Series Post 4: Should it continue?

The Man at Burning Man festival in Black Rock City

To an outsider, festival culture is quite hard to explain. Many people automatically think hippies and drugs, and although this assumption is partly correct, their overall purpose lies much deeper.
Over the course of these blog posts we have explored drug use at festivals; including the history behind it, the reasons why festival attendees use, and how drug use continues despite it being illegal and highly punishable under law.
Ironically enough festivals of this nature or those notorious for bartering, self-reliance, self-expression, non-violence, and volunteerism, are a concept born from the use of LSD during the early 1960’s. This was a period where people readily saught new experiences and new ideas that would enhance ones character and instill a broader world view, so naturally the popularity of these festivals skyrocketed, as well as the amount of people using psychadelics and other mind exploring drugs.
From these humble beginnings, we now have a whole festival season that stretches from May to October and at these events thousands of people continue to use illegal substances like LSD, mushrooms, ecstasy, and marijuana.
Many might wonder, including myself, how over 44% of festival attendees continue to use despite it being illegal. Well, the answer lies in the details.
Many festivals are held on private property, away from the prying eyes of the police and for those that are not, the state and federal government are too busy and under funded to crack down on events characterized by peace and love.
That being said, drugs are still bad. They harm our bodies, can lead to addictions, and in extreme cases even death. With such negative implications, should we continue to let such open drug use and distribution at festivals without interference by the law? I think yes.
First we must consider all the other harm we do to our bodies. We drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and some of us lay out in the sun for hours-on-end without protection. All of these things are in their own way just as harmful as doing drugs at a festival.
Lastly, should festivals begin policing and upholding the law, it would completely alter something that many people hold so dear to their hearts.
There is something about festivals that warrants an “anything goes attitude.” People are free to create what they want, dress how they want, act how they want, etc. This is so very rare in this world.
I believe that this carefree attitude is in part attributed to the use of drugs. Using mind exploring drugs often allows people to see into the beyond, leading to intense conclusions about oneself and the world around us. They also allow many to tap into a part of their imagination that would otherwise lay untouched. It is the same thing that has been done by shamans and witch doctors for thousands of years, and can be just as spiritual.
I personally, don’t see anything wrong with this. I know many people would disagree, and that’s because they’ve never attended a festival like this or their lives haven’t been touched and so completely altered in such a positive way simply by becoming apart of the festival family. And that’s what we are, festival attentees are nothing but a colorful and ever changing family and everybody needs a family and a place where they feel they belong.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. nataliecarmen
    Dec 14, 2010 @ 11:08:34

    I’m really glad you posted your opinion on drug use during all of these different festivals. I know many people might see this as controversial, but I totally agree with you! I have been to my fair share of these type of festivals and there is such a free loving spirit present among almost everyone that attends, it’s something so great that I can’t quite articulate in words! As long as people don’t take it over board, I don’t see anything wrong with it. You made a good argument!


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