Yes: It’s too risky to trust minors at SMF
The Sunset Music Festival (SMF) is an eruption of expression. It’s one of the few places around that not only accepts, but the courageous attendees to show up in the brightest, most flamboyant costumes they can throw together in the weeks leading up to it. Often, this pursuit results in outfits that are revealing, to say the least. Fishnets, pasties and outlandish accessories are just another aspect of festival life, as those who attend desperately attempt to out-peacock each other.
Though it’s only the second year the festival has been held, it is the first that the age limit will be 18+. Anyone younger is no longer welcome to the North lot of Raymond James Stadium.
Is this a good thing? Yes.
While the fake ID industry will surely experience a substantial increase in demand over the next few weeks, the decision will no doubt have a positive effect on the festival. Why? Because there are few sights less pleasing than watching an underage girl dressed in a little less than we’d like to see.
But festival planners faced a much larger problem than any of the adult-child grinding they would be dealing with. Illegal drug use was rampant at the venue, and that included an overwhelming amount of minors partaking. Legal adults may be more than willing to accept the legal responsibility for whatever substances they choose to ingest, minors just can’t be expected to have the same amount of accountability.
Countless people, underage included, had to be pulled out of the crowd for being too intoxicated, on alcohol, MDMA, or otherwise. After a brief visit to the medical tent, many of them were turned over to the event’s attending police officers.
It was surely a hard decision for the planning committee to make In only its second year of running, the last thing the festival needed was a huge blow in attendance and ticket sales. Though they will be losing boatloads of money, it’s not worth the sleep they’d be losing by allowing minors in. In a perfect world, an age restriction would not be needed. Unfortunately, last year’s underage attendees more than proved they weren’t ready for the festival life.
Zealand Shannon / Sports Editor
No: Maturity levels shouldn’t be determined based on age alone
The flashing lights, vibrations of the beats, sense of unity amongst fans and admiration of the sound. For some people, it’s more than music. It’s a way of life.
In recent years, EDM (Electric Dance Music) has swiftly gained popularity amongst concertgoers interlaced across the globe with a fan base most closely associated with young adults. While the genre is hardly young, it hasn’t been until recently that the techno-sounding tunes have hit the forefront of the music scene. With such a wide basis of its fans being underage, it seems unconventional that a growing majority of EDM concerts such as Sunset Music Festival (SMF) are being labeled as 18+ events.
To completely rule out a portion of fans simply based upon the fact that they don’t meet a certain age requirement is both discriminatory and uncalled for. This isn’t an illegal substance nor an event containing explicit content. This is music. And by eliminating such an influential percentage of the EDM industry’s fan base solely based upon the assertion that those under the age of 18 are unequipped with the satisfactory level of maturity goes against everything the genre stands for.
While it’s undeniable that EDM is commonly given a negative connotation, as it is often associated with drug use, the promoters of such events as SMF are aware of this and wish to prevent minors from attending their concerts.
Kaskade, one of the largest names in EDM couldn’t have said it any better when he described his beloved genre of music as being “portrayed unfairly as a drug-addicted youth culture”. As cliched as it may sound, just because one bad seed gets thrown into the mix doesn’t mean the whole bunch should be spoiled.
Likewise, those rave goers ultimately looking for a place to experiment with drugs shouldn’t have to ruin it for the percentage of those attending a given event based upon their love of the music. It’s a flawed system that I’d venture out and assume most EDM artists would agree shouldn’t be available exclusively to those attendees over the age of 18.
Hannah Crosby / News Editor