In a recent string of tragic deaths at dance music festivals (1,2), a rising concern for the safety of attendants has become a focal point of attention. It is time for the industry as whole to pivot towards new health and safety strategies and mitigate what has sadly become a common occurrence. In a proactive first step, Insomniac’s Director of Health and Safety, Maren Steiner, and Consciousness Group Volunteer Manager, Patt Ochoa, took to Reddit for a candid AMA (Ask Me Anything). In this, they discussed “precautions the company takes to ensure the well being of its attendees and how Insomniac works to educate all members of the dance music community on looking out for one another.”
Here are a few key takeaways:
1. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for help.
“There’s a myth out there that people will be arrested for seeking medical attention and we’re partnering with local law enforcement agencies to educate our fans that this is absolutely not the case. Everyone from the security guard at the gate all the way to the police officer protecting the backstage area wants to help you. You just have to not be afraid to speak up.”
2. How Insomniac educates fans at shows:
“Through our work with the Brent Shapiro Foundation, every single guest who comes through our entrance gate gets information in our festival guide on what signs and symptoms to look for when someone might need help and what to do to get someone the assistance that they need.”
3. …and outside of shows:
“Our Consciousness Group also has its own Facebook page, which puts out positive quotes about living a clean and sober life. The Facebook page also gives out information before and during the entire festival giving folks information they need to find support for themselves, for family and for friends.”
4. Insomniac gives back to the local community:
“They also don’t talk much about our charitable giving programs that you guys help with. $1.00 of your ticket purchase goes into a fund to help a local charity in the city that we’re in.”
5. On promoting sober raving:
“Sober is a lifestyle. At Consciousness Group our volunteers live a sober life and talk to folks about the fun they are having while at the festival, WITHOUT drugs or alcohol. People are attracted to the fun aspect. We bring people into the tent giving support and making friends to hangout throughout the festival.”
6. Don’t be afraid to step in if you see trouble.
“If you find someone who you think needs help please walk them to the nearest first aid station or find any Ground Controller or staff member and we’ll get someone out to help right away. Medical is here to help you whether you just need somewhere quiet to sit for a bit, have a bad blister from your new fuzzy boots or aren’t feeling well. Please don’t be afraid.”
7. How to remove the stigmas and negativity that surround raves:
“The best thing we can do is to be the example of the message that we are carrying. I talk a lot about the fun that I am having clean and sober at every festival.”
8. If you have ideas to expand Insomniac’s health, safety and sober programs:
“Like us on our Facebook page to message us your ideas.”
9. Interested in working for Ground Control at upcoming events?
“Ground Control is always looking for great people interested in helping others. Spruce up your resume and send it to Groundcontrol@insomniac.com”
10. Insomniac’s safety video hits home: