UMass Amherst Brings Back EDM Concerts, Ups Safety Precautions
AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB) – Back in September, ABC 40 told you about UMass Amherst’s decision to cancel three electronic dance music shows after reports of students across the Northeast overdosing on drugs at these events. Now they’re bringing them back.
Six months ago, many people assumed everyone at EDM concerts was doing drugs. That’s why UMass Amherst cancelled popular EDM artists scheduled at the ullins Center. Now campus officials are saying the drug hype is over and the music is coming back.
“It’s a different time and place. Our sense from public health and police is that the availability of the drug is not really at the level it was before. It’s not an epidemic,” said Ed Blaguszewski, Spokesperson for UMass Amherst.
The university made the decision to cancel after reports of college students overdosing on the drug “Molly,” a potent form of MDMA or Ecstacy. It was a decision the concert promoters didn’t take lightly either.
“We understood the situation, the severity of what was going on and there was a lot of worry and so for us it was ‘what can we do and what can the school do so these events are safer?’” said Rich Hutchinson, Co-Founder of the concert promotion company, NVConcepts.
For future shows, free water will be offered on the floor inside the Mullins Center, increased security both inside and out of the arena, and a triage center will be set up for anyone who may be under the influence.
“Any time you throw an event, just from a responsibility stand point, we take that into account in terms of people potentially doing drugs at events. And so for us we’re focused on moving forward with the venues and trying to make those events as safe as possible,” said Tim Benito, Co-Founder of NVConcepts.
And if you’re thinking of walking through the doors of the Mullins Center in September, light sticks and beaded bracelets, also known as kandi, are allowed in. But Blaguszewski said don’t even think about bringing in alcohol or any illegal drugs.
“There’s no tolerance for illegal drugs or illegal use of alcohol and the Mullins Center staff intervenes if they see that,” he said.
Security will be doubled inside the arena, along with 13 EMTs and two ambulances on site just in case.
The first EDM concert since the hiatus is scheduled for September 19th at the Mullins Center.