20% of Young Fans Plan to Take More Drugs — and Spend Less on Food and Drinks — to Save Money At Music Festivals, Study Finds

  • Save

  • Save
Fans attend Lowlands, one of the Netherlands’ most popular music festivals. Organizers have raised the price of passes to €300 apiece this year. Photo Credit: Laurensvanheerde

Amid continued inflation, dwindling savings, and other byproducts of ongoing economic turbulence, fans are getting creative to save cash – including by substituting drugs for drinks and food while attending music festivals, according to a newly published study.

This and other noteworthy findings came to light as part of a survey conducted by the EenVandaag Opinion Panel’s 3Vraagt as well as NPO 3FM. Between March 22nd and April 5th, 1,758 Netherlands residents between the ages of 16 and 34 participated in the music festival study, according to organizers, with 1,254 of these individuals having indicated that they “sometimes” purchase festival passes.

Furthermore, some 37 percent of occasional attendees will have to forgo enjoying at least one festival in 2023 “because the tickets are too expensive,” according to the Dutch-language analysis. Lowlands, which is scheduled to take place in August, has raised the price of passes from €255 to €300 apiece, and is in any event sold out, was the most-mentioned happening on this front, per the resource.

Meanwhile, festival fanatics likewise plan to tighten the belt when it comes to purchasing alcoholic beverages (43 percent intend to “drink less or buy cheaper drinks”) and indulging in on-site bites (“a quarter will eat less or cheaper”), the results show.

Expanding upon the points, 19 percent of surveyed attendees said they’re poised to take more drugs at music festivals throughout the year – with over half (51 percent) of the respondents who usually use more drugs at festivals (as opposed to elsewhere) preparing to increase their intake in an effort to avoid shelling out dough for food and drinks.

“For 20 euros you have an ecstasy pill and a whole day of water at a festival,” reads a translation of one fan’s reasoning. “With beer and food you lose three or four times as much.”

Notwithstanding the pivot to decidedly innovative cost-cutting measures, though, 62 percent of respondents said that they understand why festival prices are rising – “No one can escape inflation, festivals just have to pass on their costs,” explained one individual, per the breakdown.

Finally, 63 percent of participants expressed opposition to the idea of rolling out government subsidies for festivals, the study shows, with 54 percent having disapproved of a system wherein discounted passes would be made available to low-income individuals.

Needless to say, it’ll be worth closely monitoring the above-outlined trends – and the overarching impact of economic uncertainty on the live entertainment space – during the remainder of 2023 and beyond. At present, however, evidence suggests that fan demand for high-profile music events isn’t abating, and a growing number of festivals are being livestreamed to viewers around the globe.

Even so, and despite the steady stream of tour announcements that 2023 has delivered thus far, multiple acts have spoken publicly about the post-COVID financial difficulties associated with planning and executing concert series.