Is all well in the state of electronic dance music? In the past year, the electronic dance music — or EDM for short, and for those in the know — has burst through the seams of the genre festivals and rave basements that used to house it, and into the mainstream. The Swedish House Mafia is just one group that rode the scene to success, selling out Madison Square Garden last year with virtually no traditional “big media” support before announcing just recently that their current tour would be their last. The trio thanked their fans in a note posted to their website, and signed off by saying, “We came, we raved, we loved.” Their last few shows should be a victory lap, a celebration of how far they have come from their early days of dj-ing in pizza shop. What, then, went wrong this weekend at their show in Dublin?
According to reports, nine people were injured during the group’s headlining set at Phoenix Park in Dublin on Saturday night. A 23-year-old man has since been charged in connection with multiple stabbings — at least one victim was left if critical condition — and another young man died of a drug overdose. Many more concert goers were arrested for assault, drugs and public order offenses. Some of the violence was caught on video. And as for the group themselves, they responded to the melee on Facebook, writing that they were unaware of what was going on until after the fact, and promising to “deal with it in the best way we can.”
The unfortunate truth here may be that this kind of thing could happen anywhere there are 45,000 people thrown together–be they dancing and on drugs and disoriented by titanic beat-drops dance music fans, or otherwise. It will, however, be hard for those watching as the EDM scene continues to grow and envelope the music world not to wonder if things may be getting out of control. Certainly this was not the loving rave Swedish House Mafia had planned to go out with, and it is hopefully not endemic of EDM itself. It will likely, though, fuel criticism from those already suspect that the scene is no longer one united by love of the music.