Letters to the Editor

From the week of March 1, 2001

Rave New World

Party on! I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for Laura Bond's objective and informative article on the Colorado rave scene, "Home of the Rave," in the February 22 issue. I'm a DJ here in Denver, and I play at a lot of these events. Police and the media are constantly trying to make raves out to be havens for drugs, with DJs and promoters as the dealers. I don't do drugs, and I would never sell drugs, and I think your article helped stress this to the general public.

"Ravers" are a group of people who are under the microscope these days. Made up of people who love dance music and like to dance and listen to music all night long, we are a peaceful group. Within every group, there are careless kids who want nothing more than to get high and feel good, but this is not a "rave" issue. Kids will be kids, and those who act in this manner are not ravers, just reckless youth. Highlands Ranch High School is taking a step in the right direction by teaching parents and kids about Ecstasy and other drugs instead of trying to place blame on raves and production crews.

In this day and age, there are no more raves. The day we had to get permits for them, they became large, all-night dance parties. So I feel that we, as the raving community, should be treated the same as those who attend rock concerts. Hell, we're all the same, only our music comes from turntables and not from live instruments.

Brandon Plank
Denver

Rave heart: Thank you to Laura Bond for writing such a wonderful article about the threat to the rave scene in Colorado. As a raver, I have been concerned about the legal ramifications of the recent media spotlight on raves. I've been aware that our parties are being targeted as havens for teenage delinquents and drug abusers, and I was afraid that I was seeing the end of raves in Colorado. While the threat is still upon us, I now know that there are many people who are working to keep our parties alive -- and legal.

I think it is important that the public understand that the rave scene is more than just a group of unruly teenagers. Many ravers are older than eighteen, some even ranging to 35 or older. I myself am twenty. Ravers are a subculture of present society. Every skin color, religious background, sexual preference and more can be found at a rave. We feel that we are a community, strong in shared interests, and none of us wants to see the end of our scene.

I hope that promoters and the law can work together to find common ground so that raves may continue to thrive. Laura Bond's article was the first step I've seen the media take to inform, rather than scare, the public about the rave scene.

Jenifer Shott
Broomfield

Mile higher stadium: Read between the lines of Laura Bond's rave article, and one thing becomes perfectly clear: There is a single motivating force behind local law-enforcement agencies' intolerance of "raves," and that is the current hysteria inspired by the "war on drugs," and on Ecstasy in particular. The DEA will never acknowledge the typical irony it has created: Pure MDMA (Ecstasy) is an almost entirely harmless substance, with no known side effects. However, the "war on drugs" has made the ingredients for producing MDMA virtually impossible to get and therefore very expensive. As a result, cheap and dangerous substitute ingredients are used, producing similar effects at a fraction of the cost and endangering unsuspecting users. So at least with respect to Ecstasy use, the DEA is squarely to blame for any public danger. Even so, the "protect the public" rhetoric used by law-enforcement agencies to justify closure of Denver dance events is absurd. (Those with an interest in unbiased and useful information about Ecstasy and dance culture should visit Dance Safe at dancesafe.org, an organization committed to harm reduction and popular education regarding drug use associated with dance culture.)

Statistical evidence will show that thousands of drunken idiots driving away from a football game are far more dangerous to themselves and to public safety than a few hundred E'd-out kids driving home at 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning. But when's the last time you saw one of Pat Bowlen's events getting shut down under false pretenses? Too many corporations with too much lobbying power would have too much to lose. Likewise, if the media jumped on a story anytime someone died from alcohol-related causes (the way it did over the single "Ecstasy" death of Brittney Chambers), then Coors would crumble. In the end, the only dangerously criminal activity taking place is that perpetrated against small independent rave promoters like Thomas Heath and Chris Irvin, who aren't even allowed to speak in court to defend themselves against the illegal hysteria levied against them by ignorant law-enforcement agencies.

Perhaps if the promoters could just get the taxpayers to build a rave stadium for them with corporate beverages for sale inside...

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