The city council committee in Edmonton, Canada has ruled to halt the proposed ban on raves and electronic music events in order to assess the legislation after seeing a harm reduction report.
According to the Edmonton Journal, Ward 6 Coun. Scott McKeen spoke to a packed room at a meeting recently to touch on the public response that took place after the rave ban proposal was made public: “So, we can continue to party... We got a really good response from the industry and from passionate enthusiasts today to tell us — and I think remind us, too — that we were maybe looking too closely at one element in our entertainment sector.”
The initial proposal called foran “immediate moratorium on electronic music and dance parties referred to as ‘raves’” in the provincial capital of Alberta. This motion was linked to concerns over public safety due to a number of incidents that the Edmonton police services claim to have put “a strain on the city’s emergency resources.”
This included an incident when 18 people were treated for drug-related illnesses at a 5000 person rave, as well as concern from Mary Jane James with the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE) who claimed there was a sharp increase in calls to her organization’s crisis line after a weekend when numerous raves were taking place
At the recent meeting, McKeen spoke about how prohibition simply does not work: “People are going to get intoxicated in some context and we can’t change that. As much as we don’t want people to use illicit drugs, they are going to. And so we want to make sure they are well-informed of the perils of doing so, especially mixing it with alcohol.”
According to the Edmonton Journal, Viet Nguyen of Boodang Music Canada also recently spoke about what harm reduction tactics event organizers are doing in other cities: “One of the solutions other cities told us is that they have better on-site medical. We have medics and we have paramedics at our events, but what we don’t have is on-site physicians and nurses to take that impact off city services. They can remedy symptoms quicker, on site, and send patients on their way.”
Before implementing some kind of a solution to incidents that occur at raves, the community and public services committee will wait for a preliminary report from the administration on harm reduction strategies, which is set to be delivered October 3 while the final report arrives in 2019.
In the UK, a report on harm reduction is calling for drug testing stations in night time economy hotspots. Bestival has also announced it will have drug testing facilities for the first time to allow any of the 50,000 attendees to test narcotics to see if they have dangerous levels of intoxicants or poisons without fear of being arrested. Other clubs and festivals are sure to follow suite.
Harrison is Mixmag's East Coast Editor. Follow him on Twitter here