If you’ve been going to music festivals for awhile you will inevitably run into drug use, excessive drinking, and the dangers those two things can cause. Production companies have been bashed and dismembered as a result of overdoses and deaths on their watch. But instead of asking why a production company did not prevent drugs from entering a venue, maybe we should ask ourselves when we as fans will take a stand against illicit drug use and irresponsible drinking. Imagine Festival had security posted throughout the venue, but it was not enough to deter inebriated people from venturing into places they should not have been. On the third night of Imagine Festival a man ended up climbing up a 20 foot ft rail. I overheard one person ask why Imagine Festival did not have a sign up warning people from climbing the structure, but what could anyone have reasonably done to deter someone from doing that? The festival situated first responders at both sides of the speedway and in the direct center. Staff members and police officers were lined around the venue offering help but that was still not enough to hold back the actions of fans who went out of their way to create incidents.
The resilient Imagine Festival employees and first responders were on call each day of the festival to provide safety, but the festival didn’t emerge from the weekend unscathed. When accidents and overdoses occur, critics will question the competency of the staff and question why drugs were allowed into the venue. Festivals are unfairly put on blast. We are privileged to have such events to attend, where artists can express themselves and we can hear our favorite songs mixed by our favorite artists. Drug use and irresponsible drinking can take it all away. We cannot ask these venues and production companies to babysit us any longer. 72 hour drug binges threaten not only the life of those who put themselves under the influence but endanger the lives of everyone else around them.
Imagine Festival went out of the way to make sure all attendees were able to stay hydrated on days that reached 100 degrees, but complaints would pour in after the festival concluded. Some suspected that the overdoses were due to dehydration and the festival not supplying adequate water resources. As I walked throughout the Atlanta Motor Speedway I saw a pool, water stations, water slides, and an entire volunteer group supplying water for thirsty fans. When you take drugs or drink you have already started to dehydrate yourself before you even step out into the sunlight and sweat. It puts you at greater risk for overdosing, which lays the fault of being dehydrated and overdosing at the feet of attendees.
This festival took a lot of hate and backlash for actions taken by attendees that can’t always be prevented. We in this music industry and those who love the music for what it is need to take a stand against drugs and alcohol abuse. In the blink of an eye it can all be taken away from us. Be responsible , take care of one another, and for the love of the music take control of your music scene.
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