The San Jose State Event Center is bringing back mainstream DJs like multi-instrumentalist, record producer and songwriter Zedd on April 17, after more than a year of not having any rave concerts on campus.
During the hiatus, a new administrative team was trained and transitioned into their new positions at the Event Center.
University Police Department Interim Captain, Alan Cavallo, said UPD voiced safety concerns that electronic dance music (EDM) events put students at risk of injury more than any other type of event. Cavallo cannot confirm that the fear was a motivating factor in limiting the events.
“[Electric Bounce House with Dillon Francis and Diplo in 2016] was bad and approximately 20 kids had medical issues and 10 were transported [to a hospital],” he said. “We have to be well prepared, have plenty of water and over-monitor with extra security staff and medical staff.”
Cavallo also spoke to the Spartan Daily in an April 6, 2016 article about the dangerous environment surrounding rave concerts on campus.
“At EDM concerts, we have a bigger contingent of officers because of the security risks to kids getting injured, excessive intoxication and general safety,” Cavallo stated. “We also call local hospitals and tell them we are having these events and that we need ambulances ready just in case."
Jon Fleming, manager of the Event Center, had no comment.
The Event Center has hosted large EDM events in the past, such as the Halloween event Jack Yo Lantern in 2014 and 2015.
Jack Yo Lantern had big names such as Slander, DJ Mustard and Deorro, but was taken off the list of events before a third Halloween show in 2016.
According to SJSU’s annual report for 2014-15, “The Event Center’s reputation for hosting exciting EDM shows continues, thanks to amazing turnout by SJSU students.”
EDM events were extremely popular yet they were still chosen to be removed. The Event Center did not hold any EDM events between 2016-17. In April 2018, SJSU won a contest with Up & Up to host Gryffin, a well-known EDM DJ.
David Nguyen, an Up & Up content creator, said that securing the venue was the most difficult part in making that event happen on campus.
“Luckily, we had a brand that was curated on ‘a music festival built by college students’ as well as an artist [Gryffin] at the time that helped persuade school officials that nothing horrible will happen during the event,” said Nguyen.
Nguyen said his team was encouraged to work hard to bring events back to SJSU, but were still nervous because they were unsure if SJSU would be open to having electronic music acts perform.
Zedd will be the first DJ back on campus since Gryffin.
The Executive Director of the Student Union, Cathy Busalacchi, stated there were no financial motives to bring back EDM events during the hiatus, which she said explains the extensive gap between the concerts.
Busalacchi also endorsed EDM events on campus because she believes it is a safer option for students while attracting the most student involvement.
“Electronic music is going mainstream and we look at the bands that are going mainstream,” she said.
On Dec. 17, 2016, Equal Time published an episode produced by the SJSU School of Journalism and Mass Communications discussing different perspectives on EDM events on campus.
Busalacchi explained in the are convenient and can be enjoyed with the right precautions, such as having more hydration stations and “P.L.U.R. angels.”
P.L.U.R. (peace, love, unity and respect) angels are people who help make EDM events safer by providing basic safety items and assisting medical professionals.
“Raves were fun and convenient because a lot of SJSU students don’t have cars and live on campus,” said public health senior Mireya Ruiz.
Civil engineering junior Miaolin Wu did not get the opportunity to attend any on-campus EDM events because SJSU stopped having them in 2015, before her freshman year.
“I heard that there was an event where the people who were waiting to enter stormed through and trampled the securities,” said Wu.
Wu said she wondered why SJSU decided to bring EDM events back once Gryffin was announced, but she thought it was nice that the school did.
Each artist who performs at the Event Center is carefully considered by Busalacchi. She strays away from the term raves and prefers EDM events, and referred to Zedd as a “mainstream multi-instrumental artist,” rather than a DJ. This may be the rebirth of a new EDM events era for the Event Center.