Mad Decent Block Party: Where’s the PLUR?

Diplo’s Mad Decent Block Party captures the attention of young people all over the country as an enticing, wild event for music lovers. But how wild is too wild? Although MDBP traveled to my area months ago, the scarring events from that night still haunt my memories today. What was advertised as an exciting night of music and dancing turned into a terrifying experience, and will forever be burned into my brain as one of the worst nights of my life.

Where do I even begin? For one, the event center and staff were completely inadequately prepared for the masses that assembled for the show that night. From what I could gather, there were various, confusing lines leading into the event that were running in a totally disorganized fashion. Two to three hour waits were common just for people to actually enter the facility. I was lucky enough to see glimpses of What So Not’s performance from behind the chain-linked fence as I patiently waited my turn to get in. As we filed into the event center like sheep heading into slaughter, I could hear the angry echoes of chatter all around me. Why were they not equipped for the amount of people that were coming to the show, knowing that it was going to be such a massive event? Either way, getting through the seemingly endless line was easily the least of the worst of the occurrences that were to come that night.

As I reminisce on the evening as a whole, my body violently trembles with terror. Of course I anticipated people to be on all kinds of substances at this place. Going to a rave and not expecting to see people on drugs is like going to an aquarium and not expecting to see any fish. But the individuals at MDBP were on a completely different level, a level I had never witnessed before and hope to never witness again. Never before had I observed humans evolving into animals as it occurred that night. I remember a young girl racing in circles around me, arms flailing about, shrieking loudly as if she were possessed by a demon. She probably was. Throughout the show, I saw dozens of lifeless souls being pulled away on stretchers from overdoses. I had never before in my life seen that many people that messed up in any one place at a time.

This was a different type of crowd than what I was used to. The typical PLUR (Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect) attitude of most ravers was completely thrown out the window that night. I was shoved—shoved violently—at least a dozen times that evening by various angry animals. I had never been aggressively pushed at a rave before, and I’ve had my share of experiences at raves. I’m not sure what these people were on, but many of their faces were completely grey: skeleton-like, almost. As Yellowclaw came on, the rapey vibes became rampant in the crowd. Sweaty, disrespectful, trashed boys were grabbing their female prey left and right. Apparently some girls were raped during the show that night, and I’m not the least bit surprised based on the type of mob that was there. It was like a drug-infested jungle, filled with soulless individuals that were way too far gone. Images of lifeless creatures all gathered in a mass will forever be scorched into my brain from that night. I couldn’t look into their eyes for too long for fear that I would get sucked into their pit of darkness.

When the show was over, exiting the premises was something similar to what you would see in a zombie movie. Drones of individuals were repeatedly following a line that only lead to a corner, a complete dead-end. I looked up and saw a fence entirely being smashed down by a mass of creatures. Herds of beasts trampled over the metal wiring like it was the easiest way out of the place, because it probably was. Anger and frustration lingered as the overall vibe in the air while we exited the Mad Decent grounds. More bodies were being pulled onto stretchers as the masses cleared and the emergency medical team recovered the individuals left behind. The only thing I can relate the event to was a zombie apocalypse, and the ‘music lovers’ were the zombies.

I remember calling my mom the next morning to relay to her the traumatizing events from the previous night. What I had thought was going to be an enjoyable evening of music and dancing with friends turned into one of the most horrific experiences of my life. So how do we respond to events like MDBP?

For one, I will never again attend a Mad Decent Block Party for as long as I live. I can’t blame the artists for the insanity that occurred that evening, and I can’t even fully blame the underprepared staff that was holding the event. I place most of the liability on the individual actions of those in the crowd. You can’t change people, and you certainly can’t change people on drugs. However, we are all accountable for our own actions and behaviors, regardless of the circumstances. If every person responded to the situation with patience and love instead of anger and rage, the night would have folded out a lot differently. I don’t care what substances you choose to take; it doesn’t give you an excuse to behave in an animalistic manner. Whatever happened to PLUR? Choosing for yourself to act appropriately and respectfully at shows is the only way we can combat the negative vibes. We cannot allow a destructive atmosphere to corrupt raves, which are supposed to be an environment of fun and acceptance. Making a change starts with you, and we can help share the message to our friends that keeping in mind the ways of PLUR are not only crucial in everyday life, but at music events as well. Leading by example is the only way we can contest against the negativity that is manifesting its way into the crowd at raves.

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