In the Pacific Northwest, we take a lot of precautions in making the festival and music scene feel safe. One of the most important thing that we have is Conscious Crew. If you have been to a USC show, you have probably seen an orange shirt Conscious Crew member walking around. Their entire goal is to make the concertgoers feel safe.
After attending multiple shows, we have come up with a list of items that would make us feel the safest at a music festival! Some of this stuff on the list exists already and some do not, but these are the things that make us feel the most comfortable at a show!
1. Conscious Crew
Like we said, Conscious Crew is one of our favorite harm reduction protocols. However, there are other groups like Insomniacs Ground Control that essentially provide the same function. Seeing festivals, concerts, and/or promoters adopt similar programs across the country, would be awesome.
2. Chill out zones
Sometimes the vibes are too much. Every once in a while you need to take a break from the earth-shattering bass drops and reality-bending laser shows. Having an area to calm down a bit can really make you appreciate the former.
3. Having a way for groups to share locations
Keeping your rave crew together at a festival is next to impossible. Especially during the time the festival is starting to close down. Most festivals nowadays have some sort of app that provides varying ranges of services, but most rely on how good the cellular service is in that area. Make efforts to improve cell service at festivals can go a long way in helping keep the fam together.
4. On-site pill and powder testing
No matter what level of prohibition you put on any substance, it is still going to be consumed. However, if the goal of prohibition is to keep people safe, then this going to do a better job. Pill and powder testing can alert a user of any bad adulterants present in their score. If you have seen the documentary on the Bunk Police, you will see how many people actually toss their drugs when they find out they’re no good.
5. Safe spaces for women
Sometimes when women are at festivals alone (or even with friends), there can be times where it does not feel like a safe place. A safe zone for women to go to and have someone there to help is important for emotional and physical safety.
6. Medical staff available 24/7
Of course, at most shows and festivals there is medical staff close by, but the most important thing is to KNOW that there are medical staff available on-site 24/7. Just in case something does happen, having that peace of mind will help out a lot of people.
7. Quality earplug for free or purchase
Protect your ears, music lovers! If you do not protect your ears at shows, you can go deaf or loose hearing once older. Few festivals offer those cheap orange earplugs, which are very uncomfortable for wearing. Just having a booth that sells quality earplugs would be so beneficial.
8. Multiple water stations
Water saves lives. However, when it is over 100 degrees at a festival and you have to wait over 30 minutes to drink water, it is not acceptable. Increasing the number of water stations and decreasing that wait time to get water can actually save lives.
9. Multiple (and clean) bathrooms
We have been to a handful of shows where the wait to go to a bathroom is over 30 minutes. More bathrooms equals more comfort. Having to hold it in line is not fun considering we are also trying to hydrate ourselves throughout the day without getting dehydrated.
10. More shaded areas
Especially at a venue like the Gorge, it can get hot. When there is not enough shade, it makes it pretty hard to enjoy the show. Other than that, it can cause heatstroke when you are standing out in the sun for hours and hours. With more shaded areas, it can make the show/festival experience safer and more enjoyable.
11. Clearly labeled Lost and Found
One of the worst things that can happen at a festival is losing your phone. Having lost and found stations clearly labeled can help you find your phone faster and help you locate your friends faster. When you walk around the festival asking staff and security where the lost and found is and no one knows the answer…it does not feel settling.
The festival and dance music community is a welcoming group. We can make each other feel safe! Sometimes, all we need is just to be there for someone else and make him or her feel like they are not alone!
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