This past weekend we kicked off our Summer ’14 festival season with 4 days in the Midwest performing outreach at Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, IL. It was our 5th year being a part of this amazing event and things could not have gone any better! Beautiful weather, a welcoming staff & receptive crowd, incredible music all on top of a vibrant dedicated village of NPO’s all supporting each others mission combined to create an unforgettable weekend.
Starting in 2001 with a little over 1,000 attendee’s featuring mainly regional musical acts SCMF has grown to over 20,000 attendee’s boasting a lineup of over 100 national & internationally known musicians, artists and performers on 7 stages over 4 days. For the past few years they have created a special “Make a Difference” area which offers dedicated space and unique promotional opportunities for NPO’s to spread their message to the live music community. Joining other great organizations such as HeadCount, Rock the Earth, Conscious Alliance, Project: UNITY and more we were invited back to inject our message of sensible drug policy reform and harm reduction into this year’s event.
Starting on Thursday, we setup an informational booth from 10AM to 6PM each day educating attendee’s on local & national drug policy reform efforts, distributing harm reduction supplies, informing them of their rights in a police encounter and recruiting volunteers to join our cause. Since we are offered more space at festivals than our typical show setups we were able to segment our booth
into 3 areas offering clear & easily accessible options to learn more then snag our free supplies.
Our “Drug Policy Reform Action Center” was stocked with all our standard informational materials along with state specific fliers & handouts related to the Illinois “Good Samaritan Law”. As you all know SSDP is a huge supporter of “Good Samaritan Laws”, which work to remove the fear of police intervention during an overdose situation by granting limited protection from prosecution for the possession or consumption of drugs or alcohol, if a call for help is made. These life-saving measures have been proven to dramatically reduce deaths related to alcohol or drug overdoses when adopted while not increasing overdose or problematic use rates.
Most of those who attend SCMF are from Chicago or the surrounding areas so we were incredibly excited to have the chance to spread info about IL’s comprehensive law, which offers both 1st and 3rd party protection and also includes a naloxone element allowing those in need to posses & administer the life-saving anti-overdose medication. Due to similar laws in our home base of CO we were able to bring our own naloxone kit from our friends here in Denver at Harm Reduction Action Center to offer hands-on demonstrations and explanations for any interested. The majority of those who stopped by the booth were totally unaware of this law, which has been in place for nearly 5 years, so it was a very successful educational opportunity which we hope will lead to more & more successful medical interventions.
Special thanks to Stop Overdose IL for creating the very informative fact sheets we displayed and distributed at our table throughout the weekend.
IL 911 Good Samaritan Overdose Law Fact Sheet: http://www.stopoverdoseil.org/assets/good-samaritan-fact-sheet.pdf
Naloxone Fact Sheet: http://www.stopoverdoseil.org/assets/naloxone-fact-sheet.pdf
The other half of our booth was dedicated to our “Harm Reduction Education & Supply Center” filled with tons of resources designed to keep everyone safe & informed to make responsible decisions. We freely distributed everything from factual drug info cards and ear plugs donated by DanceSafe, condoms & lube, vitamin-c, rock salt to keep sodium & electrolyte levels up along with straws to offer a safer snorting alternative. We also once again handed out our comprehensive “Festival Safety Guide” containing info ranging from tips & tricks for dealing with dehydration, heatstroke, overdose and difficult psychedelic experiences to protecting your hearing & practicing safe sex plus drug dosage information from Erowid. People could not get enough of our offerings and we were able to supply thousands with the tools and the know how to stay safe throughout the weekend.
The last major aspect of our setup this year (but no less important!) was spreading invaluable “Know Your Rights” information from SSDP and our new friend The Festival Lawyer so everyone was aware & comfortable asserting their constitutional rights in a police encounter. SCMF nearly triples the population of Chillicothe every Memorial Day weekend and thus has become an easy target for local & state law enforcement hoping to pad their budgets through the unwarranted, and in some cases illegal, persecution of non-violent festival goer’s. The “Peoria Multi-County Narcotics Enforcement Group and Chillicothe Police Department” were out in force pulling over those travelling to & from the festival for whatever reason they could come produce, long enough to intimidate & pressure detainee’s into consenting to unlawful search & seizure. Luckily, our resources combined with the efforts of local law firms who purchased ad-space in the festival guide to inform festival goer’s of their rights and promote their services, helped make sure Summer Camper’s were specially equipped to assert their rights in any police encounter.
Despite our best efforts however, reports are coming in from local outlets of multiple arrests and cash seizures related to drugs. If YOU were arrested/charged or had property seized please take a look at these resources and don’t let yourself fall prey to predatory & illegal LE tactics designed to unfairly target our community. Fight any charge or seizure you received and remember to speak out against this war on festival goer’s!
To top it all off, we were even given the opportunity to amplify our message further through a stage announcement on the main “Sunshine Stage” following The Devil Makes Three on Saturday afternoon! Watch our Directors urge those in attendance to get involved, stay safe and never consent to search or self incriminate. Then lead the crowd of thousands in a “No More, Drug War!” chant, definitely a highlight of the event for us.
Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9B1xGo67SrM&feature=youtu.be
Overall, by all measures our setup at SCMF 2014 was our most successful festival setup to date. We were able to raise a sizable amount in donations, educate thousands of live music fans on how they can get involved with drug policy reform while supplying them with tools to stay safe and out of jail. Things couldn’t have gone any better and we hope you consider joining us next year for another great trip to the Midwest
One last thing, please help us spread the word about our most successful event yet by resharing this post on your Facebook page today! All those who follow the instructions below will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win 1 of 5 copies of our “Prints Not Prisons” Art Drive poster for this years festival designed by our great friends at Black Ink Art. One lucky winner will even receive one of the LAST copies of our poster from 2013 so don’t miss your chance to snag a piece of history while it lasts!
- Post this article to your Facebook timeline
- Make sure privacy is set to “Public”
- Tag the AMPLIFY Project, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, DanceSafe, The Festival Lawyer, Black Ink in the post
- Send a screenshot of your post to email@example.com by Sunday, June 1st at 10PM MST
- Winners will be selected & notified on Monday, June 2nd
And ALL this without even mentioning the absolutely amazing music showcased throughout the weekend! Thats a story for another day but we can definitely say partnered artists Umphrey’s McGee, Lotus, EOTO, Slightly Stoopid, The Motet & IndigoSun were highlights for us among SO many others.
Make sure to like our Facebook, follow our Twitter, and sign up for our bi-monthly newsletter to keep up to date on our work plus stay on top of upcoming volunteer opportunities. Most importantly, remember to stay sensible, dance safely and flex your rights out there this festival season!