Festival Goers Prefer Alcohol and Drugs Over Music, Claims the Latest Research

A new poll discovers that an average festival crowd member would rather drink and have sex than watch the bands play.

Ultimate Guitar

According to the latest research, an average member of the festival crowd prefers spending his time drinking, doing drugs and having sex over watching the bands play.

MSN recently asked 2,000 festival goers regarding their concert behavior, discovering that only 45 percent of the crowd attends festivals for the actual music, naming the atmosphere and a chance to escape the everyday routine as some of the main reasons for going, NME reports.

The result also point out that 47 percent have done something they would "never consider doing outside of the music festival environment" at one of the music events. About 25 percent admitted sleeping with a stranger at a festival, 21 percent said they used drugs and 13 percent got involved in a fight.

Even the older generations showed similar behavior patterns; nine percent of the middle-aged (aged between 45 and 54) festival goers admitted taking drugs, 20 percent drank heavily, while 10 percent said they had slept with a stranger.

Professor of Cultural Studies at Salford University George McKay gave his comments on the poll results, saying, "Festivals are deeply rooted in the carnival tradition, which is to invert everyday expectations of normal behavior. Historically, carnivals would have a 'lord of misrule' who oversaw the revelries and subversion of the ordinary rules of life. Music festivals continue to be places where we can escape reality and subvert the rules - whatever age we happen to be."

What is the reason of your festival visits?

