Electronic dance music festivals need to change, advocate says

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Attorney Robin Allweiss is a electronic dance music festival lover. She’s been to many events. But what she doesn’t love is the drug culture.

“I was not shocked to hear that there were any deaths, matter of fact I expected it,” Allweiss said about the Sunset Music Festival in Tampa. Two people died and dozens were taken to the hospital because of suspected drug use during the Memorial Day weekend festival, which was held at Raymond James Stadium. .

“First off, you know that they’re doing drugs,” Allweiss said.

There’s even a current hit on the charts called, “I Took a Pill in Ibiza.” The artist refers to an apparent real-life scenario where he took a drug at an EDM concert.

Allweiss is calling on event promoters to do more.

“So it’s very important and the promoters say this, ‘To drink lots of water.’ The problem, if you want to get bottle water can cost you anywhere from $6 and $10 for a small bottle of water. Then they say, ‘We are going to have free water lines.’ The free water lines consist of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people waiting in line,” Allweiss said.

“They need to have more areas for shade. These promoters need to have areas where people can cool off. They need to have more medical personnel surrounding the area going in and out,” she added.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has said he would be fine if the event didn’t return to Tampa. News Channel 8 reached out to the owner John Santoro but we haven’t heard back.

“That’s right. (Drug usage) is their personal choice, but the promoters are making multi-millions of dollars, the city is making money from the hotels and the artist are making upwards of a million dollars, depending on who they are. So they have an obligation knowing that there is going to be drug use to take care of the individuals who do,” Allweiss said.

Los Angeles and other cities are considering recommendations to keep the festivals safe after deaths. On Thursday a motion was made at the Tampa City Council meeting for Tampa Fire Rescue and the Tampa Police Department to create a list of best practices.

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