Ah, summer time is upon us. This means plenty of sunshine, beach days, and warm temperatures. But summer also brings music festivals like Bonnaroo, Coachella, and Tortuga – just to name a few – where thousands of music lovers meet for live performances, hanging out with friends, and enjoying the outdoors. But there’s a bit more to these festivals than meets the eye. Yes, these outdoor festivals draw thousands of people from all over the world for multi-day events, art shows, craft foods, and of course, music – but that’s not all.

A major component of these festivals is something entirely different: drugs and illegal substances.

A recent poll asked over 2000 summer music festival attendees about why they attended the festival and how they acted once they got there. The results were a bit surprising.

  • 47% of the festival goers admitted to doing something that they “would never consider doing outside of the music festival environment.”
  • 21% reported using illegal drugs during their time at a music festival.
  • Just 45% said that they attended the festivals for the purpose of listening to the music.

Most Common Festival Drugs

Take a look at the most common substances used at the most popular music festivals. A study from drugabuse.com analyzed Instagram posts from 15 major music festivals around the world and paid special attention to posts that included mentions of alcohol or substances while at those festivals:

Alcohol

  • 26% of posts at The Chili Cook-Off were alcohol-related
  • Summerfest had 87.02% of its posts related to alcohol
  • Glastonbury came in with 69.01%

Marijuana

  • Marley Fest posts at 82.04%
  • Camp Bisco goers posted about marijuana about 25% of the time
  • Bonnaroo posts were also around 25%

MDMA/Molly/Ecstasy

  • Festival goers at Electric Daisy Carnival had posts related to these drugs about 43% of the time
  • Ultra Music Festival posts were at 37.68%
  • Camp Bisco came in at 21%

Mushrooms

  • Burning Man posts mentioned mushrooms at 7%
  • Bonnaroo was at 6%
  • Camp Bisco posts were around 3%

Cocaine

  • About 12% of Instagram posts from Coachella centered on cocaine
  • Mad Decent Block Party posts about cocaine marked 12%
  • Lollapalooza was right around 10%

Crack Cocaine

  • Burning Man posts that mentioned crack cocaine were around 4%
  • Bonnaroo was right around the same, just under 4%
  • Glastonbury Festival-goers mentioned crack cocaine in 3.7% of their posts

DMT

  • Burning Man posts with mention of DMT were around 7%
  • Electric Daisy Carnival and Life in Color had DMT mentions in less than 1% of their posts

LSD

  • 64% of Burning Man posts had mentions of LSD
  • 6% of Ultra Music Festival posts talked about LSD
  • Also, at Camp Bisco, 2.6% of festival goers’ posts mentioned this psychedelic drug

Opioids

  • Mad Decent Block party topped the list of opioid mentions in posts at 5.88%
  • Lollapalooza posts weren’t far behind, at 5.6%
  • Holy Ship! Music Festival had roughly 5.5% of posts attributed to opioid mentions

Pills

  • Electric Daisy Carnival, Tomorrowland, and Lollapalooza all mentioned “pills” in Instagram posts at less than 0.5% of the time

Mescaline

  • There were not many mentions of mescaline, but a few did occur for Burning Man, Camp Bisco, and Electric Daisy Carnival – each at under 0.5%

Drugs in General

  • And, in general, some drug terms were mentioned at these festivals
  • At Camp Bisco, that prevalence rate was about 15%
  • Tomorrowland posts came in at 14.5%
  • Burning Man “general drug terms” were in posts about 9% of the time

So, as you can see, drugs are quite popular at these festivals – and the above stats are just from what people are posting on Instagram. Take into consideration the fact that not everyone has Instagram, and certainly not everyone will be posting about drugs on those accounts. So these numbers are even greater than what we can see here.

If you’re planning to attend a summer music festival, here’s three reasons why you should stay drug-free and sober while there:

  1. You want to remember your time there, right? These festivals are an incredible way to see a handful of your favorite artists – and discover new ones – in one location. Plus, you get to be a part of history! These festivals are major moments in the music scene and you’re lucky to be a part of them. You’ll meet new people, make amazing memories with the friends you came with, and see sights you’ll never want to forget – and won’t forget if you’re not on drugs.
  2. Drugs have awful side effects. When you’re spending multiple days outside at a music festival, the last thing you want to deal with are side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, sweats/chills, or other undesirable effects.
  3. Your thinking and decision-making skills will be compromised. That’s not a good mix when you’re around thousands of strangers. It’s best that your mind is clear, you are alert, and you stick with your friends to keep safe.