It’s April 11, 2012, the day of DAYGLOW, and Bernie Punt awakes with an unsettling feeling that the water-soluble paint had mysteriously become oil-based.
Though his nightmare was never realized, issues with the paint did arise, said Punt, sales and marketing director of the Bryce Jordan Center. Because people left covered in paint, they colored the town with its residue.
But that wasn’t the main problem DAYGLOW caused. With a record number of patients and transports to the Mount Nittany Medical Center, the event raised questions about safety.
Over the course of the two-day concert, 78 patients were seen and 34 people were transported to the hospital. In comparison, the Avicii concert saw 24 patients and 13 transports. Considering concern had already been expressed with the Avicii concert incidents, the results from DAYGLOW didn’t bode well for future Electronic Dance Music concerts at Penn State.
But Punt said he was able to convince the university to continue hosting the concerts on a trial basis because the majority of attendees were safe.
“The one percent [who got in trouble] should not destroy it for the 99 percent that just had a blast,” he said. “The students needed to release last year, so it was a very positive stress reliever…for two, three or four hours they didn’t think about anything but having that experience with that DJ.”
Though DAYGLOW did not terminate all future concerts, each EDM act will be evaluated on a concert-by-concert basis. Because Pretty Lights was canceled and Tiesto was postponed to Feb. 26, no new decisions have been made this year. But if problems do escalate at the next EDM concert, it could cause cancellation of all EDM shows.
To deter excessive drinking, Victoria Maggio, marketing assistant at the BJC, created a safety campaign featuring the notorious Penn State squirrel.
“We want to promote safe concert going because we would love to see these events come back,” Maggio (senior-integrative arts and public relations) said. “[The video] might be funny and some people might make fun of it, but at least the message will get out there. We hope that people will take things seriously…because if things continue to escalate, then Electronic Dance Shows won’t be coming back.”
But the BJC is not the only venue in State College that has hosted EDM concerts. Levels Nightclub, 420 E. College Ave., opened with the intent to host international and national DJs. The club’s next event will occur on Dec. 1, when Tony Arzadon brings dance music to Levels.
And Duo Nightclub, 129 S. Pugh St., has also begun to host DJs. But unlike concerts at the BJC, there hasn’t seemed to be as much controversy about these shows.
Because past EDM concerts at the BJC have been “very busy and active,” Penn State Police Chief Tyrone Parham said the University Police will be vigilant at future shows. He said though people were only charged with alcohol-related incidents, officers suspected that other drugs were involved.
Because of past incidents, Parham added that he is planning to have more officers at future EDM shows, and these officers will be “a little bit more proactive at the gates to deny entry.”
Dr. Margaret Spear, director of University Health Services, also said EDM concerts have been busy for the Emergency Medical Services staff — especially DAYGLOW, which she said was “the most chaotic [because] the most bad stuff happened.”
“I would be happy for [the BJC] to not have events like this because there seem to be a lot of adverse consequences, at least for some of the attendees,” she added.
But Punt said he believes it is actually safer to have EDM concerts at Penn State because if they are not held here, more students will travel to attend. And at the BJC, staff members and the police can “curtail problems,” creating a safer environment.
Though Hannah Hyman, secretary of the Electronic Dance Music Club, said the EDM culture is often “stigmatized” as inducing a drug atmosphere, that’s not what the music is about.
“Not everybody who is into it wants to take drugs,” Hyman (senior-psychology) said. “It’s a misconception that comes out of an honest reality, but it’s blown out of proportion.”
And EDMC Vice President Nic Rase said the club’s shows are proof of that, since there have been no hospitalizations for overdoses. Rather, Rase (sophomore-business) said he thinks the BJC’s incidents are a result of Penn State’s culture.
“At a place like Penn State, when [students] go out, they just want to party and get wasted or drunk,” he said. “[They think] if we’re going to a rave, that’s synonymous for why don’t we just drink before it.”