The rave is all about music, but some seek Ecstacy to enhance the dance

(Diana Carrillo/

(Diana Carrillo/

EL PASO – The dancing crowd rides a wave of lights surging to electronic rhythms while neon colors waft the wall and the crowd becomes one with the massive electro-beats as the wave becomes tsunami, flooding the hall up to eight hours at a time.

The ecstasy that drives hours of nonstop dancing, typical at music festivals and raves, is sometimes fed by Ecstasy – the illicit drug.

“I wouldn’t have lasted dancing, or even standing for the whole seven hours that I was there. I rolled for seven hours straight,” said Robert, 21.

(Diana Carrillo/

Attendance to the Sun City Music Festival was reported to be close to 20,000 fans. (Diana Carrillo/

For many years, people have combined the music scene with drug use to increase the energy and enhance euphoria. Responsible supervision has weakened at these events and Ecstasy has become so common that people believe it is O.K. to consume the drug at raves.

“My first time using ecstasy was actually not that fun. It wasn’t until I was introduced to the electronic dance music scene like raves, and music festivals that I actually started enjoying it. I just think it makes the whole rave experience more enjoyable. That’s why I keep using them,” said Christian, 22, who has attended various world-renowned electronic music festivals such as Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Electric Daisy Carnival in Los Angeles, and the Electric Zoo in New York.

“Being on ecstasy in such huge events is hard to put in words. You are worry-less, fun, friendly, one big family, because for that moment you know everybody around you is similar to you. You’re there to have fun and forget about the world for the night, enjoy your friends, meeting others, dancing and loving one another.”

It is common to encounter young adults with this same mentality and rolling (using Ecstacy) at these events is almost essential for them. The perception of colors, touch, and sounds becomes more intense allowing them, they say, to enjoy the rave to its maximum.

“The effects that this drug causes in you are really quite lovely. At first, there’s a sense of anxiousness but then it really is quite exquisite. Just a mixture of emotions,” Robert said.

“Of course, it takes you on an ultimate high, but then when the music and lights are gone… you fall into complete darkness and aloneness. It’s really one of the wildest scenes I’ve ever been in or hope to be in.”

Monster electronic music festivals are popular in the United States and last from two to three days. They headline world known artists and attract millions of fans. Some 20,000 fans attended the two-day Sun City Music Festival, which took place in El Paso’s Cohen Stadium on Labor Day weekend.

Although fans of all ages were “rolling” and minors were publicly drinking alcoholic beverages, the El Paso Police Department reported only two incidents during the two-night event.

“We have a report of one incident that resulted in an assault where the suspect was intoxicated,” said Darrel Petry, Public Information Officer for the Police Department.

“There was another incident where a minor was cited for possession of alcohol, but that occurred across the street from the event. These are the only two incidents recorded by the El Paso Police Department,” he said.

According to event organizers more than 50 security guards were on hand and a few off duty officers were also present.

“We still ensure public safety. We make sure that no laws are broken. If an officer is there and they come across a person who is intoxicated or on drugs and they are becoming a danger to themselves or others, we take care of it.”

Paramedics were also available at the event but no information could be released on how many people they treated for any reason. During one of the nights, an attendant at the event saw the paramedics rushing a person out of the concert.

“There comes a point when you know you should stop, but hardly anybody does. Everybody knows ecstasy isn’t something you should be doing. I wouldn’t say it’s addictive, but the more often you do it, the more pills you have to take in order for it to have any effect on you,” Christian said.

“Those people who are more often on it usually need three or four to get a ‘good roll’ so not so much that there is a limit, but there’s a goal.”

A factor that could encourage these young adults to consume is the low cost of the pills and how easy it is for them to obtain them.

“It is easier than buying alcohol or anything like that. It’s kind of scary how quick I can get a pill,” Samantha said.  Samantha, 21, has been using ecstasy for two years now. “I can usually text to people and get a pill within like 10 minutes,” she said.

Samantha said it is easy to smuggle the pills into concerts, although there are security checks at the entrance. Guards ask attendees to empty their pockets, but another fan said he hides the pills in his wallet and they never check for that.

“They usually never pat me because most of the securities are men and I always wear a dress or something of that nature so I guess they are scared,” Samantha said. “Sometimes I’m holding the pill in my hand and they won’t even notice. They take one look at me and see that I’m wearing a dress and just let me in like nothing.”

11 thoughts on “The rave is all about music, but some seek Ecstacy to enhance the dance

  1. This article is ridiculous, as usual the media focuses on negative things and shows no light on anything else. Try writing articles on something positive about events like these.

  2. this is the dumbest article I’ve ever read it does not make you feel empty and alone after clearly this was not a piece written based on experience or actual knowledge on the subject you should probably delete yourself from the internet

  3. This is pathetic… I can’t believe I just read this. A buncha noob kids trying ecstacy and then reporting it and ruining the scene. These aren’t even raves. Electric zoo isn’t a rave it’s just a buncha preppy losers “raging” EDC is a “rave” but I’m from NYC and we have warehouse/hangar parties etc those to me are what a rave is all about. Not just avout the Molly or the Lucy but about the awesome people and the awesome music. Sure it makes it fun but I’ve hone to plenty of raves sober and had a fucken blast. The media loves blowing up stories about kids using drugs because they love controversy. XXXXX Let’s us be us:) <3

  4. To Mariel, please take this as solely constructive criticism:

    Your article is well-written, but incomplete. I, myself, am a product and disciple of Professor Smith-Soto and one of the things I’ve learned in his class is to, simply, be fair.

