Let’s face it: Our scene gets a bad rap from a mainstream media that doesn’t entirely understand us. It’s a story as old as music in America itself, dating all the way back to the early days of jazz clubs and big band, spanning the rise of rock in the 50s and 60s, disco in the 70s, and hip-hop in the 80s and 90s. Whatever music “the kids” are listening to, that’s what gets deemed as “evil” by the elder generation. For the global EDM community, this is only exacerbated by constant reports of arrests, drugs, deaths, and hospitalizations following virtually every major festival.
With all this being so, it’s been a long time coming for someone to finally tell the whole story. Even our own local news outlets in Seattle have failed us of late. They’ve deemed events like FreakNight and Paradiso hotbeds of debauchery and drug use, and ignored the massive amount of time and effort spent in making those events safe. Finally though, we have a story of our scene that’s about as fair and accurate as we could ever hope for, thanks to CNN’s own Lisa Ling.
Ling herself admits to being a part of the rave scene for years, evidenced by the title of her EDM-centric exposé, “I was a 90s rave queen.” It comes paired with an episode of Ling’s show, This is Life, where she dives in headfirst to the modern festival experience at Mysteryland this last year. The episode is reflective, fair, and most importantly, realistic concerning what raves have become today. She notably highlights the need for pill and powder testing, as well as best-practice safety precautions like rest and hydration. At one point, she even sits down with the Bunk Police, the organization that famously snuck 15,000 drug testing kits into the Mysteryland campgrounds.
Above all else, Ling’s status as a CNN reporter gives the modern rave scene far more credibility than any of her contemporaries in the industry. She’s equal parts understanding of festival-goers, and concerned about the safety of a generation that in many ways feels indestructible. We as millennials have a considerable case of “it can’t happen to me,” and Ling’s comprehensive report is a much-needed reality check. Personal responsibility is tantamount to survival, and it’s refreshing to see it emphasized in a way that doesn’t sound like it’s coming from the pastor in Footloose.
All of this is driven home by the simple fact that at her core, Ling is very much one of us. She admits to having tried MDMA during an experimental phase of her life in college, was into the early rave scene of the 1990s, and understands the love and acceptance rooted in the culture. You can see for yourself in a clip from Ling’s episode of This is Life below, and read all about her experience at Mysteryland here. Perhaps the mainstream media has finally turned a corner in their perception of the rave community, or at least begun to understand where we’re coming from. Let us know what you think on Facebook and Twitter, or simply comment below!