Dangerous but Popular: Summer Music Festivals Draw Huge College-aged Crowds

Music festivals have become a hot spot for young people to flock to so they can enjoy the atmosphere, the music and everything that comes along with it. Huge festivals that reel in college-aged people include Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Coachella, the Electric Daisy Carnival and Bamboozle. These festivals on their own make tens of millions of dollars each year.

Music festivals through the nation are changing the music scene and landscape. The publicity at these shows for emerging musicians and groups is great. Merchandising advancements are important for the artist(s) in the music festival world because it is a crucial way for them to make money.

Festivals such as these are big for younger people due to the common usage of drugs and consumption of alcohol. Before 2006, a lot of music festivals were branded by beer, which is why drinking has become so popular in the music festival atmosphere. 

Recently, alongside the popularity of marijuana consumption, a dangerous drug has found its way into music festivals like The Electric Daisy Carnival. The "club-drug" MDMA, better known as "Molly," has found its way into these events and has caused a high amount of fast overdoses.

Mike Mattera, a junior who has attended and is a fan of the Electric Daisy Carnival, said, "Unfortunately, there are a lot of drugs. Somebody died at EDC last year [due to ecstasy], and they canceled the third day."

Since a lot of these festivals are held in the summer, dehydration, heat exhaustion/stroke and use of these mood-enhancing drugs are making it even harder for some to stay off the floor. Marijuana has become a more "accepted" drug in the music festival community as compared to MDMA and ecstasy.

It has also become an "accepted" factor that, at festivals, younger folks will be smoking or drinking. Festival promoters have found ways to promote safe fun. Many signs say, "Watch out for friends and possible signs of overdose" and, "If you haven't done it at home, don't do it here for the first time" around the venue.

A lot of today's festivals are multi-day events where those involved go to listen to music, have a little too much fun and possibly sleep in a car or tent to be ready for the next day's musical lineup.

Young people go to these festivals because it is a form of escapism. It gives some a way to live a completely different life, surrounded by music and friends for a couple days, if affordable of course. Events like Bamboozle and Summerfest are safe-havens for those who are struggling in real-life scenarios, like job searching, school and other personal issues.

Individuals who attend these events experience a type of freedom among the many we have. Mattera explained that music at festivals like EDC play "popular music." 

"It's the 'new pop.' You have Pitbull covering electronic music; you have Flo Rida covering that type of music, too. So now it's like all on the radio and stuff like that. It's the cool thing, I guess," said Mattera.

Festivals have definitely become a place for college students to let go and enjoy music they and their friends love. Social networking is heavily used at these festivals so concert goers will be able to connect with the new people they meet at these multi-day events.  

"I got to meet a lot of people, and it was a lot of fun," Mattera said. "Mostly, people are just really happy."