Anyone who’s actually been to an EDM show knows that dancing is exhausting. No matter how much water you pound, your mouth is in a perpetual state of excessive dryness, and your shirt invariably ends up drenched in sweat. It’s not something you typically worry about though—it’s just cardio, right? It’s good for you!
To an extent, that’s true. Exercise is a vital part of taking care of your body, and there’s no denying dancing’s cardiovascular benefits. But down on the dance floor, where population density and poor air circulation can raise the ambient temperatures to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s not just exercise anymore.
It’s the equivalent of working out in a crappy sauna.
With the elevation of body temperature that comes from exercise in a small, crowded location, heatstroke becomes a very real concern. The Paradiso 2013 death? A result of systemic organ failure caused by a body temperature of 109.5 degrees. The 2011 Bonnaroo death? Hyperthermia. We could go on, but the trend is pretty clear.
Yes, drugs massively exacerbate the problem, and are a HUGE factor in most of these tragedies, but the ultimate consequences result more often from overheating and dehydration than an outright overdose. It’s pretty easy to identify the symptoms of impeding heatstroke –the inability to sweat anymore, cramps, a loopy mindset, nausea, exhaustion, and irritability.
When ignored, these symptoms can progress into serious medical complications, resulting in hallucinations, seizures, outright unconsciousness, and in extreme cases, organ failure and death. It strikes even young, athletic individuals, especially when the symptoms are being masked by drugs.