Inside Coachella's Insane Drug Culture

Categories: Coachella

Coachella security guards sometimes pat people down pretty seriously. The trick when you're searching a girl is to tug lightly on her bra wire in the front - which will cause baggies of ecstasy stashed in the cups to drop. But the thoroughness of searches varies widely, and many folks are let through without having their bags examined. Not that the guards stand a fighting chance anyway; from bras that let you smuggle in an entire bottle of wine, to shoes with a pocket where you can hide your weed, the people who want to party will always find a way.

Once inside, you'll see young girls rubbing their gums during Disclosure, boys in the midst of a three-day moon rocks binge pogoing to Calvin Harris, or groups of excited, muscled bros cranking out to Haim. "My friend had a large bag of molly he was dipping from during a set," says the twentysomething. "The bag spilled all over his hand when he was jostled, and the crowd of friends around him immediately began licking his hand like a bunch of crazed lizard people."

At the campgrounds, populated largely by college students (and Marines) with seemingly no concern for their health, things are even crazier. One guy took molly for the first time, and may have also eaten something bad. He didn't drink enough water, and when he woke up the next day he began boozing, and before long was vomiting. He was too nauseous to keep down water at this point, and so a friend advised him to smoke weed. While some of the brightest up-and-coming bands in the world were playing inside the grounds he was doubled over at the campsite.

Yet somehow the festival has been tied to only one other death over the years. There's no telling how things will play out after Truong's death, but until now Coachella has had a good reputation for safety, unlike, say, Electric Daisy Carnival. But anyone who thought the festival wouldn't be rocked by tragedy - and that giant music festivals until the end of time won't continue to be rocked by tragedies - is delusional. 

In fact, that's probably the best word to describe the Coachella Valley every April. It's a strange moment in time when thrill-seeking kids escape suburban ennui by funneling their pre-tax inheritance into the local economy. But that economy and the Coachella Valley itself is, because of its geography, ultimately doomed. Just like its year-round inhabitants, and just like the kids who only want to live while they're alive.  

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