103 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Not trying to be the fun police or anything, I'm pro sex, drugs and beer, but it does bug me when at the end of the night there's a bunch of drunk guys in the pit who don't care about the band but just want to pick fights and punch stuff. Rural concerts seem to be much worse for this.
    Incredible as it may sound, not all festivals are like that. Some, like Roskilde festival in Denmark, have incredibly nice atmospheres, with basically no fights at all, everybody is helpful and happy. That's the good kind of festival.
    Except when 9 people were crushed to death there during Pearl Jam's set in 2000...
    'MSN recently polled..' 'MSN polled..' 'MSN..' well there you have it
    That's what i was thinking. Polls are never accurate because you can get the exact opposite results depending on how the questions were worded. Just like how asking people about global warming on a hot day will give you different results then on a cold day.
    If tabloids aren't overall very trustworthy when it comes to studies and science, what can we say of a hybrid of MSN + NME? To relate: call me a pussy but I don't dig anything alcoholic.
    I hear you. Hell, I have a problem with the over consumption of drugs of any kind. I've dealt with it before and it's not a fun experience. I get high anxiety from that. Just knowing your limits really helps.
    Personally, I have a problem with the taste of pretty much all alcoholic drinks... I won't force myself to drink something I hate. Besides, when I did that (stupid teenage years...), I really didn't enjoy being drunk at all, so I just maintain distance. Of course, absolutely no objections to those who like a drink. (Since there's a very strange polarization going on nowadays between non-drinkers who think drinkers are a bunch of sheep and drinkers who think the non-drinkers are pussies, I thought I'd made this clear here.) Dostoyevskian, I don't have to get drunk to get out and have a laugh with my friends on weekends, man.
    This. And besides, the only time I really enjoy getting drunk is around hot girls. Shit gets fun ^_^
    Sounds like you've never driven down the 401 doing 200 km/h while waving a half empty forty out the window
    had myself 300 km/h had myself drug addicted had myself in strange places If you trying to keep your "persona" at maximum level of rock'n'roll than you gotta make some change in ur life, cuz after all no one really needs that.
    What if I told you... you can genuinely like rock music without getting shit-faced or being a stoner?
    Sounds like you don't know how to enjoy yourself
    No, I just like to take care of my body. I know exactly how to enjoy myself, but also to know my limits. Personally, I think it's dumb to be overly drunk because you don't have as much control. But all bodies worj differently. My body can turn numb sometimes if I'm not careful, so it's just not worth it.
    despite the fact that they are mainstream media and despite they are very untrustworthy, this is actually true, I know people who'd rather get smashed, stoned, or get laid than enjoy a great band, if you want to do that kind of behavior go to a party or a club it's the same thing, just my opinion
    So agree with this.... I went to Rock im Park last weekend, and it was just SO hot that I went nd got myself a shitload of pepsi. Sure, I had some beers, but I didn't get drunk or stoned at all, and I'm dutch.. thats ****in saying something
    ye well a few years back I went to a gig and got so drunk I didn't remember a thing about it after a certain point, which really sucks so I can see where you are coming from though I always get stoned for gigs and still have a great time!
    "As long as there's, you know, sex and drugs, I can do without the rock and roll." - This is Spinal Tap
    I love the logic - Pay over $100 just to get into the Festival, don't listen to any of the music, buy overpriced alcohol, take drugs so you're so tripped out you don't even know who's playing.
    I usually don't like at least 80% of the bands that are on at any festival and they only play short sets anyway. If I go to a festival, it's more for the atmosphere. I just feel more outgoing at festivals and more comfortable talking to strangers. If people choose to drink, take drugs and have sex with strangers, I think that's fine but they should be responsible about it or they'll spoil it for others or themselves.
    I think there is nothing wrong with being on a festival for just the atmosphere, it's a huge part of it
    I almost always go to watch the band, and i usually have a few beers. Not enough to get me drunk though.
    I've gone to Lollapalooza festival for two years in a row and there is always that one guy who is drunk/high and runs around head first like he's a freaking juggernaut knocking everything and everyone in his way. It really pisses me off because I want to enjoy the festival but I have to worry about my safety.
    This is the reason that festivals still manage to sell out even though the lineups are poor. The reason a festival now sells out with 3 artists announced. The reason Glastonbury sells out before anybody is announced. Big festivals suck these days. The smaller 1-day events are loads better.
    Not bothering to believe this statistics or not, but it is the reason I tend to go to solo shows instead of festivals more often (that and festivals are expensive). There are a lot of people who don't even care to see the bands. It's fine if they just hang around, it's your money you spent, but when they start ruining the crowd it's annoying. I kinda miss when festivals were more music enthusiast gatherings.
    Really? When was that? I mean, obviously it was sometime before the 1960s...
    Well obviously not exclusively music interested, it's always been atmosphere based.
    It's definitely true at the electronic music festivals. I have friends that go to them for three days, and when they come home all they talk about is how messed up they got. None of them have anything to say about the music.
    I definitely care more about the atmosphere and drugs at festivals. But that's mainly because I only tend to go to festivals with really good, consistent line ups, so I don't have to care, I just stumble around in a drug haze seeing whoever happens to be on.
    It's all part of a great festival experience, however, I have to admit that if the choice came down to having sex (with a stranger) or seeing a band perform, I'd probably go with the sex... unless of course it was a REALLY great band
    My Last Words
    I wouldn't take these stats all too serious. Where I come from (the netherlands), there is an abundance of huge (both in and outdoor) electronic music festivals where basically everyone is tripping on coke or xtc. Literally everyone is wearing sunglasses and often free bottles of water are handed out to counter the dehydration caused by the drugs. I actually know a fair amount of people who participate in these kind of events and nearly all of them do it because of the 12-hour-trip experience, not because of some specific artists coming.
    And given the fact that most of the music produced and put out there the last 20 years is complete crap I cant say I am surprised.....
    Hey, Uncle Bluck! I know I'm 6 months late, but Happy New Year 1970! Have you heard of this new Led Zeppelin thing? They're buzzin'!
    Lolnope. I don't do any of those. I'm there solely for music.
    Im with you, i drink pretty rarely and i might have one or 2 but thats usually it. Never touched weed, coke, ecstasy, or anything because it dont interest me, much less being out of my mind missing the band i came to see play live. Ive watched far too many people get drunk and high at the start of a concert and then they end up on the floor 1hr later, they see the opening band and miss the main event. What a waste of a $100 ticket...
