On December 22, 2011 California State Assemblywoman Fiona Ma introduced the “Anti-Raves Act of 2011.” This proposed legislation follows the death of a 15-year-old from an apparent drug overdose at the Electric Daisy Carnival in California earlier in the year. The bill, AB 74 would add a new section 421 to the California Penal Code which would read, in part, as follows:
“(a) Any person who conducts a public event at night that includes prerecorded music and lasts more than three and one-half hours is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or twice the actual or estimated gross receipts for the event, whichever is greater.”
Aside from my major anger at the blatant attack on ravers and rave culture, my first issue with this is the complete and utter violation of the first amendment, which gives Americans freedom of assembly, along with many other freedoms shot to death by this bill. In the bill’s current form, those licensed to hold public events on private property are exempt from the law, including bars, theaters, and other entertainment venues. However, it takes away the freedom of rave promoters, rave goers, block party hosts, school dances, charity events, and religious gatherings, which may take place on unlicensed private property. Obviously law enforcement agents would not be going after a 13-year-old holding their Bar Mitzvah or a charity dance, but still. Laws should apply to everyone and if a party lasting longer than 3 and a half hours playing prerecorded music is illegal for ravers, it should be illegal to all. Assemblywoman Ma claims this bill was proposed due to the death of the 15-year-old at the Electric Daisy Carnival, right? Well, last time I checked EDC took place at a licensed venue and it completely legal.
In addition, the concept of “prerecorded music” clearly attacks DJs, “electronic” artists, and those hip-hop and rap artists who rap to prerecorded tracks. Does anyone out there remember a time when live rock and roll was a sin, a sign of drug use, banned, and the records burned? Actually, when jazz first hit the scene it was scene as devil’s music and parents were told to not let their children partake. I speak from experience, if someone listens to EDM, techno, electronica, whatever you want to call it, it does not equal drug use, does not mean they’re having promiscuous sex, does not mean they worship the devil, whatever your notions about us ravers are. Some of us are sober, virgins, and believe in God. Why not target drug dealers a bit more? Why blame the DJs?
In fact, on to the drug issue. Assemblywoman Ma claims this act is due to two California citizens who died because of a drug overdose at similar events. But my question for Ma is, how many other California citizens died of drug overdoses who had absolutely no connection to the rave scene? I’m sure it’s way more than two. And again, if drugs is your issue, why not crack down on security at these events, instead of banning them altogether? Personally, I don’t care if people want to use drugs, it’s their own life and I don’t like telling people how to live their life, but I’d rather the rave scene become completely drug-free and clean than disappear.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who finds this law insulting. Are Americans so stupid now we should lose all freewill to speak for ourselves? Where is the lines drawn? First they tell us what drugs we can or cannot take [in my research I’ve found cigarettes to be far more dangerous than marijuana, and alcohol worse than E], what parties we can or cannot attend [outlaws and raves = evil and must be stopped, but we’ll allow Woodstock-look-alikes (such as Mountain Jam in upstate New York) to continue, even though they’re on just as many drugs!] , and now what music we can enjoy? Where does it end? Next we’ll be told that belly shirts and low-cut tops equal promiscuity, and booty shorts are are sure sign you’re a loose girl. The government wont cease to leave us alone until we’re living in a police state, until it’s 1984.
I apologize to my readers. This started as a commentary on the Anti Rave Act of 2011, but ended in a political rant. Please let us rave, Assemblywoman Ma, let us be.