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Edmonton could soon make harm reduction services at shows mandatory

Various Indigo Harm Reduction Informational Goodies! (Photo: Indigo Harm Reduction on Facebook)

Stepping out as a pioneer of this type of practice in their country, the city of Edmonton, Canada is set to initiate the regular occurrence of making harm reduction mandatory at electronic music events, and truthfully, we cannot support this enough.

The proposed bylaw to oversee raves in Edmonton is now getting an insane amount of backing from both local promoters and harm reduction organizations.

“It is huge. This is what my professional community has been advocating for years,” said Shelby Young, a nurse and the founder of Indigo Harm Reduction.

The bylaw comes almost a year after efforts were made towards voting down a recommendation to completely eliminate electronic dance events. Edmonton police had referred to the events as “after-hours club parties, electronic music shows and electronic dance parties that feature fast-paced electronic music and light shows” and had implied that emergency response teams had been spending numerous late nights dealing with overdoses.

The proposed bylaw entails, among other things, the requirement of promoters to apply for a specific business license, obtaining a permit if there are more than 1,500 people attending the event, and to have a medical plan for each event couples with a harm reduction plan for each event as well.

The harm reduction services to be provided will include safe spaces, health promotion, and education about consent and safe sex. This comes additionally after the results of a survey that was presented to the committee. The survey found that 46% of respondents of festival attendees have previously experienced harassment, unwanted sexual behavior or physical violence at a large-scale electronic dance music events. In addition to that, the survey had found that 66% had witnessed harassment, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. This kind of result is startling and calls for a massive change. Not only in the rave community in Edmonton but most likely in the larger community as a whole.

For now, the bylaw remains in draft status but is expected to be more clearly structured later this year.

What do you think about this new bylaw and what it means for Canadian music events? What do you think can be improved about harm reduction at raves as a whole?  Let us know in our comments section on Facebook, and Twitter!

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