In Articles, Drug Rehab, Family Resources, Sober Living

Summer music festivals are filled with live music, crazy outfits, and generally a good time.

Unfortunately for some, these high energy events may often mean a lot of bad decisions. Alcohol and drug use at music festivals are a common occurrence, but why is this and how did this happen? Our Pennsylvania addiction treatment center is looking into the frequency of substance abuse at these events.

Drugs and Music Festivals

The relationship between drugs and music festivals has been a long-standing practice; just look at Woodstock. Woodstock is most well-known for drug use and hippies. While the 60s are long over, drug use at music festivals is still common. One survey found that 75% of participants admitted to drinking alcohol at music festivals, 38% admitted to smoking marijuana, and about 13% admitted to using ecstasy.1 Why this trend? Why are so many more people drinking or using drugs at music festivals than the general population? While there is not a lot of research about music festivals directly, our inpatient detox center in Pennsylvania has a few thoughts on the matter.

Mob Mentality – No, mob mentality doesn’t have to be violent. This psychology term discusses how when people come together in large groups, they often adapt to the behavior of the group. This typically means that they stop thinking rationally and start thinking more emotionally. When this happens, people often lose their individual identity and experience a sense of deindividuation. With decreased self-awareness, music festivalgoers are more likely to participate in riskier behavior such as binge drinking and illicit drug use.

 Peer Pressure – Everyone is doing it. You have heard this over and over again, but peer pressure is a much bigger factor than most people realize. Similar to the idea of mob mentality, peer pressure causes people to change their behavior. Research has shown that the main motivation for young people drinking is for social reasons when surrounded by their peers.2 While alcohol may seem harmless, when it goes too far you should seek help at an alcohol detox center.

Brain Development – It is a well-known fact that the brain is not fully developed until at least age 25. In particular, the prefrontal cortex that is responsible for reasoning and higher-level thinking is the last to develop. Adolescents are known for their riskier behavior than adults evidenced by the higher frequency of unprotected sex, crime, reckless driving, and experimentation with drugs and alcohol.3 Scientists believe that the undeveloped brain may be the reason for these increases. Since young adults are the most frequent attendees at music festivals, this may be a factor in the high level of drug use at music festivals.

Drug and alcohol use is no joke. If you or someone you love has a problem with addiction, get help immediately. At Clearbrook Treatment Center, we will be with you every step of the way. Call 570-536-9621 today.


  1. Dancing Astronaut – Report: The most commonly used drugs at music festivals
  2. NCBI – Why do young people drink? A review of drinking motives.
  3. NCBI – A Social Neuroscience Perspective on Adolescent Risk-Taking.


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