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Banning Lights Does Not Solve The Root Of Rave Problems

Lauren Tarnofsky |
January 27, 2011 | 10:20 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

LED Lights (Creative Commons/Daniel Zana)
LED Lights (Creative Commons/Daniel Zana)
Recently Insomniac, the organization that puts on popular rave events like Electric Daisy Carnival and Hard Haunted Mansion, has released a statement that they will no longer allow LED lights into their events. 

 USC President Max Nikias supported Insomniac’s statement with one of his own, urging students to be “cognizant of your choices and to make wise decisions during your time at USC,” for raves “present serious risks to all who attend.”

Removing LED lights from Insomniac is like taking Santa Claus out of Christmas because it's not politically correct. Santa will always be a central icon of Christmas and the smörgåsbord of December holidays and LED lights will always be a part of raves. 

 Insomniac’s owner, Pasquale Rotella, claims, “although there are many who use these lights 
as an
 art form, the image that it creates when groups of music fans are
 sitting or lying on the floor gazing at the designs reflects poorly
” upon Insomniac and raves themselves. 

While the implication of drugs in Rotella's statement are done by some people at raves, this does not in any way mean that “all who attend” Insomniac events, as Nikias proposes, need to participate in consuming drugs. 

Giving LED light shows via small lights on the finger tips of gloves has become somewhat of a hobby, a sport, or just something fun to do at raves. They are not posing a threat to anybody. LED lights are not drugs. They are not guns. They are lights!

But what about the fire hazard of people sitting on the floor in packed arenas? Well, what about the fire hazard that thousands of people “moshing,” trampling, and socking each other in the face at a metal concert creates? If you are sitting in the middle of the floor in a large arena, you ought to know that there is a chance you might get stepped on or hurt.

While it is laudable that Nikias and Insomniac are making an effort to reach out to students and rave-goers alike, the cries for safety should not be coming from a university president and the founder of Insomniac. Those cries should instead come from parents, teachers and peers.

Preventing people from bringing LED lights into raves will only force ravers to find new and potentially more dangerous methods of bringing them in and using them. Even local vendors outside of the Coliseum, the Shrine, and other popular rave event centers in Los Angeles have caught onto the sensation and rave enhancement that glow sticks and LED lights provide and are trying to cash in on their popularity by pandering to ravers.

The LED lights are not the issue; drugs are the issue, and that stems from something deeper than flashing streaks of purple, blue, red and yellow.

Reach Lauren here.



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