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Harm reduction group DanceSafe asked to leave festival

It reportedly breached its agreement with Electric Forest in Michigan

  • Mixmag staff
  • 2 July 2015

Harm reduction organisation DanceSafe was reportedly asked to shut down its booth at Electric Forest Festival in Michigan last week.

DanceSafe, a non-profit group providing health and safety information, posted on its website saying the festival's Craft Vending Coordinator forwarded complaints before asking for changes to services, which included on-site drug testing and the distribution of testing kits.

Mitchell Gomez, the DanceSafe National Outreach Director, held a meeting with a member of Madison House Presents, the festival organisers, only to be told previous, apparent agreements weren't permitted.

"During this meeting, the representative bizarrely insisted that DanceSafe had never been allowed to test onsite or sell kits, despite the fact that we have been doing so for several years and drug checking has been included in every proposal we have sent them to date.

"She also told me that I had to stop giving out the informational card we have on heroin, as it was 'too promotional'. Although I deeply disagree with ever censoring information, once again we immediately complied."

He goes on to say DanceSafe were later "ordered to immediately shut down the booth" and were denied when asked if they could leave out free water, condoms and earplugs.

Electric Forest gave a statement to YourEDM, saying DanceSafe did not stick to the initial agreement with the festival.

"Electric Forest is more than happy to work with organizations spreading harm reduction information, as long as they follow the rules all participating organizations are required to follow in The Forest.

DanceSafe was participating at EF15 as a non-profit information booth. As participants in EF's non-profit information booth program, DanceSafe was waived the standard vendor fee to support their goal of sharing information free of charge. While Electric Forest respects the mission of DanceSafe, they were asked to shut down their booth because they breached their agreement with the festival."

Read DanceSafe's full statement here and read our recent story on another drug testing group, the Bunk Police, being shut down at Bonnaroo.

[Photo: Adam Zareczny]

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