A friend of mine posted this on FB. I had to take it to post here because I’ve been passionate about this issue since Sunday. And I haven’t even attended Ultra in over a decade. But I love that music and love that scene and still go to other parties around Ultra each year. All this event needs is a little better planning safety-wise and perhaps a little more help from police OUTSIDE of the festival, as the security guard getting trampled (the incident everyone is jumping on this year as reason to ban the festival from Miami) happened outside and involved NON-TICKET HOLDERS. So here is my friend’s perspective, which I totally agree with.
"Each year I have attended (Ultra) I have the time of my life, and I’m humbled by it more each year. Whenever I leave however, it’s only THEN that I find out about all of these horrible things that frequently occur OUTSIDE of the park. It’s truly a terrible thing that happened to that CSC employee, but once again it’s another situation that occurred because of our own citizens, not the high-paying ticket holders. Many officers of the City of Miami agree the trouble is not generated from inside the park, but rather outside. Once again, it’s our own citizens who are ruining it for the thousands that attend each year. I see police standing at their post all day long in the park with little or no activity, perhaps we should move some of these officers outside to control those who ultimately are in NO WAY related to this event, yet somehow become the heart of its reputation. Ok, so 20-year-old Jane overdosed at Ultra Music Festival. What fraction of people actually overdose and die of the thousands that attend? Perhaps <1-5%? Tell me how such an insignificant value in any other situation suddenly becomes adequately significant to condemn this festival. Why do I need to sacrifice my enjoyment, and even worse, be so easily labeled and judged because of the young adults whose misguided choices sadly costed them their life? The first person responsible for your safety is YOU. The media posts stories about people dying because drinks are laced with random chemicals? Who is the idiot who leaves their drink attended and comes back for it? I have yet to ever witness such a crime, or any other act of violence in the seven years I’ve been there. Now I am not blind. I do see many attendees each year who are clearly under the influence of something or other. Remind me how that affects me, commonly standing near these individuals, or much less, you, who has never attended such as festival, yet feel so strongly about what you think the nature of this festival is about? After 7 years of attendance, I can securely state and emphasize this again and again: It’s not a want of drugs, it’s a want of PERSONAL FREEDOM, and Ultra successfully provides this to us for three short days of the year. Yet the media’s emphasis on the few negative experiences compared to the thousands of positive experiences (which of course are always overlooked) somehow gain the power to define the overall nature of this festival to the public. You want a genuine definition of the TRUE nature of Ultra? It’s a sense of peace and enjoyment and a feeling of connectivity throughout the masses that I have yet to ever experience anywhere else. There’s always an atmosphere that everyone is on the similar level, to relieve stress and simply enjoy the music. So why doesn’t the media focus on this general, significantly more common experience? Well, that’s just bad news of course."
-I couldn’t agree more and think Miami should help make this event better because it brings millions of dollars to the city each year and keeps Miami on the global map. If Miami wants to be a world-class city, it needs to be able to handle world-class events. Turn Ultra away and the next big event that considers Miami for its site will look at their lack of ability to handle Ultra, think the city isn’t up to the task, and just take their event elsewhere. Hell, the Super Bowl and college football are already turning their back on our fair city.
Also, I think this is all a knee-jerk reaction and two-faced. People get too drunk and arrested every night in every city in America, yet we’re not proposing banning bars. People get into drunken fights at sports events everywhere, yet we’re not proposing to ban sports. Even last year when thousands of idiotic Heat fans left a Finals game early and then attempted to rush back, we didn’t propose to ban basketball. Meanwhile a bunch of kids are having a good time (and yes, a lot of them doing some drugs) dancing to some music and yet the city wants to shut this down when the actual event patrons had no hand in the incident. Sorry, that doesn’t fly with me. So I say get your hands a little dirty, City of Miami, and work to keep Ultra here as opposed to forcing it out.
Why oh why is it that electronic music (EDM, techno, house, dance, rave and whatever subgenre you want to label it as) causes that sensation… that euphoric feeling… zoning out? And especially, why does the club/rave atmosphere help induce that?
It has long been my theory that electronic music (and for me in particular, breaks, progressive house, drum & bass, which are my favorites) taps into untouched reaches of the brain. The sounds are not of your everyday variety. They aren’t sounds we’re used to hearing. So once you do, once you get put in that environment… loud bass, flashing lights, crowded room… it’s sensory overload! At that very moment you have doors of perception opening in your mind.
They say we only use about 10% of our brain. Now, I’m not trying to theorize that if you listen to enough of this music that eventually you’ll be able to levitate chairs, though pop enough pills and it actually might feel that way. However, that music, that environment, opens doors in the mind. You might not become smarter, but you’ve gained another perspective. In that moment your body and brain are feeling and perceiving in ways it hadn’t previously. Mind you, I say this as a veteran of many a jam. And every time I attend another one there is always something new… some new thought, feeling, or sensation.
This is not done by accident by the producers of this music. Even going back to the ’60s with psychedelic rock, those musicians knew playing certain sounds and notes or combinations of notes and effects, that was affecting brain waves in the audience. The presence of drugs just leant itself to it. Drugs are the stage, music is the agent.
And so now modern day artists have continued in this experimentation. Renowned producer BT, it has long been said, studies brainwaves to determine what sounds have what effect and timing emotional peak within a composition. You might also consider the recent video that went viral of a 40-yr-old deaf woman who through implants was finally able to hear for the first time. She couldn’t hold the tears back as it was visibly apparent that after a lifetime of not hearing those first sounds were almost overwhelming in a sense.
The auditory experience is a powerful one. We depend on it so much that we can often take it for granted. But know that sound is a powerful drug to the mind, perhaps THE most powerful of all the senses. Smell makes us salivate. Taste provides our hunger for life. Sight allows us to take in the beauty of our world. Touch warns us. Sound… sound makes us move. And music makes our bodies move in ways it is not used to on a daily basis. Music conjures emotion.
Rave is for the other 90% of our brain.