This guide was created by one of our students for all UCSB students. The information presented is intended to help students make safe and responsible decisions while attending music events this spring. For more information, check out the full festival guide, brought to you by Life of the Party, at


Let’s face it: Over the past few years, Electronic Dance Music has become extremely popular in the U.S. And thank God! No other type of entertainment can get your neurons firing at rates that create the same amount of incredible excitement and euphoria. If you have listened to David Guetta, deadmau5, Avicii, Afrojack, Hardwell, Daft Punk (love their comeback), Benny Benassi (at 46, the old guy can still get it done), Zedd, Wolfgang Gartner, Sasha and many others, you know what I am talking about.


Massive music festivals have become the premier way to see as many of these EDM artists as possible while taking part in a unique social experience. Sadly, poor preparation, mixing of substances and excessive drug use have been the cause of several deaths at these events.


A great music season is about to start, so we here at UCSB Alcohol and Drug Program have developed a guide that will help you stay safe and truly enjoy this time of the year. Even though we are not asking you to be abstinent (impossible, right?), we do have a challenge for you: See if you can match my 2009 EDC performance. I was up ‘til 4 a.m., substance free, well hydrated (with water) and having the time of my life with an awesome group of 16 friends who did the same. By the way, we stumbled into a sick live show by Infected Mushroom in one of the side stages. So keep a lineup of the shows with you at all time and push yourself to tryto see new acts.



Pre-Festival Planning

It’s important to be prepared when you will be away from all the comforts of home and staying or camping in a new and less accommodating environment. Here is a list of items to bring that may be helpful during your music event experience:

• plenty of food (proteins, fruits, PB&J materials, granola bars, crackers, nuts)

• water and sports drinks with electrolytes (like Gatorade)

• warm and cold weather clothing, including rain gear

• comfortable shoes

• electronic accessories (car phone chargers, camera chargers or batteries, flashlight)

• hand sanitizer

• toiletries

• blankets

• sunscreen, lip balm

• your prescription medication or emergency devices (inhalers, Epipen, etc.)


Safety While You’re There

• Never accept open drinks (even water) from strangers.

• If you’re going to do drugs, plan ahead and know your limit. Experiment safely, not spontaneously.

• Locate the first aid tent beforehand. If something doesn’t feel right, get help. The first aid tent is there to help you, not get you in trouble.

• Utilize security or event staff as needed — they’re there to help you, too!

• Be respectful of other people’s time and choices at events.

• Don’t be afraid to ask someone you don’t know if they’re alright; ask for a thumbs-up and ask if they know their name and where they’re at. If they can’t answer these questions, take them to a first-aid tent!

• Use the buddy system: Designate a meeting time and place in case you don’t have a phone, communicate with your friends if you need to leave the crowd and return to your campsite.

• Bring trash bags if you’re camping to clean up and keep your campsite green. Leave the site better than when you found it!


After the Festival Ends…

• Replenish your nutrients; take vitamins.


• Rest your body and mind by catching up on plenty of sleep.

• Listen to your body: Be physically active or take time to relax, depending on what you’re feeling.

• Have a cool-down session where you can process your experience with supportive people.

• Refocus your energy on your academics.


Substance Withdrawal Symptoms: Typically, people in withdrawal experience the opposite effects of the drug they have taken. Don’t hesitate to seek medical attention if you feel it is becoming necessary.


If you are planning on attending a music festival and would like to create a free totem to be able to identify your campsite and/or find your friends in the crowd, stop by Portola on Wednesday, April 16 from 5-8 p.m.


Have any other questions? Feel like talking to someone? Contact the Alcohol & Drug Program at (805) 893-2714(805) 893-2714 or at for free and confidential counseling.


This article is a collaboration between Lacey Johnson, MFT, Alcohol & Drug Program Counselor, Marjan Riazi, Acting Alcohol and Drug Program Education and Outreach Coordinator, and Edwin Feliciano, MD, Director of Behavioral Health.


A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 14, 2014 print edition of the Daily Nexus.
 Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB. Opinions are submitted primarily by students.