by Peter Jensch

Cigarette butts and God knows what other kinds of drugs, infiltrate your nostrils, and wreak the already dreary venue. The blackened sweat stains are darker than the eyeliner of all of the girls in attendance. Breaking through the darkness that is this over-glorified dance hall is the eye-squintingly bright neon colors. On top of that light like appendages swirl in sync in order to trance the intoxicated viewers. Subwoofer’s wavelengths work their way through the crowd as if they were shot by a “bass-cannon.”  The bass is not a sound anymore, it is a feeling that drops your gut, drops your heart, and drops the beat. The aftermath to the climax is nothing short of chaos, a sickening contortion act multiplies at a rapid rate from one person to the next. The spasm a kid experiences may be a new dance move, or the drugs may be kicking in, we may never know. The spectrum of silhouettes and lights are as frantic as the environment. No, this is not the next zombie apocalypse movie, but the outcomes of both appear the same, a rave is what this is known as. Urban dictionary defines it as “any gathering of people centered around listening to and dancing to electronic music, as played by a set of live djs.”

                In 2010, 4 deaths were caused by people overdosing at these types of events. Fiona Ma, a San Francisco assembly-woman proposed an end to raves completely. It was informally known as the Anti-Raves Act, which would prohibit “a public event at night that includes prerecorded music and lasts more than three and one-half hours” with the exception of private entities, such as bars or clubs, that have business licenses. This would not only crack down on raves but any sort of parties taking place that meet those requirements. If it were passed the violators would face a 10,000 dollar fine or twice the amount of total money generated by the party; destroying a thriving community that is rampant in both the Northern and Southern California.

            Just because of those 4 deaths, caused by clearly terrible decisions, doesn’t mean that the rest of us should have to suffer. Not everyone goes to a rave to do drugs and make bad decisions. However I do not say that a rave is a safe environment by any means. It is far from it. The first night of a now notorious dance/electronic music festival known as Electric Daisy Carnival packed 75,000 people into fairgrounds set up near L.A. That night a 15 year old girl died of an ecstasy overdose. For those of you keeping track that is 0.0013% of the crowd that died. I personally have not been to a large scale rave, but that does not stop me from holding an adamant opinion upon this bill. It is unnecessary and ignorant.

            No matter what you say, the rave and electronic music culture, or should I say counter-culture, has had an impact to you, living in lil’ ole’ Healdsburg.  This newly formed word to cater the genre, dubstep, which is so new that even autocorrect tells me it’s wrong, is slowly influencing the music you hear endlessly on repeat on the radio. There currently are people roaming the halls who enjoy listening to the lowest frequencies their eardrums can possibly fathom. Throwing that culture under the bus is wrong. I dub it insanity.