For many, raves are about peace, love, unity, and respect, but for one attendee of Electronic Daisy Carnival in 2015, his use of drugs resulted in death and his parents are now suing promoters Live Nation and Insomniac for negligence.
24 year old Nicholas Austin Tom took MDMA, known as ecstasy and molly. As the Las Vegas heat rose to soaring temperatures, he suffered a seizure and collapsed. His parents allege medical staff took more than 30 minutes to treat his condition. Insomniac responded to the original incident:
Participating in illicit drug behavior can have tragic consequences and we hold a strict zero tolerance policy for illegal activity while continually educating our fans on the dangers of drug use.
At this year’s EDC, one festival-goer died with a high temperature, indicative of MDMA usage; however, the exact cause remains undetermined.
Drugs and raves have a complicated and murky history, with the popular narrative stereotyping ravers as uniformly drugged-up. Pop legend Madonna infamously asked the crowd at Ultra in 2012 if they’ve “seen Molly” and attempted to play it off as a reference to the Cedric Gervais hit. However, the truth is far more banal with attendees oftentimes choosing sobriety in favor of the music.
The stereotype is challenged by electronic dance music best ambassadors—the DJs themselves. After GQ published an unflattering profile, Avicii rejected the characterization his fans are drug-users as a “disgusting picture”. Kaskade, a devout Mormon, has a practical take on the issue. Emphasizing that raves do not equal deaths but also acknowledging some people do use, he advocated for safety through education and awareness:
I’m happy to use my influence to encourage people to be responsible, to stay alive. But this is a world-wide problem, something that is not even close to being unique to dance music.
Meanwhile, EDC’s official policy bans illegal substances.