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Are raves worth the economic boost, or are they too dangerous to justify?

Ravers dance at the
Ravers dance at the "Nature One" electronic music festival in the former US missile base Pydna near Kastellaun, western Germany, on August 6, 2011. The festival is expecting around 55,000 visitor and is one of the largest open air festival for electronic music in Europe.

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Since 2006, 14 people have died from overdoses or other drug related deaths in Southern California raves. In the past decade, rave culture has been a boon to the Southern California economy – events like the Electric Daisy Carnival in Los Angeles can bring in tens of millions of dollars yearly.

Some argue that events that involve drug culture should not be encouraged, even if they do bring in cash. Raves boost local revenue, filling hotels and providing local businesses with a steady stream of income in the days around the event. But raves also carry the risk of drug overdoses. Many participants bring drugs like ecstasy into the concert with them, and many rave-goers are high on arrival. Even though accommodations are made to help prevent the escalation of a dangerous situation (free water, long hours of public transportation), risk of injury and death is implicit when it comes to illegal drugs.

Music promoters Pasquale Rotella and Reza Gerami, of Insomniac Inc. and Go Ventures, respectively, face charges for bribery in connection to their raves at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Dissenters think that stricter enforcement of anti-drug laws and age restrictions could prevent rave-related injuries and deaths.

Should raves be banned altogether? Would banning raves put an end to drug overdoses, or could it potentially drive rave culture underground and make it more unsafe? What would be the best way to moderate these events in order to keep people safe?


Ron Lin, metro reporter at the Los Angeles Times, has been following the fallout of rave deaths in the L.A. area and across the country