Last year the Electric Zoo music festival cancelled the third day due to two deaths that occurred on the first two days. This year they're doing a publicity and education campaign called Come To LIfe featuring a Gen Y version of the don't do drugs PSAs that we all used to laugh at back in the day. Now people are laughing at this. That's unfortunate since most folks will likely only see the video which gives almost no useful info nor does it direct viewers to the ed material on Electric Zoo's site. Which, honestly, makes it look more like a pr manuever than anything else.
From Electronic Music Community To Electronic Corporate Culture
I'm not deeply familiar with the electronic music scene or the EDM version of same. But I do know from what I've seen in the past that there is a strong subculture out of electronic music oriented to building community and that community building includes drug education with a harm reduction orientation.
Such an approach, at the very least, assumes that drug use will continue and that education and support is needed so that such choices can be made with the least harm. That's a rational stance based on both human history and observations of current human behavior.
However, for a festival like Electric Zoo which is now owned by a publicly traded company (SFXE) that is hypersensitive to its public image as well as to internal leaks, an open approach to harm reduction is not acceptable.
At this stage one must assume that all decisions are ultimately constrained by financial concerns even though there are many fine individuals working for Electric Zoo (I'm assuming) and the larger SFXE entity (this I know).
That means two things:
No more cancelled shows due to dead people.
Big problems cause going mainstream means a bunch of fucked up people will show who want to get more fucked up.
So what do you do when you don't want to scare off drug-using customers but you also have to make it look right for politicians whose use of tobacco, liquor and cocaine are all perfectly acceptable as long as they don't go Rob Ford?
You put out a video that makes everybody laugh because we all know that guy and we're not him!
Electric Zoo: Come To Life
Check out the video. You tell me what that's designed to do and if you say, "reduce drug use," please don't tell me because it will be hard for me not to ridicule you as a) naive or b) a publicist for corporate brainrot.
Come To Life (so many jokes could fit here as a subtitle) also includes educational information and the encouragement to not do drugs because then you're more likely to avoid dying from using drugs.
They also point out that there's so much great music at Electric Zoo that you don't need drugs!
That said, they do include a list of things to watch out for indicating that someone needs emergency medical help or might be headed in that direction.
They also point out where to go for medical help, water and electrolytes and even point out that drinking too much water without replenishing electrolytes is potentially dangerous.
Even The Good Parts Of This Campaign Are Inadequate
But check out the video again. It doesn't really teach you anything other than don't act like an idiot by taking too many drugs.
On YouTube there is no additional information or link to the site with educational material.
The video itself has no link which is the worst thing. That's what most people are going to see embedded on other sites.
And even if there was a link there's no info at Electric Zoo's site for those who are going to do drugs to do so more responsibly. So that leaves out a lot of people that will most certainly be getting high as a kite and probably could have used some help in making sure they didn't buy outright poison or mess up their dosage.
Honestly this campaign could have been created by a sincere but somewhat incompetent team of people who are unclear on how best to affect drug use.
But it looks more like corporate ass covering at its most traditional.
- Don't be "that guy": Electric Zoo reveals anti-drug PSA
- Electric Zoo attendees will be forced to watch this awkward anti-drugs PSA