New Study Lists The Most Popular Drugs At Music Festivals

By McCarton Ackerman 05/18/15

There are hardly any surprises in new findings culled from Instagram posts.

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Although newer drugs are continuing to make their way into music festivals across the country, a new study has found that alcohol and pot continue to reign supreme among attendees.

The findings from came from compiling over three million Instagram posts that referenced 15 of the biggest music festivals in the U.S., which were broken down by references to specific drugs. Alcohol was the most commonly referenced drug among all festivals, but a shocking 90% of all Instagram mentions about KISS’s Chili Cook-Off were related to alcohol use. Perhaps less surprisingly, 82% of Instagram mentions pertaining to Marley Fest were related to weed.

There were plenty of references to harder and illegal substances, though. Nearly 43% of the postings about the Electric Daisy Carnival referenced MDMA in 43% of all postings, while more than 12% posting of Coachella postings made reference to cocaine. Nearly 15% of Burning Man posts referenced either cocaine or DMT.

The notorious hippie fest that is Burning Man appears to be the most-drug infused music festival in the country, with more references to DMT, mescaline, mushrooms, and crack cocaine than any other festival. Camp Bisco took top billing for general drug terms at just under 15%, while the Electric Daisy Carnival had the most mentions of MDMA and pills at 47%. Mad Decent Block Party had the most references to opioids in the Instagram posts.

A separate study released last March by the Center for Forensic Science Research & Education also confirmed that the Ultra Music Festival in Miami is a drug haven. Nearly 72% of volunteer participants at the festival admitted to using pot, cocaine, Molly, or ecstasy in the past week, while 58% of the blood samples and 80% of the urine samples came back positive for at least one of these drugs.

Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado declared after reviewing the findings that the city should end its relationship with the festival immediately.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.