An overdose death or a major security incident is any concert promoter’s nightmare, marring what should be a joyous communal event. But one major festival is choosing an unusual way to respond to tragedy: essentially blaming teenagers for their security issues and banning anyone under 18 from attending their event.
About 60,000 people annually attend each day of the Ultra Music Festival in downtown Miami every March; at this year’s event a security guard was trampled by gatecrashers, and a 21-year old man died of an accidental overdose, the second such incident in the event’s 16 year history. Organizers announced this week that no one under 18 would be allowed at the 2015 festival, saying in a statement “This decision has been made to reinforce and promote the safety of all Ultra Music Festival fans and to ensure the overall enjoyment of all future attendees.”
The very first music festival probably took place in a small clearing, just a pterodactyl’s throw from the main cave; the manufacturers of crude stone implements no doubt sponsored the one after that.
Woodstock came later, demonstrating huge demand for music, drugs and the communal experience. With recorded music revenue in a protracted free fall, the live space has become an even greater industry obsession…