New survey reveals the top 10 substances sneaked into music festivals


The headliners are announced, the tickets are sold out, and festival season is in full swing. Ultra Music Festival, Miami 2018 may have kicked off music festival season but there are dozens more happening.




A new survey of over 1,000 Americans reveals which prohibited substances (Drugs and alcohol), people will be sneaking into this year’s events.

Music festivals are the #1 place where people sneak in prohibited substances, across every generation


Across every generation, the most common location for restricted goods was a music festival or concert. While it may not always be the case, illicit substance use at festivals has proven fatal in some instances. The youngest Americans (Gen Zers) surveyed admitted sneaking drugs or alcohol into a friend’s house party or onto school grounds, while older men and women (baby boomers) brought prohibited paraphernalia to work.

More than 1/2 of men and women hide ecstasy in their underwear, and as many say they put cocaine in their socks or shoes


Sixty-one percent of men admitted to hiding prohibited alcohol underneath a jacket at a place or event, while more than 68 percent put the substance in their pant pocket and nearly 27 percent thought the safest place for their bootleg booze was underneath their shirt. Women had similar opinions on how to get their libations in, and more than 42 percent opted to hide spirits in their pant pocket.

People didn’t go to as great of lengths to conceal alcohol, but they were definitely more conscious of keeping illegal drugs hidden. More than half of men and women kept ecstasy in their underwear, and as many said they put cocaine in their socks or shoes.

Only 5% have been caught with prohibited drugs or alcohol –– maybe because 85% asked a friend to smuggle it in for them


Security precautions at events (including concert festivals and sporting games) may be increasing, but that doesn’t seem to have stopped most Americans from attempting to smuggle in their substance of choice – or led to particularly high capture rates according to our survey.

Less than 8 percent of men and just over 3 percent of women said they’d been caught trying to bring a prohibited substance to a place or event. Slightly more (between 7 and 9 percent) got caught after the fact. More often, people relied on someone else to do the dirty work rather than risk detection themselves. Over 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women persuaded someone else to sneak in substances – leading nearly 3 percent to admit their friends were caught in the process.

Hard liquor and marijuana are the most popular contraband — almost 72% and 65% of music festival-goers sneak them in


A vast majority (4 in 5) of Americans brought prohibited drugs or alcohol to sporting events, concerts, theme parks, and more for one reason: to have fun. While it’s possible to feel a range of emotions (including relaxed, confident, or energized) while drinking, the perception that alcohol is a necessary ingredient in having a good time could be a myth. In reality, it could be the environment or company kept while drinking that makes people feel so good.

More prominent logic behind concealing drugs or alcohol in public included monetary reasons (such as saving by avoiding concession prices), thrill, and (for nearly 1 in 10 Americans) addiction. Despite increased support for legalizing marijuana use, nearly 71 percent of people who sneaked marijuana into a venue or event were addicted to the substance. More than 1 in 4 people who concealed cocaine acknowledged the same, and over 19 percent who smuggled ecstasy did so because they were dependent.

Method of survey

Over 1,294 male and female survey participants were collected from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. 81% of the participants claimed to have sneaked substances such as alcohol or drugs into an event or venue when it was not permitted, and 19% said they never did this. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 73, with an average age of 34 years old. Participants who had never sneaked in a substance in the past were excluded. The data was weighted to the 2016 U.S. Census for gender.



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