No one in recent memory, has done more to publicly combat EDM’s reputation as a drug-fueled culture than Kaskade. He starred in URB Ecstasy PSA, a public service announcement regarding the dangers of drugs, and especially ecstasy in 2013. He is open about his own sobriety. Now, he’s taken to his blog to call out what he sees as an unfair stigma associated with dance music, particularly in reaction to a report from the LA Times blaming HARD’s decision not to host Day of the Dead this year on drug overdoses that occurred during HARD Summer 2016.
Last week, HARD revealed that Day of the Dead (DOTD) would not take place in 2016 – marking the first year the event production company has not held a Halloween event in the Los Angeles area since establishing HARD Haunted Mansion in 2008. Dispelling rumors that DOTD had been cancelled in response to the deaths at this year’s HARD Summer, spokeswoman Alexandra Greenberg commented, “HARD decided earlier in the year not to schedule it this year for production reasons. Preparing for two festivals at two new locations (HARD SUMMER and HARD Day of the Dead) so close together would have been too much of a strain on their resources.”
Despite the truth of Greenberg’s statement, Los Angeles Times posted an article entitled, “After a summer of deaths, popular Halloween rave won’t be held,” analyzing the circumstances leading to HARD’s inability to establish a permanent venue for Los Angeles events, and quoting statistics of substance abuse-related deaths at raves.
Reacting the published news, Kaskade wrote on his blog “Let’s not pretend this is an isolated problem, something unique to dance music culture,” Kaskade writes. “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every day in America 27 (TWENTY-SEVEN!) people die as a result of drunk driving crashes. That’s more than one person, per hour, every single day.”
“I’m happy to tackle substance abuse,” he continues. “I’m happy to use my influence to encourage people to be responsible, to stay alive. But this is a world-wide problem, something that is not even close to being unique to dance music. Part of the problem is people trying to simple-size it. Raves = drugs. So close them down.”
“Not going to work, and we all know it. Time to devote your column inches to some real stories. The war on drugs is a farce. There are better answers than regurgitating the same alarmist solutions that have never worked, which will NEVER work. Try this on: education, harm reduction and legalization.”
As a mormon, Kaskade is staunchly sober for religious reasons. His frank acknowledgment that the war on drugs is a “farce” cannot be misconstrued to be an apologist statement. Los Angeles Times amended their article to reference the producer’s comments after his article’s publication.
Read Kaskade’s full post on his website.