‘Anti-Rave’ Legislation Passed by French Senate, Strict Regulations Threaten Electronic Nightlife

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The electronic music industry has always found its place in the spotlight when it comes to law enforcement – finding itself under scrutiny for decades, and although many concerns raised regarding the electronic music nightlife scene are reasonable, the ways in which these issues have been tackled often have not been, with legitimate concerns plaguing a scene that is synonymous with ‘out-of-control’ partying.

Of course that’s not always the case, and state / police crackdowns on clubs and raves even has its roots in the oppression of marginalised people (as an example, with the rise of electronic music came safe spaces for LGBT folk, with many clubs and events still hosting inclusive events for all to attend without worry.) with many laws set in place not to genuinely tackle the problems within these nightlife spaces, just an attempt to shut them down.

Late Tuesday October 22nd, the French Senate approved a legislation that essentially targets raves – entitled the ‘anti-rave’ legislation. With multiple factors to be put in place which could make it extremely difficult for these types of events to thrive. A notable development is that of an increased fine of €3750 if organisers do not comply with stricter regulations now put in place – which would also include the seizure of music equipment at the venues. The French publication Trax Magazine has outlined some of the various restrictions in the legislation including:

The requirement for all organisers to declare any festival / rave that boasts more than 500 people even if held on private property, and if not done so, due to a transformation of the original offence, can result in 400 hours of community service along with the aforementioned fine, along with further crackdowns on sound regulations and deadlines.

The organisation and promotion of raves and electronic parties is already a tough business as requiring permits for these types of events is already extremely difficult, and with tougher restrictions in place could seriously damage the electronic community in France.

These types of laws and restrictions are generally justified as a concern for the public, and festival-goers safety which stays true in this case – especially since many of these laws have come into place over illicit drug-related incidents, including drug-related deaths, causing massive amounts of tension between law enforcement and the clubbing scene over the years.

Aside from this type of legislation hurting the music community, tackling drug-related issues with this type of approach hasn’t proven to be particularly successful in the past, and can pose a further threat to those involved if they are unable to seek proper treatment in the face of the law. People will continue to use illicit substances regardless of legislations such as these, and with such tight restrictions obscure drug abuse as an issue related to clubbing, as opposed to a public health issue.

The legislation is set to be presented to the French National Assembly as the final process for it to officially be passed into french law.