Tag Archives: Cocaine

The Music Festival Guide to Drugs

Having walked into a dozen or two music festivals and having tumbled out or escorted or thrown out by security, I’ve had first hand accounts of the harmful effects of drugs on naive festival-goers. First up, hide it well when you’re going in. Secondly, there’s no doubt that drugs are bad for you, including the ones you get across the counter at medical stores and chemists. In case you’ve been blinded by TV commercials and Shah Rukh and MS Dhoni’s Royal Stag testimonials, even alcohol is a drug.

According to the WHO, A drug is any substance (other than food that provides nutritional support) that, when inhaled, injected, smoked, consumed, absorbed via a patch on the skin, or dissolved under the tongue, causes a physiological change in the body. – wikipedia

‘Drugs’ as per the commonly abused definition of the word, are against the law. Then again, in India and most other ignorant countries, so is homosexuality. The law is dumber than the dude who decided this demonetization thing. So if you get caught, you’re on your own – like I learned at NH7 Weekender 2010, 2012, 2014… and still learning. In this post, we’re only talking about the drugs that the lawmakers and music festivals talk about.

More often than not, you don’t hear of scary stories. But there’s that one idiot who gives the whole crew a bad name by overdosing on some suspicious material, or mixing it all up and then face-planting into the sound console. So before you go all into your fear & loathing at the festival mode, it’s best to educate yourself about what to expect when you’re tripping balls. And luckily there’s enough ways to stay safe and alive.

  1. Weed/hashish/charas – the good stuff can be sniffed out from a football field away. So if you see those big bouncers running towards you, empty your pockets immediately and be ready to beg them to not tear your festival band up. Also stay close to the food stall so you don’t get lost trying to satiate your munchies craving. Caution: Do not mix with hard alcohol.
  2. Alcohol – yes, just because all your festivals are sponsored by them, and your dad drinks, and your grandpa drinks, it doesn’t mean alcohol is not a drug. It is, but the morality of it being legal is a different discussion. Stay hydrated. Eat well. And go easy. You don’t want to projectile at some unsuspecting chick dressed like a fairy. Caution: Slow down. Do not mix the darks and the whites. And remember all that coke and sprite and whatever mixers you use, have an obscene amount of sugar content. Make sure the ice is made with filtered water. Or skip the ice.
  3. Cocaine – now we’re going hard. It ups the energy levels. But it can also up the douchebag levels. Tends to make some feel aggressive. If you have that tendency, stay off the coca. Do not walk around like you dipped your face in snow. Caution: stay hydrated. Don’t start a fight. Somebody will clock you out.
  4. MDMA/extacy/molly – everybody’s fave party/rave/festival drug. Will help you dance 15 hours straight, but the body ache recovery post festival will take 10x that time. Also, you’ll be feeling the love a lot. But don’t get too touchy-feely with random strangers, aaite? The bouncers are always watching. Caution: There’s a lot of bad MD going around, especially at festivals when those greedy scumbag peddlers are out to make a fortune. So go easy. Watch out for really bad downers and anxiety attacks. Both cocaine and MDMA tend to increase your tolerance for alcohol. But when they wear off, the alcohol side effects will make life hell. Very dehydrating, so carry a ton of oral hydration salts or glucon d.
  5. LSD – magical colours, patterns, and love will exist where they never did before. Also this is probably the least harmful drug, physically. But if you have any case of mental or emotional trauma or baggage, stay off absolutely. LSD takes a while to wear off. And if you’re stuck in a painful psychological trip, you might even consider killing yourself to get out of it. Please don’t give the drug a bad name by dying. Caution: stay hydrated. Fresh juices/fruits are best.
  6. DMT – if you take this at a music festival, you’re probably out of your mind. Literally. And some of those EDM acts while tripping on DMT can be akin to sitting in a pitch black torture chamber listening to nickelback for days together on loop. Caution: certainly not to be mixed with other chemicals or alcohol or greasy food.
  7. Ketamine – aka fertilizer aka horse tranquilizer aka don’t touch that thing. But more often than not, this has been passed around as MDMA among unsuspecting festival goers. Given its low cost, its also become a popular choice of drugs among the youth. But honestly, I cant think of a worse drug than ketamine. If you DO end up using, make sure you stay hydrated and keep chewing gum as well. Those jaw clenches can be gnarly. And really, the 3-4 terrible days of recovery period – where your tongue burns and your jaws hurt and you have no appetite – is hell.

So yeah, I’ll recycle this post just in time for the next festival season. But keep these general tips in mind anyway, and stay psychologically undamaged/alive.





