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How to Have a Safer New Year's Eve Concert and Party Experience

These past Decadence party-goers celebrated an important principle: Be a Good Person!
These past Decadence party-goers celebrated an important principle: Be a Good Person! Miles Chrisinger
With New Year's Eve parties and concerts around the corner, let's revisit a few pro tips on how to have a safe and enjoyable experience as you say so long to 2019. Follow these guidelines (and more from groups like DanceSafe), wear ear protection and act sensibly, and you might enter 2020 with your hearing, limbs and dignity intact.

Check the Rules


Each venue has a unique set of rules, and it's wise to review what you can and can't bring and do before you head to a party or show, since some of those rules might surprise you. Can you bring glow sticks? Signs? Water bottles? Edibles? Even if you plan on breaking the rules — because who isn't smoking a joint at most Denver concerts? (and no, you can't legally do that just anywhere in Denver) — you can minimize your chances of getting busted.

Take Public Transportation or a Rideshare


Driving is a bad idea. It's expensive, and if you're inebriated, it's potentially deadly. If you're sober, bike and foot are great — and free — ways to get around. But if you're not, take public transit (RTD is largely free on New Year's Eve), or if that's not for you, consider a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft.

Have a Designated Driver and Sober Buddy


Planning on drinking, smoking, shooting, snorting or eating drugs? We're not judging. But if you're planning on compromising your better judgment, recruit a friend or a few to watch your back and get you home. Better yet, volunteer to be that sober friend, so that your buddies in recovery aren't stuck in that role again and again and again.


click to enlarge Have a ball. - MILES CHRISINGER
Have a ball.
Miles Chrisinger

Check Your Drugs

With fentanyl and other deadly synthetic opioids adulterating the drug supply, we recommend having your drugs tested before ingesting — even once safer drugs like molly. DanceSafe is a stellar organization that offers drug testing at music festivals and venues. Check with that organization to see where it will be on New Year's Eve, and don't be surprised by what your dealer's dealer's dealer's manufacturer put in your product.

Be a Good Person

We're borrowing this phrase from extraordinary Denver artist Thomas Evans – and about a million other people —  because we think it's a terrific mantra to live by. Be a good person! Be kind to people. Tip well. Buy a drinker a drink, but not too many. Share your smoke — but only if you're sure it's a clean supply. If you're sober, drive someone to their place after the celebration. Leave your weapons and temper at home, and share space kindly. There've been too many fights at concerts and parties lately, and our community needs to cut that out in 2020.

Consent Matters


Speaking of being a good person, if you want to touch, kiss, hug or pat somebody, ask for consent. Even if you're drunk. Even if they seem into it. Even when the ball drops. Even if you're sure nobody would turn you down. It's simple: "May I (fill in the blank)?" If the answer is yes, have fun. If not, don't push the point or guilt-trip the person. Just go on your merry way. And make sure that whomever you're hooking up with is able to give consent: Are they sober? Old enough? Sane? If so, go for it.

Safer Sex


If you're planning to hook up, bring condoms, dental dams and lube (and make sure you know how to use all of it). Get on PrEP. And double-down on consent. Have a good time, and make sure your partners do, too.

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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris