Music Festival Corporate Sponsors, Investors Could Be Deterred by Drug Deaths

Recent deaths at electronic dance musical festivals may make corporate sponsors and investors nervous, The New York Times reports. At least seven young people attending these events have died after overdosing from “Molly” or other party drugs.

The festival business is worth an estimated $4.5 billion, the article notes. The young people who go to these events tend to be affluent and technologically savvy, making them an appealing audience to corporate sponsors and investors. The biggest festivals charge up to $300 for two to three days of music.

Molly is the suspected cause of two deaths at a recent New York City music festival, which was shut down by city officials. The drug, a more pure form of Ecstasy, comes in a powder. It has been available for decades, but has become more popular recently with college students.

The deaths came shortly before an expected initial public offering by a company called SFX Entertainment, which deals with electronic dance music sponsorship and media deals. The company has said it wants to raise up to $300 million, and hopes to buy promoters such as the one that produced the New York festival, Electric Zoo.

The Chief Executive of SFX, Robert F. X. Sillerman, told the newspaper his company is committed to providing a safe environment. He added that as dance music “has grown from uncontrollable rave parties to professionally run festivals and events, it in fact provides the opportunity to provide health and safety guidance.”

Most music festivals have official zero-tolerance drug policies. They provide security checks and first-aid tents, and have ambulances on call. Many of these measures are required by state law for large gatherings, and are also needed for insurance purposes.

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