Fighting to Keep EDM Alive: Meet the Group Standing Up for Your Right to Rave
After three drug-related deaths at different EDM events in Los Angeles, California this summer, LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis proposed a ban against EDM and the LA County Board of Supervisors approved the formation of the Electronic Music Task Force. What many do not know is that the county is still deliberating over what to do, and a complete ban on EDM “remains a possibility” per the motion brought by County Mayor Michael Antonovich and Hilda Solis.
A series of meetings with the Task Force began, and they have just concluded, but the decision is still out. This is the first article in a series that will be reporting on the meetings leading up to the decision in the last meeting, which will be in January but is TBA.
There was one organization that stepped up to make sure EDM would not be unconstitutionally banned or discriminated against during these meetings: EMA.
The Electronic Music Alliance was not launched purely to protect the EDM community, but the organization considers this one of its responsibilities whenever it’s necessary. Their main focus is harnessing the great amount of positivity in the community to encourage philanthropy, ecology and high industry standards.
These Task Force meetings in LA are not the first time EMA has stepped up to protect the future of dance music, however.
“Anyone that has been part of this community for a long time or at least interested in it knows that historically we have always needed some sort of protection, especially after the RAVE Act,” said Janine Jordan, founder and chair of EMA.
Remember the RAVE Act? No? Here’s a refresher…
The Reducing Americans’ Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act, or the RAVE Act, was a bill sponsored by Senator Joe Biden that was referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary in June of 2002.
"A bill to prohibit an individual from knowingly opening, maintaining, managing, controlling, renting, leasing, making available for use, or profiting from any place for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, or using any controlled substance, and for other purpose."
The name of the bill was changed to Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act, attached to the child-abduction AMBER Alert Bill and passed in April of 2003.
The bill’s utterly vague and catch-all language has had an immense impact on EDM events as promoters and organizers are sometimes hesitant to implement certain safety or harm reduction measures for fear of criminal prosecution.
You can read more about the bill’s damaging effects on the EDM community here: https://www.amendtheraveact.org/
Jordan believed that EDM members needed to unite and organize in order to be able to push back against future regulation that could potentially harm the community.
“Everyone knows the saying that history repeats itself… I take that seriously I suppose.”
Jordan formed EMA in 2009 with co-founders Monica Salazar and Ken Jordan of Crystal Method. One of their first moral supporters was well-known EDM promoter and party purveyor Disco Donnie as well as Simon Lamb of the Insomniac Events legal team. EMA was formed just in time to fight the Fiona Ma's Anti-Rave Act.
This was a bill introduced in 2011 after multiple deaths took place at electronic music events in San Francisco and Los Angeles. It originally sought to ban all EDM events including Electric Daisy Carnival from any publicly-operated venues.
Monica Salazar represented EMA in Sacramento joining the "Save the Rave" effort. Together, the organized group of lobbyists, promoters and community members were able to remove the the word "rave" from the original federal act and deflate some of the bill’s most “audacious demands,” as Jordan described them.
“Although some legislation was passed, the efforts of everyone that went up to Sacramento actually worked in watering down the outcome… I do not doubt that if we had not gone up there to fight for our scene, the outcome could have been much different."
Stay tuned to this series as we relay what went on during the Task Force meetings and report on the final decision that could make or break the future of EDM in Los Angeles.
Cover photo by (SIC) Images
I'm a storyteller at heart, and music makes my world go round.