    When I read this article, I thought that by demonizing the drug, you were demonizing the music. I, myself, am not a big fan of the music, but I have to agree with some of the other people that have commented that you were really focused on sensationalizing the drug. To me, you were sensationalizing the scene, too. I mean, EDM shows are not the ONLY time people take Ecstasy. Don’t attach the drug to the scene. Ecstasy wasn’t invented strictly because of the EDM scene. The first synthesizing of the chemical compound predates the Moog synthesizer.

    The drug is definitely the darker side of this subculture. You gave perspectives of people who have tried the drug, but they came off as the weary, late-night ramblings of people that is are the drug. And the COMPLETE lack of medical expertise (in the form of interviewing a doctor or at least getting some research of what kind of damage Ecstasy does to the body) makes this piece come off as very, very biased.

    If you are going to frame the drug use around the rave scene, then do also talk of alcohol abuse, not just at SCMF, but at the others you mentioned. Ecstasy is only ONE of the drugs abused at these events. In fact, alcohol is legal AND sold at EDM shows, too.

    Reggae music is mellow and uplifting…then there’s the marijuana. Psychedelic music is exploratory and mesmerizing…and then there’s the LSD and Mushrooms. EDM, in itself, is gorgeous, surreal and soaring…and then there’s Ecstasy. I wouldn’t agree that it is ALL about Ecstasy.

    I’m not defending the drug. I think the drug is horrible. But I’m just trying to be fair.

  5. If I could state the obvious more eloquently than John I would. Fortunately, he’s done it better than I ever could, and in a much nicer tone than I would have used. You are if anything, far from objective, and obviously don’t know much about your subject except for the two interviews you used mainly to gather your quotes and whatever else you have read on wikipedia. I’ll skip all the corrections I have for you regarding ecstasy use and focus on the one thing that truly bothers me about this article, it’s bashing a music scene that you don’t understand and fail to mention even the artists. When concerts in El Paso are consistently being postponed or cancelled due to attendance, the BEST electronic ARTISTS in the WORLD are taking a chance in El Paso and selling out venues and gathering thousands for the kind of entertainment that we would have never dreamed of having in this city a couple of years back. Why not mention that Armin Van Buuren, the number one DJ in the world, Afrojack, Tiesto, Sander Van Doorn, Steve Aoki, and Skrillex, the most recognizable face of the dubstep movement, have allowed El Paso to enjoy their music and have embraced the audience here that if anything, is starving for entertainment. Since I’ve been in El Paso I’ve been lucky enough to shake Avicii’s hand, dance to Afrojack more than once, point my glowsticks in the air and scream along with Aoki, bring the roof down with the hard bass of Rusko, sway away till 4 a.m. to the minimal sounds of Format B, and clap my hands to the beats of Morgan Page. Don’t know who they are? Do your job, RESEARCH. All the names I’ve mentioned are amazing DJ’s and artists that have not only given new life to the current music scene but have allowed thousands upon thousands wonderful memories, with or without the drugs. I encourage you to attend the upcoming concert by Paul Oakenfold, not because im part of any promotional team, or because ill make any money off it, or even because he needs the audience (in fact buy your ticket soon before they sell out), but so that you can actually act the part of the journalist and this time, be objective, and maybe you’ll move past the prejudice that the media has unfortunately attached to these events, and see that at the core, its not MDMA that brings the crowds, its the thumping beats moving through your veins and making you stomp your feet and wave your hands in the air, reminding you that despite whatever may be going on outside those walls, in that moment, all you need to do is enjoy yourself. See you there. (Ill save you the trouble of asking and let you know know that no, I wont be on any drugs, including alcohol, and ill still have an amazing time)

  6. I understand its not an entertainment website so a story with a positive angle probably wouldn’t have been published on the website. But there’s good coverage of the event elsewhere. Ecstacy is a drug, obviously harmful, so why get input from a doctor I don’t believe its necessary . We all know its not good for you and damages the brain. But I’ve used the drug several times and have seen so many friends and ppl I’m acquainted with and they were all usually up to no good. Although the drug does make you feel really good and like friendly and like a big family kinda like that one person said in the article. But drugs are everywhere. But I.see this article focuses on its negative side just to push that awareness. Lots of young kids use the drug irresponsibly. I have several friends that just over did it and had seizures or had to go to the hospital because they abused the drug. I just hope it doesn’t get out of hand and we lose music festivals like scmf. But as of now things seem chill.

  7. I hope we don’t lose music festivals like scmf. It was a blast. And I prefer just drinking a few beers. Ecstact just always gives me bad downers. I hate that shit.

  8. Really, now. who is the idiot that wrote THIS?! Yeah, yeah I get what the media can get away with. But please-icolate a drug to a specific scene then THAT’S where the cops’ll most likely be more than anywhere else, and we all know that this can be found in more places than this, right? Note to self: never read anything by this person EVER AGAIN.

  9. wow ecstacy does not one feel alone. i have been to raves with and without and either way it was fun

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