Who knew raves still even happen? Assemblywoman Fiona Ma stirred up a hornet's nest before leaving for holiday break this week when she announced her intention to ban raves on public property. The move comes after numerous injuries and a few deaths at Cow Palace dance parties due to drug abuse.
Ma's legislation may be well-meaning, but it's surprisingly broad. It would ban the playing of any pre-recorded music for over three and a half hours on public property. That would mean the cancellation of Outside Lands and the Treasure Island Music Fest, among other events. The bill specifies penalties that include a $10,000 fine, or twice the revenues generated by the event.
The Cow Palace is, for reasons unclear, owned by the City, rather than by a private organization.
Exemptions have been carved out for private venues such as bars, clubs, and theaters. It's unclear why Ma believes that patrons at these venues are not equally susceptible to drug abuse.
The bill also does not address the actual problem: drug abuse. Even if raves were to be banned, there bill puts no new program or policy in place to prevent people from taking drugs at other venues. Event promoters say that more education and harm reduction is needed, not forcing drugs further underground or into private venues.
For her part, Ma isn't above a little amplified music. Her New Year's Bash promises several hours of amplified DJing.