Drug Use in Music Festivals Across the United States

To emphasize the popularity of music festivals nationwide, they bring people together who share the same love for music. Whether if those festivals play mostly EDM, rock, or rap, they still provide a memorable atmosphere for every attendee. However, music festivals across the U.S. do have significant amounts of drug use conducted by attendees.

In particular, attendees at EDM festivals are most likely to use drugs compared to attendees at other music festivals. According to Consequence of Sound, EDM attendees were in the top three users for all drugs at events. In detail, those drugs are alcohol, marijuana, MDMA, hallucinogens, cocaine, and opioids, with the exception of benzodiazepines.

Common Drugs Used at Festivals

Uniquely, ticketing marketplace TickPick surveyed 1,000 attendees at prominent music festivals and asked about their substance use. In fact, the drug commonly used at music festivals is alcohol with 75.5% of attendees using it. Indeed, marijuana comes in second place with only 38.8% of attendees using it.

Furthermore, an interesting fact from the survey is that VIPs consume more drugs than those who paid general admission. Explicitly, the drugs VIPs consumed more are marijuana, MDMA, mushrooms, LSD, cocaine, and DMT. Meanwhile, general admission attendees still slightly consumed more alcohol and opioids compared to VIPs.

Festivals With the Most Drug Use

Surprisingly, there is another chart that shows which drugs that attendees consume at specific music festivals. The festivals listed are Ultra, Coachella, EDC, Burning Man, Bonnaroo, SXSW, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Governors Ball, and Hangout. Overall, the drug consumed the most by music festival attendees at the 10 listed festivals is alcohol.

For instance, Coachella had 70.4% using alcohol, 38.5% used marijuana, 11.2% used MDMA, 5.9% used mushrooms, and 4.9% used LSD. Additionally, SXSW has a high alcohol user rate of 77% and EDC’s MDMA user rate is 26.4%. In conclusion, Burning Man has higher user rates in marijuana, mushrooms, LSD, opioids, and other drugs.

Drug Use in Today’s Festival Culture

Ultimately, drug use at festivals is so common that it is even attendees now boast about their drug use. MDMA, also known as “Molly”, is frequently mentioned on t-shirts such as “Keep Calm, Find Molly”. Likewise, MDMA has also caused deaths like what happened at Electric Zoo 2013 and at HARD Summer in 2016.

Moreover, the popularity of festival drug use has led to songs created about it such as Cedric Gervais’ “Molly”. Explicitly, the song mentioned, “I’m looking for Molly, I’ve been searching everywhere and I can’t seem to find Molly”. However, the rise in festival drug use has lead to organizers and artists urging attendees to abstain from drugs.

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Ken Ngo

Ken is a passionate sports and music fan with soccer being his #1 sport and European (particularly French and Dutch) house music being his #1 genre. His favorite producers are Martin Solveig, Sebastian Ingrosso, Madeon, Tiesto, Martin Garrix, and Armin Van Buuren.

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