Electric Zoo 2014: 10 tips for a safe festival experience
A year after two deaths caused Electric Zoo to cancel its third day, the premier dance music festival in the North East is returning to its home on Randall’s Island tomorrow. It’s no secret, this summer’s festival season has been marred by an unfortunate number of deaths at a host of events, casting a shadow over the culture that we all call home. We believe that as a community, dance music fans need to do a much better job self-policing; taking care of not only their own well being, but taking care of others around them. Know the warning signs of dehydration, remind your friends to drink some water, offer some to a stranger next to you who looks like they may need it. Above all else, show empathy instead of apathy – if someone needs help, hold off on the Instagram and run to a medical tent. That #selfie of you saving someone’s life will get a lot more hearts.
1. Stay Hydrated.
In before the CamelBak comments. Yes, they are banned this year so you’ll just have to do a better job at staying hydrated. The festival IS allowing you to bring in empty water bottles up to 1L, so while it’s not as convenient as a 1.5-3L pack on your back it’s not exactly the worst thing in the world either. There are now three high-speed free water stations with free water cups, T-Mobile will be handing out water pouches, and if you go to any medical tent you can get water and electrolytes for free.
2. Stick together.
You came with a crew, stick with them. If your plans don’t match up, then plan to meet at specific times throughout the day. Cell service is always spotty. Make sure to turn off data and iMessage — in case you do get split up your texts may actually go through.
3. Report a problem.
Put your phone down and get help. For every social media hero video taping a girl making out with a tree there should be at least one person smart enough to get her some help. Her actions reflect poorly on the entire culture, don’t give the media more click bait.
4. Use earplugs.
The music sounds better when you can hear it. Grab some earplugs, these Downbeats are awesome for the price but there are plenty of other options if you do some basic research. Spring for a nice pair – going deaf at 22 sucks.
5. Be aware of your surroundings.
Know where the nearest medical tent is at all times and keep an eye out for anyone who you think may need help. Dance music is a community and we need to do a better job of acting like one. If you see someone who looks like they are in over their heads, help them out, keep them calm and take them to the nearest Zookeeper or EMT.
6. Remember to eat.
Blech, festival food. Electric Zoo actually has some awesome food options from local restaurants but even if Gesaffelstein and pad thai doesn’t sound appealing, be sure to eat something throughout the day. This may seem like an obvious one, but spending all your money on beer instead of food is only a good idea at the time, it’s a terrible one the next day. This is a three day event, a marathon not a sprint.
7. Respect other people’s space.
Can someone explain how you dance at an electronic dance music festival when you don’t even have enough space to scratch your own head? Give yourself some room and please stop smashing people into the barricade. To every bro in a RAGE tank top – quit being dipshits. Jack U will melt your face just as hard from 500 feet away as they will from 15 feet away.
8. Wear sunblock.
When you’re going to be standing outside in the middle of a field for 10 hours a day, you’re bound to get fried. Wear at least SPF 30 and re-apply often. Those midday sets are bound to make you sweat most of it off.
9. Dress comfortably.
We know, outfits are an important part of the experience, but make sure you are going to be able to keep cool covered in all that furry neon. You can express yourself just fine in 90 degree heat without the Kandi mask on. Plastic isn’t a breathable material.
10. Be knowledgable.
Let’s face it, the US has horrible drug policies and this isn’t going to change over night. While organizations like DanceSafe are permitted to educate fans about the dangers of drug use, it cannot set up testing stations like its European counterparts do at many overseas festivals. Great job America!
The simple solution is don’t do drugs but, if your curiosity gets the best of you, at least research and understand what you are putting into your body. After all, it’s the only one you’ll ever get. Check out Erowid and expand your knowledge before expanding your mind.
You can purchase testing kits from DanceSafe here and read up about what that “molly” really is through a host of educational articles on their blog. There’s also a harm reduction seminar tonight in NY that we encourage everyone to check out.
Not to sound like an anti-drug square, but seriously, why take “molly” in the first place? Think about this for a second: If someone handed you a bunch of white powder and said “This is Ajax, plant fertilizer, a research chemical from some bootleg Chinese lab and a dash of crystal meth” you wouldn’t ingest it right? (we hope). Guess what? chances are that’s not far off from what you are getting whenever you buy “molly” — no matter what your friends tell you.
Be smart, be safe and be helpful to those around you.