impact if some more A list artists were there advocating common sense and responsibility in drug use.

    BTW, although being sober for over 4 years now, I still believe that alcohol is the best party drug there is. As long as you don’t mix different types of alcohol, keep hydrating and have some good friends around, the party will always be awsome.

    • Dan White

      (In America) High school often seems to ignore the kind of practical education that could really help stem some major problems in this country. Like you mentioned, responsible drinking and drug use, but also responsible credit card use would be a big one.

      Did you know that the D.A.R.E. (“just say no!” to drugs) program was a statistical failure – actually resulting in a *higher* likelyhood of drug use?

      • Dr Beatz

        my favorite stat of all, glad someone else picked up on that. I think DARE failed because kids like me didnt know what drugs were til we got to DARE. Then I wanted to know more…..

  • thejone

    The ole’ Drugs are bad mmmmkay video huh?
    I think the reality is that if people were doing “actual” MDMA things may not be so bad. But when it’s mixed with god knows what, that’s when shit gets sketchy.
    In Australia it’s really hard to get “actual” MDMA so instead of loved up kids at my gigs I have a room full of coke heads drinking way too much booze and fighting. I know which one I prefer. That being said no one wants to go to a festival to have a great time and end up dead.

  • Friederich Engelsdottir

    sorry, but this is moral rubbish. making DJs responsible of random peoples drug abuse. if peeps are too stupid to not popping pills one after another no one could help if not standing directly to the person and taking direct actions.

  • mehhh….

    one thing that i think this post misses is that there is a fraction id say maybe 5% to as much as 25% at times of people that don’t even know who the dj is and may even not like emd but come to events to buy and use the drugs that are more easily obtainable and more or less expected to be at edm events. i know lots of people who listen to almost exclusively rock or metal of some kind and find raves in town to go to because they know within 20 min of getting in the door they will have scored some form of mdma.

    one thing that the post defiantly nails is the need for venues to stop gouging the price of water 1 to 2 bucks a bottle ? come on.

    also seeing more medics would be nice. i have been at shows without any med staff and had to forgo time on the dance floor because i feel bad for someone who looks like there dieing and have to escort them to the door and call a ambulance.

    i myself don’t see anything wrong with drugs or drug use at raves are party’s. its not the drugs but the lack of knowledge of the drugs that hurt people. just like guns can be much more dangerous to those who don’t know anything about them drugs are much more dangerous in the hands of people who know little to nothing about them and this is one thing that i defiantly think has the most room for improvement.

  • Anon

    Steve Aoki is always on drugs, never touched drugs myself

  • Anski

    I’m glad somebody is finally speaking about this, we were all waiting for something after the two EZOO deaths. Well-put article, and it reminds of Kaskade’s passionate rebuttal to the LA Times article about the EDM scene (a highly recommended read). As a DJ who produces events almost exclusively within the college industry, the volatility of this topic has a massive impact on everything I do. We don’t want to fall into the same trend that house music did back in the day, prompting another RAVE act (2003), so having as much straightforward transparency and education as possible will definitely help lighten the effect that the bad choices of a few will have on the many.

  • Chris Raymond

    sad to see kids dying at festivals, when it comes to MDMA and other stimulants people have a hard time issuing restraint. I think MDMA has it’s function in a well educated society, but hearing several DJ’s play “Have you see Molly” has left a bad taste in my mouth. A good non biased documentary on MDMA: