TomorrowWorld is this coming weekend in Chattahoochee, Georgia and given the recent high profile deaths and overdoses it’s great to know that Dancesafe is being accepted at a large festival to assist. They will not be testing pills but their presence offers a place that party goers can visit for some honest and non judgmental information. TomorrowWorld has stepped up to the plate. Insomniac, Ultra Music Festival, Made Event, HARD, etc.. it’s your turn! Seeing a Dancesafe presence at every major festival going forward (provided Dancesafe has the resources) would go a long ways towards educating those attending events.
We also wanted to edit to say that Insomniac already does a great job with harm reduction with their Ground Control team and also always offering free water refill stations. Dancesafe isn’t the solution to issues but they provide an additional element of support and education.
Dancesafe was founded in 1998 by Emanuel Sferios and shortly after that quickly expanded with local chapters in many cities around the United States. A Dancesafe table today will have the same things that one did at that time typically offering free water (bring a cup), earplugs, condoms, information packets and volunteers who are knowledgable about drugs and the culture and willing to have a conversation.
Free pill testing used to also be common at events. To a lot of people now that sounds sketchy, weird and a sense of paranoia sets in but security was always aware of what was going on and the police as well if they were present. No one was stalked or creeped on by security to bust them walking away from the table with drugs, everyone knew it’s purpose which was to keep people educated on what they were doing and it worked. Whether you call it Molly, MDMA, Ecstasy or any other term if that’s your drug of choice your best bet is to purchase a testing kit from Dancesafe or BunkPolice.
I helped found a local chapter in Buffalo, NY in 1999 with some friends when we saw our local scene expanding rather rapidly and it concerned us. We weren’t concerned about the expansion of the scene at the time but more concerned about the safety of everyone after seeing overdoses become common. The local chapter was a small group of us and some of us met for the first time at the first planning meeting. We setup at events throughout Western New York from 1999 through 2002. We wanted to make a difference and took action and that’s something anyone can still do in their local scene. It may not be as easy convincing a club owner to setup a table but you’ll never know until you try. We thought it was crazy that we’d ever be able to as well but soon enough we established ourselves and even had promoters donating money to help us purchase supplies.
Everyone needs to remember to be responsible, educated and smart about their actions whether it’s at a club, music festival, after hours or just hanging out at a friends house. If there’s ever a time you, a friend or a stranger your talking to isn’t feeling well don’t waste any time finding an EMT or security at an event or calling 911.
An interview was conducted with Carissa Cornwell, the National Outreach Director for Dancesafe, by Thump (the electronic music channel of Vice) about their presence at TomorrowWorld and here’s a snippet:
I used to see DanceSafe tables out all the time and then it seemed like you disappeared. Why is that?
In the beginning we had chapters everywhere. But after all of the RAVE Act stuff went down, promoters were scared to have us at their events because they thought by having us there it meant there was drug use going on.
Super lame. So chapters had a hard time sustaining, not to mention there weren’t as many dance music-based events happening at that time. The whole industry seemed to die down after the Rave Act but now it’s back and bigger than ever.
How is it different now than in 1999?
The market was very different. It was more of a pressed pill market. Back then it was very rare for me to do a test and have it not come up as a positive for MDMA. At one point I remember thinking that my testing kit wasn’t working correctly! All the MDMA capsules we tested were always sketchy. And now its capsules everywhere and hardly any positive tests for MDMA. Bath salts all day! Scary. Almost half of people we surveyed last summer said that they had taken something that they had no idea what it was.
So if you were to send someone out to a festival, how would you tell them to party realistically, without telling them “Don’t do drugs”? Like a DanceSafe party guide.
Drink water, wear sunblock, bring good shoes, eat something, take care of your friends. And test it before you ingest it. Always! Educate yourself and look out for others.
Take the time to reach out to Dancesafe if your interested in trying to make a difference in your local scene.