Got a call to play another festival in San Roque. So i headed out as usual to the cab stand from where the ‘colectivos’ or shared cabs head from Tarapoto to San Roque. Normally i’d find one in ten minutes. Today there was more than the usual number of people heading the same way, so cabs were unavailable for the next two hours. I decided to take a cab to San Antonio instead which is halfway to the destination, maybe swim in the river Cumbaza a bit, and walk the remaining seven km.

I got to San Antonio, stripped off and jumped into the river. Got out, dried off and started my walk towards San Roque, hoping for a pickup truck or colectivos with space to maybe stop for me. Three colectivos raced past, and were already packed beyond the seven people capacity. Of course it’s a five seater car. But seven’s the norm. And sometimes there’s upto nine in a car. Like packing balls into tight jeans. 

After about 2 kilometers of hiking, i heard the blaring of a stereo behind me. The music got louder, till a familiar guitar solo caught my attention. A 1986 toyota corona fishtailed, skid, drifted and screeched to a halt a few meters ahead of me, with Estranged by GnR full blast out the equally old stereo speakers. Three heads popped out the windows. Bloodshot eyes wide open, sweaty faces.



They motioned for me to get in. And i did, without hesitation. 

‘San Roque?’, they asked. They’d heard about the party. About some indian dj playing there. ‘Fuck indian dj man. We play music from car, louder. Muchos louder.’

Yeah, I said.. fuck the indian dj, fucking immigrants i tell ya.

Dude driving was shaped like a potato, white bulging sleeveless vest on. Facial hair yet to break out. Next to him was a muscle-dude, constantly turning back to hand me a bottle of pre-mixed rum and cola. I kept resisting. Next to me at the back was a guy that looked like he just got out of prison for battery. Scars on his face and forearms. Eyes wandering all over the place like he was lost in a strange big city. The driver was speeding way more than anybody should’ve on slippery rainforest roads. One glitch, and you’re hurtling down a cliff 1500m high. Into oblivion. And just as i pictured in my head, the car skid, lost control, fishtailed again and went hurtling towards an edge, but came screeching to a halt a few feet within safety.

‘HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH PUUTA MAADRE (son of a whore)‘, they laughed. My balls were halfway up my intestines.

‘You have twenty soles? We want for gas.’

‘No have’, i said, still sweating off my brow. I could have waited two hours and paid six soles for a colectivo. Fucker was beyond stupid to think i’d give him twenty soles.

‘Aaaah. Mierda (shit).’

The engine was still running, when suddenly a bright spark came across the dude’s face in front of me, next to the driver.

He opened the dashboard, pulled out a bag of fine white powder, smashed the rocks in it with the back of his phone. And pulled out a spoon from the same dashboard. He dug into the bag, scooped up a spoonful, and sent it straight up his nostrils in one quick move. This is the same amount i’d pay between four to five grand back home for. One scoop. And half that scoop he dropped all over his pants and on the seat. And all over his ugly nose and chin. He didn’t care. The bag had maybe fifteen grams. He passed it on to the driver, who followed the same scoop-motion, and the dude at the back. And then the bag finally came to me. I held it for a few seconds. Took a pinch to my gums, and gave it back to the dude in front. I didn’t want to do it. I just needed to know how it tasted. Honest to God. And it tasted real good. Like, REAL good. Pablo-Escobar-good.  

He was offended i hadn’t stuffed my nostrils with it. ‘POR QUE NO (why not)?!?’

‘I no want.’

‘QUE PASA parcero (wtf is up dude)??’, he scowled. 

‘I no need, hermano. Can we go to San Roque now? I have work.’

Estranged moved to You Could be Mine. And the rest of Use Your Illusion 2, till half that bag was done, a few more halts later. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy that album in stereo sound off those old speakers. I was taken back to the days of my my old aiwa cassette player at home. And Sandy blasting the same beats in the bedroom off his kit. The whole skidding and screeching to a halt was well rehearsed and controlled, as i soon realized. I didn’t taste any more of it. That pinch had done enough to my face. Dude in the front kept air-drumming, and the guy next to me was air-guitaring the solos to every track on the album, though it was all a little fail, and out of sync. But i didn’t tell them.  

We finally reached San Roque, and i got off and said thanks and bye to them. I don’t think i’ve ever been that desperate to say bye to a bunch of coke fiends. They stopped to eat at one of the local joints, and i was off to the venue, hoping they wouldn’t come by. But they did, soon as they got their hands on more cola for their rum.

While i was soundchecking, they drove down to the open shed which was the venue, Estranged blasting again. Soon as they appeared, i looked over to my crew, the sober bunch. I could see it in their faces, these dudes weren’t welcome here. I walked out to them, told them straight up cut the loud shit and leave their drugs and alcohol in the car, or get the fuck outta here. They were too shocked to respond. Or they didn’t understand a word i said. Either way, the red toyota disappeared over the horizon within a few minutes, midway through Slash’s solo.

Fucking partypooper indian dj.

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