“The doors were mobbed consistently from 11 p.m. to 2:30 [a.m.],” Schupf said. “People just kept coming and coming and staying and staying.”
She said that while the ACPB had planned to have its spring concert, they decided to produce Night Release because the original act canceled at the last minute.
According to ACPB Director Sam Haynes, the Night Release cost approximately $27,000, while ticket sales totaled a little over $7,000. He said that the ACPB would have spent between $25,000 and $35,000 for a concert, depending on who was selected. He added that the ACPB spent $35,000 on last spring’s Wyclef Concert.
Haynes said that while he had hoped for something a “little more spectacular” on the basis of how much money was spent, the event had the highest attendance for a single show or concert produced by any student group in the last three years.
“It was great to see such a large turnout,” said Kate Bernstein of Silver Worldwide Entertainment, the company that produced the event.
Although the event was promoted as a dance party, many students began to think of it as a rave, which raised concerns about “rave culture,” because it is associated with ecstasy use, according to Haynes. He said that the ACPB took many safety precautions, including providing water to dancers to combat dehydration, which is a common side effect of ecstasy use.
“I perceived it as a rave,” said one student who used ecstasy at the event and asked not to be named.
“The music and lighting were ideal for people to do ecstasy and so clearly way more people did than usual,” said another student who also used ecstasy and asked not to be named.
Guards searching students at the door confiscated medications which included Ritalin, Assistant Chief of Campus Police Ed Zaniewski said.
While many people associate raves with ecstasy, the use of Ritalin has become increasingly common among college students. A recent study published in the Journal of American College Health showed that more than 16 percent of the students at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts reported that they had tried methylphenidate (Ritalin) recreationally.
However, according to Zaniewski, aside from the theft of an ambulance (see “Ambulance stolen from Night Release; thief runs from scene,” page one), the event went as expected.
“We had no major problems, no one was hurt, no one got sick, nothing went wrong and everything was well-organized and as a result played out well,” Schupf said.
Haynes said that 20 party monitors, eight Campus Police officers and two Amherst firemen were on hand to deal with potential problems.
“I had so many people say to me that they thought they would come and check it out and then leave or that they never thought they would be able to dance for so many hours, but then they did,” Schupf said.