SSDP’s AMPLIFY Project Promoting Health & Safety Within Nightlife, Live Music Communities

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PHOTO (above): Thank Me Next Time Photography

The AMPLIFY Project was started over 6 years ago by a dedicated drug policy reformer and socially conscious musician who saw the power of utilizing the live music community as a platform for organizing around social and political change. In the most basic sense, AMPLIFY is a project of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) that connects youth activists with musicians who support our mission of sensible drug policy reform. AMPLIFY offers both a voice for musicians to speak out against the failed War on Drugs and its disastrous effects upon our society (and the live music scene in particular) in addition to giving volunteers an opportunity to connect with their community by talking with them about how to change these failed policies.


WVU Students for Sensible Drug Policy tabling at Big Gigantic. Harnessing the power of the live music community, they collected over 150+ signatures for a state medical marijuana initiative in just a few hours.

WVU Students for Sensible Drug Policy tabling at Big Gigantic. Harnessing the power of the live music community, they collected over 150+ signatures for a state medical marijuana initiative in just a few hours.

Though the AMPLIFY Project started as primarily an outreach tool to get the live music community involved in the work SSDP does, our mission has grown and evolved dramatically over the past few years. In the Spring of 2012, AMPLIFY began an official partnership with DanceSafe following a long-awaited meeting of staff at SSDP’s 2012 International Conference in Denver, CO. Teaching compassion to our volunteers and starting to provide harm reduction services for festivals and other live music events became as much of a priority as organizing around policy change. As seasoned veterans of the live music community ourselves, too often had we seen first hand the devastation of misinformed drug use by our peers and we knew we needed to take a proactive approach in practicing what we preach when it comes to promoting drug policies that embrace harm reduction.

Summer of 2012 marked the turning point in this regard as we published the first edition of the Festival Safety Guide  and we began officially offering expanded, and entirely free of charge, harm reduction services to festivals we attended. Supplied to brim by DanceSafe with factual drug information cards, ear plugs and condoms, our teams set up at numerous events nationwide. Attending such well-known stops on the Summer festival circuit as Summer Camp Music Festival, Desert Rocks and Rootwire Music & Arts Festival, we easily reached well over 25,000 people in three short months. At most events we were able to provide “Cool-Down” areas where we created a safe and comfortable space for attendee’s to rest, hydrate and talk to a compassionate counselor if needed. Much of our work was in full cooperation with paid medical staff and together we successfully prevented countless unnecessary off-site medical transports and police intervention.

Earth Night 2012 with Papadosio PHOTO" AMPLIFY Project

Earth Night 2012 with Papadosio
PHOTO: Thank Me Next Time


The AMPLIFY Project’s mission is to create a bridge between the worlds of drug policy reform, harm reduction & live music, and in the process bringing supporters of all together to work for a better world.

Through incorporating hands on harm reduction into the work our volunteers do, addressing failed drug policies, especially those that affect the live music community, remains a primary focus. In Spring 2013 the AMPLIFY Project was invited to speak at and participated in Club Health, a conference organized by DanceSafe and Drug Policy Alliance, solely concerned with health and safety in the nightlife community. The first US version was attended by researchers, medical personnel, government officials, grassroots organizers and activists from all over the world. The main objective being to share methods of best practice and create a global network of those promoting and practicing harm reduction in the nightlife community.

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AMPLIFY creates a mutually beneficial relationship between both SSDP, DanceSafe and partnered artists, festivals/events where all parties help to promote each other. With more than 170+ active SSDP/DanceSafe chapters at colleges & cities throughout the country, chapters are able to act as street teams for artists that are part of the AMPLIFY project.

Shortly following Club Health, participants from DanceSafe, Drug Policy Alliance, the Electronic Music Alliance and the AMPLIFY Project formed a working group focused on addressing nightlife safety issues here in the United States which has since been working on the local level in Denver, New York and San Francisco to do so. Together this working group recently organized a community session at the International Drug Policy Reform 2013 Conference in Denver, CO to discuss issues we face along with possible next steps to solve those problems. As we move forward collectively with this issue, the AMPLIFY Project aims to utilize what we’ve learned from our experiences to contribute towards creating better policies which promote health and safety within the nightlife and live music communities at large.

Over the years The AMPLIFY Project has grown from humble beginnings to include an impressive roster of nationally & regionally touring artists, volunteer teams in countless cities around the country and serves as a leading voice for reform in the live music harm reduction community with entirely no working budget. We continually count on the generous donations of supporters at the show and partnered organizations to keep our volunteers supplied. You too can help us keep this project growing. You can help us expand the reach of our work by donating to our organization today. Please consider making an invaluable donation to the AMPLIFY Project, and help in the collective effort of keeping the live music communities we all love safe!