    I feel that a lot of this is felt more at electronic dance festivals. Just an observation I noticed when my friend told me how he would go to one of those things and the only way he would have a good time was if he was on ecstasy. Otherwise he would not enjoy it the music at all or the atmosphere. Strange that the music they "like" is only tolerable to them while on drugs. I have also talked to others and they say the same thing to me in some variation.
    Was at Sweden Rock last week, got completely ****ed up and can`t remember much of tuesday and wednesday, stuff like that is not fun
    This is kind of taken too seriously. MSN asked 2000 people ... 2000 people? That's like a tiny crowd in a warped tour show or something, which is simply too small of a number to consider these conclusions to be so valid
    I think the question is "WHAT festival did they interview people at?" Cus if it was a electronic rave music festival kinda thing then yeah.. I assume they give very little respect to the music and have much love for the debauchery.
    I agree 100%, this had to be from electronic festivals. that's honestly the only reason anyone probably goes to them lol.
    Wow. Incredible ignorance and prejudice shown to EDM fans there.
    I should of phrased what I wrote better. I meant a portion of the people, not the entire festivals populace altogether. For example I enjoy going out to clubs playing dub step but I don't actively sit at home listening to it. If I went to a festival for it then I wouldn't be there for the artists so to speak and more so the frivolity of a festival. I would be enjoying the music but it wouldn't be something I fully attribute to my enjoyment.
    I have never been to a festival, but i love going to small shows to see my favourite hardcore bands
    Well, music is usually the first priority. There gotta a fair amount of interesting bands to get me to a festival. Then again, if they wouldn't serve alcohol and you weren't allowed to take anything in I probably wouldn't go.
    They really didn't need a research for this. Sex, Drugs, Rock n Roll That pretty much sums it up. But on a serious note, whats the point?
    a festival is a mix of music, drugs and sleeping with strangers! in my case, change beer for drugs and sleeping for something more sticky, I dind't slept with her
    Depends on the festival if you ask me. This is the case with most of the people on wacken for sure, but at a smaller, more underground fest... people might actually be there for the music I think.
    Well, its easy to say that a bunch of virgins. If you go to a festival like wacken, you go there to have sex at the rythm of the bands there, inside of a mosh pit if its posible.
    It's probably best to take the stats with a grain of salt, but is it really a shock that most big rock/indie fests bring out all kinds of different people? For some people, they're as much fashion shows or social gatherings as they are places to see bands. It's generally why I stick with metal festivals like Maryland Deathfest. Generally, I can be guaranteed there will be at least 10 bands I want to see, and the atmosphere is far different. Sure, everyone's ****ed up and dressed up, but you know off the bat that most people there are as into music as you are.
    Yea just like when i go to the drive inn movies. I'm not there to watch a movie i'm there to get laid and smoke weed!
    No shit, have you ever seen a hipster at a show? They stand in the back and have loud-ass conversations and don't even watch the bands.
    I would agree that the atmosphere is the biggest part of what makes a festival - a festival. It's certainly one of the bigger parts of why I enjoy going. But I still wouldn't spend 200+ going to one where I didn't like at least half of the music I could go and listen to, then even more on drink and drugs. That is just stupid, plain and simple.
    "The result also point out that 47 percent have done something they would "never consider doing outside of the music festival environment" at one of the music events. About 25 percent admitted sleeping with a stranger at a festival, 21 percent said they used drugs and 13 percent got involved in a fight." How did they get this information, why would they just go up to people asking if they did drugs? Better question, why would somebody just say "yup, I'm completely stoned"? Seems fishy to me
    I assume the survey was completed on the internet in confidence. I find that more believable than someone from MSN standing in a field asking people if take drugs and have sex with strangers.
    As someone who is literally just about to walk out the door and drive to Bonnaroo, I can say this is true for at least half of the people I'm going with. They couldn't care any less if Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, or David Byrne are playing. They just want to get ****ed up for a weekend.
    Is this supposed to get people riled up or something? This is basically the reason I love festivals that go on all day for 2-3 days. Yeah I like the music, but I see whoever I want to and get a chance to "escape" from my mundane shit life otherwise. Seems like normal stuff to me, didn't need to point this out, though the info given by that professor was interesting, the lord of misrule thing.
    i think they got it wrong... its.. " festival goers prefer alcohol, drugs and music all together, than music alone. "
    I go to MANY festies. It's all about the tunes and family. While I enjoy adding some flair to my experience, I have friends who stay sober through it all and rage just as hard as I do.
    That's awesome. That means the next festival I play at (next weekend) I have a 1 in 4 chance of getting some hahaha.
    It's about the music for me but bringing a little weed or shrooms to the festival is lots of fun.
    Van Guff
    Why couldn't this come out 6 months ago?! This is the article I really needed for my communications and culture coursework. With regards to the article, it appears I am in the minority that goes to a festival for the music. The way I look at it, I can spend 200 and get drunk in a club, do cocaine off the toilet and then get laid in there. Instead, I spent 200 to go see bands that perhaps I wouldn't normally go see, or wouldn't normally play near to where I live. Alcohol I can understand, but I really don't understand drugs. If you need something that is going to send you off your face into cloud cuckoo land, you need to access your life!
    Alcohol is a drug mate, and you'd be more lucid if you were high on weed, coke or mdma than you would if you were drunk. It's when people mix their drugs that really messes them up.
    If alcohol was introduced now it would be classified as bad as heroin or crack and that's just to the damage it will do to you and it being very addictive, not to mention how dangerous people are when they have been drinking to themselves and others. and its ok to mix drugs, you just have to know exactly what you are doing, what you are taking and how its going to affect YOU by knowing your own limits and how you react to certain things.
    This is certainly the case with some at the Wanee music festival. Some people stay by their tents, far from the music, the whole weekend. I just think it's strange to pay a bunch of money and drive across country (which many of them do) just to camp. But I'm not putting a lot of faith into thie numbers given by this poll.
    I never go to camping festivals unless I'm playing. Otherwise, they're too far away, too expensive, loaded with allergens, and as I found out last year, filled with useless idiots.
    I'm not surprised considering the music is so ****ing loud at festivals your ears can't handle the dB. Earplugs are a solution, but then all you hear is low end and the kick drum. Distortion guitars in general are hard to get to sound decent even in studio recordings. I honestly think rock/metal is not a good genre to be played live.