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EDM.com Spotlight

Amsterdam Passes Bill for Free Water at Festivals

We could learn a thing or two from Amsterdam.

One of the most ridiculous facets of going to a festival for me is how I somehow always end up spending more than I owe in student loans…on water. Thankfully, there are people in the world working toward ending my struggle. Mayor van der Laan of Amsterdam recently spearheaded a bill that was passed, requiring every outdoor festival in Amsterdam to provide free water. This has consequently encouraged me to seriously consider using the money I’d save on buying cases worth of water on a one-way ticket to the Netherlands instead.

In all seriousness though, the new bill will likely have a slight impact on the avenues of revenue available to festival organizers but overall is a bold, progressive move toward safer and healthier festival environments.

Such changes were spurred after overwhelming criticism was received this summer by various festival goers in Amsterdam about the ill-mannered behavior of security guards toward attendees who wished to simply refill their water bottles. In a broader sense, charging for water has always been a contentious gesture as it reflects an organization's willingness - no, determination - to neglect the health of their patrons for the sake of profit.

Council member Daniel van der Ree, a decisionmaker involved in this new policy, logically justified the decision when he stated that “[festival goers are] on a closed-off terrain [and] are usually exercising enormous efforts in the burning sun. This group of people should be optimally protected from the dangers of dehydration or fatigue and should thus have unlimited access to free drinking water.”

Based on these thoughts, it seems like a no-brainer that water – a basic necessity for sustaining human life – should always be free for consumption, especially at events where patrons have already spent a considerable amount of money on the ticket itself.

I hope I live to see the day when this becomes a mandate for all festivals, everywhere. It seems like too simple of an improvement to not become commonplace in due time, especially when there has been so much discussion in the media lately about how “dangerous” the EDM scene is.

If anything, this entire situation shows that it’s not the scene that is dangerous; it’s the rapid commercialization that is explicitly tied to EDM’s popularity. By placing responsibility on event organizers to ensure their customers' safety, it is definitely possible to diminish rates of dehydration and general bodily harm that unfortunately happens all too often in these environments.

[H/T: Deep House Amsterdam]

Cover photo credit: Bethany Mollenkof/Los Angeles Times/MCT

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