The controversy surrounding Steve Aoki’s Halloween concert in Madrid last week continues as a fourth victim of the stampede has died, and a fifth remains in critical condition. Officials are still scrambling to determine what went wrong.
In response to the deaths, Madrid mayor Ana Botella declared that the government would ban all concerts of this size, referred to as “mega-parties,” on city property. In an official statement, she said, “The risk is too great when you bring together, in an enclosed space, great masses of young people, high volume, high temperatures, and, more than anything, too much alcohol.” Of course, “mega-parties” is a pretty vague term that could apply to many different types of events that take place on municipal grounds, and when called out on this point, she responded, “Everyone knows which types of events I’m referring to.” Later, an official from the Commerce Department clarified her statement by saying that only “unseated concerts and parties” would be banned, but this description still leaves some room for interpretation.
This is certainly not the first time that the question of banning raves has been brought up: In 2010, The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum imposed a temporary ban on raves after a 15-year-old girl died of a drug overdose during that year’s Electric Daisy Carnival. The ban was later lifted but sparked a push by lawmakers to ban raves across all of California.
In its original form, the Anti-Raves Act of 2011, introduced by San Francisco Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, would have banned all “public events at night that include prerecorded music and last more than three and one-half hours” in the state of California. The bill was passed in late 2011, but only after being heavily watered down in response to public outcry. Renamed the Raves Safety Act, it requires public officials to take a “threat assessment” of events at state-run facilities expected to exceed 10,000 participants. If a reasonable threat is identified, the officials must implement an “event action plan” to ensure that adequate security and medical personnel are on the scene. Translation: party on.
More recently, city cops in Edmonton, Alberta have been pushing for more strict regulations for raves following last year’s Elements Music Festival which put six people in the hospital and left a drug overdose victim with a permanent health condition. And just days before the Aoki concert in Madrid, police shut down a Sebastian Ingrosso concert that was billed as “the Biggest Dance Music Party in Long Island History” after numerous reports of underage debauchery and chaos.
Opponents of such bans argue that eliminating legal ways for young people to party will simply send them “underground,” where they are much more likely to encounter unsafe situations, and where police and health officials will be that much less likely to be able to provide crucial help.
Some artists have tried to show their sympathy for the circumstances. Yesterday, Boys Noize announced via Facebook that he has cancelled his Nov 8th concert in Madrid in response to the tragedy. The statement reads:
“Dear friends in Madrid, it is with very heavy hearts that we announce the cancellation of the Boys Noize show in Madrid on November 8th.
Due to the terrible circumstances and out of respect for the victims and their families, to whom we extend our deepest sympathy, the concert on Thursday is not going to take place.
Ticket purchasers can contact their sales point for refunds
..i will try to come back as soon as possilbe [sic]”
As the drama continues to unfold, officials in Madrid have started reviewing hundreds of hours of video footage to determine exactly how the events played out that night. Many attendees, however, point to lax security at the entrances that allowed concertgoers to smuggle in drugs, alcohol, and crucially, the fireworks that purportedly sparked the stampede.
The DJZ/10 is a collection of ten DJs that we think you should know about now. Some of them are already familiar to you, others you may have never heard of. The list is not based on (1) a secret computer algorithm, (2) social media popularity, or (3) payola. Every month or so we get together to decide if somebody from the broader A…Z directory is about to break out and should be included in the DJZ/10, or if somebody already on the list, for that matter, is “phoning it in” and deserved to be replaced by another DJ who is more worthy.×