Festivals are for music, not drugs and alcohol


Here’s your Lolla checklist:

Lightweight shirt, sunglasses, wristband, weed, vodka… Substance abuse has become so normal that we see it as an obvious part of the festival experience, when the real reason we should attend is to hear the musicians.

NME’s Adam Bychawski references a recent poll of 2,000 festival goers, of which only 45% said they went to hear the music. That may sound like a decent amount, but consider that more than half the people at musical events didn’t care about the music, and it seems a little ridiculous.

Lollapalooza and similar festivals have increased so much in attendance and cost that some don’t even consider them music festivals. Huffington Post writer Pete Mason refers to them as Super Concerts: music festivals that have lost their purpose as they became so commercialized.

Yet we still buy into it. Many of us are so obsessed with getting drunk and the other superficial aspects of concerts like Lolla that the original intention of music festivals is tossed to the wind as readily as a handful of glitter.

Senior Henry Wolf, bassist in the band Manwolves, says that he’s noticed underaged drinking at his shows. As a musician, one of his main goals is to make sure his audience enjoys themselves, but he says overuse of drugs and alcohol can waste both the social and musical experience of being at a concert. The overindulgence can also mess with other’s experiences, because they have to take care of whoever’s too wasted to function.

But the use of alcohol is not just a waste and annoyance in what should be a time for music—it’s deadly. The Chicago Sun Times shows that Lollapalooza caused a huge spike hospital visits because of teen drinking. Lurie Children’s Hospital’s study found that during Lolla in 2014 (a three day event) 102 teens went to Chicago ERs with illness due to alcohol.

Sure, it’s up to you what you do at concerts and festivals. Some even say that drugs and alcohol enhance the experience. I’ve got no power over what you, and your antics may be none of my business, but I’m just saying it’s a dangerous game to play. The disrespectful, annoying, and at risk person you become with just one too many shots is just plain not worth it. You buy the ticket to enjoy the music, so make that your main priority.

When you get your concert tickets this year, save yourself the money, headaches and dangers of including drugs and alcohol in your plans. If that sounds too lame, you need to rethink your priorities, friend.