Editorial: Molly vs. The Music

“Where’s Molly?”

“Party with Molly.”

“Help Me Find Molly.”

These are just a few of the ludicrous phrases plastered on EDM concert goers hats and shirts. Over the past two years the hype around Molly has been steadily growing and gaining national attention from major news outlets. Based on popular opinion, drugs and electronic music go hand in hand. After the debacle of Electric Zoo in New York City where the event was canceled on it’s last day due to overdoses and deaths, it seems everyone has something to say about this “new” drug called Molly.

That’s the thing, though. This drug has been around much longer than these neon clad college students, just as electronic music has been around since before the rise of Skrillex, Swedish House Mafia and Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. The ever growing popularity surrounding electronic music has drawn larger crowds than seen in history for most of these artists in the electronic music scene.

After reading “Finding Molly: The Most Popular Name in EDM,” a few points are raised. The folks jumping on the bandwagon and further perpetuating the concept that drugs and substance abuse is the only reason these genres are currently popular, please take note.

The article begins by saying that the most recognized name at an electronic music event is not the DJ, but instead Molly. Well that just isn’t true. As an individual who has been avidly attending electronic music festivals and shows for almost ten years, it is appalling to see the new wave of drug-addled concert goers. Drugs have always existed on the music scene since before the first acid test in the 1960s, something that no one should expect to change. The heavy focus on the drugs, however, has become almost unbearable.

Until recently, Molly was never a household name, nor was it an epidemic, nor a trend. Although walking through festival grounds you could easily score whatever substance you so sought, it was not as prevalent in the past as it has become today. It seems every major name in the EDM world has made a statement surrounding the ever-increasing number of overdoses that riddle the crowds at these shows. Left and right, festival promoters are put through the ringer for the irresponsible decisions of the concert goers, and as a result, a rising tide of high tension has developed between society and the music scene. While the intentions behind the article are understood, “Finding Molly” should have kept it’s focus on what is truly important: the music.  Many of us have had times at a festival seeing someone around us go through a bad experience due to drugs, heat exhaustion or lack of hydration. This is not what highlights a music festival. It seemed throughout the entire article that music was completely irrelevant. The majority of these concert goers go see live music because they love music and always have. None of these people want to be stereotyped as a drug crazed “raver” because the genre of music they love has been overtaken by individuals who don’t properly educate themselves about the things they put into their bodies.

At the end of the article the writer talks about a personal experience where he, more or less, saved an overdosing man’s life. While it was commendable of this individual to be there when perhaps paramedics and EMTs were not, highlighting a story like this only further perpetuates the concept that this is representative of the vast majority of individuals who attend these events. Although the percentage has certainly increased in the past few years, this is not always the case. Not everyone completely annihilates themselves publicly in the name of EDM. Years ago it would have been flooring to hear that a weekend festival could have any death count come Sunday morning. These days it has become the norm, and that’s not the music’s fault. Blaming the DJs, blaming the bands, blaming the scene or the music doesn’t make any sense. The bigger picture is the influx of people who are just looking to party and consume any substance handed to them. That old saying your mother’s always threw around, “One bad apple spoils the bunch,” that holds true in this case. The majority of these concert goers are paying good money to see the artists they love, not get completely inebriated and wake up in the hospital, and in the process, drag the reputation of EDM through the mud because of these isolated incidents. The music should not become a footnote to the drug culture the surrounds such a brilliant and ever expanding music scene.

How can this change? More paramedics and more EMTs have been brought on site for almost every EDM festival nationwide and test kits have become readily available on almost every music scene to ensure that if you choose to take drugs, the ones you take are clean. Is this further promoting the excessive drug consumption that takes place at a concert? It’s hard to say, but at least it keeps these kids safe. This is not the first scene that has been overrun by drug use. Music scenes in the 60s in California,  the 70s during the disco/Studio 54 era and throughout the 80s and 90s have all had their accompanying drugs that in time shifted the focus away from the music to drug use among that scene.  It’s been the downfall of many bands, artists and scenes alike.

Overall, it is important to know what you are putting into your body. Most of the time these situations stem from lack of education. There is of course the alternative – stay away from mind altering substances all together. Who knows, maybe you’ll find out you can actually have a good time without all the chemicals.