I’ll admit it – despite having been in the electronic dance music scene for over ten years and working in the field of drug policy for almost that long, going to Atlanta to volunteer with DanceSafe was my first time providing direct service drug education and harm reduction outreach. (More on why I went in this blog post.)
As with nearly all first times, you get that strange déjà vu-like sense of experiencing something you had already heard about, and in some ways already knew was true. For me, it was the exhaustion of the long days (we would leave our hotel to get to the Tomorrowworld site at 10 a.m. and not get back until 3:30 a.m.) and the sense of being a step outside the party itself (as a member of the crew, it’s interesting to be able to roam the grounds wherever you want but it’s also a strange feeling to be in a constant state of focus within an environment devoted to abandon). But most importantly it was getting the thank you’s.
Of the over 10,000 visitors to DanceSafe’s booth (we counted), a huge number of them expressed gratitude for what DanceSafe was doing – providing drug information and free water, condoms and earplugs, not to mention a lounge type area for people to take a break from all the madness. “You guys are awesome,” was a common statement. “You should be at every event.”
We at the Drug Policy Alliance think DanceSafe should be at every event too. And we want to pass some of the gratitude that DanceSafe received from Tomorrowworld attendees along to its promoters, ID & T. ID & T are the first major promoters to proactively seek out DanceSafe’s services, cover the costs of their attendance, fully integrate them into the event as crew, and actively work with them on safety messaging.
And while DanceSafe’s presence was not the only factor, it no doubt helped the positive outcome the festival has seen – early new stories post-Tomorrowworld stated that there were “no fights, no arrests, and only 17 medical transports reported.”
We want to thank ID & T for being leaders in prioritizing their attendees’ health and safety and for inviting DanceSafe to provide their services. If you agree, I hope you’ll sign this pledge of support that DPA will deliver to the folks at ID & T.
We’re hoping that what ID & T has done will be a model for other U.S.-based festival promoters, and even those from elsewhere around the world.
Stefanie Jones is the events manager for the Drug Policy Alliance.
Photo by DanceSafe.