Coachella and drugs: a true experience

Natalie Rivera

The Coachella Music and Arts Festival has reigned supreme over the American music festival scene for more than a decade now. People from all around the world travel vast distances just to burn in the California region of the Colorado Desert.

This was the eighth time I had the luxury of attending this spectacle. I enjoy watching and participating as homo sapiens melt their inhibitions and devolve into a drug fueled orgy of music and mischief.

I am in no way encouraging people to consume drugs or participate in any of the sinful activities I am about to describe. For the first three years I attended Coachella I did not drink a single drop of alcohol, touch a cigarette, joint or any drug for that matter. Being sober at Coachella was just as fun for me.

However, I don’t feel like I am being bold in saying the majority of people at the festival are getting altered one way or another.

On Friday while I was in one of the luxurious air conditioned bathroom trailers located between the stages. While I was in the stall I overheard a man offering cocaine to everyone in line. I usually don’t take drugs from strangers, but I thought to myself, “this voice from the other side of the bathroom stall offering cocaine sounds trustworthy.”

He was holding a tiny Ziploc bag; in the baggy was a rolled up a $50 bill loaded with my own personal bump of the floury white powder. The fact that it was a $50 bill comforted me, because $1 bills get passed around to homeless people, people drop them on the floor and they run through vending machines. The logic is less people have touched a $50 bill. Flawless logic.

And it was free so I took a hit.

The cocaine hit me pronto. All my senses became heightened. I felt like Wolverine. I was able to sense people looking at me and not looking at me. As I walked to the Outdoor Stage, one of six stages featured at the festival, I used my Wolverine super sensitive nose and sniffed out my friends to watch Britain’s beatboxing master, Beardyman. His performance was the most entertaining half-hour set of the weekend.

After that, my group headed back to the campgrounds. Coachella allows its patrons to go in-and-out from the festival grounds and return to their camp sites, allowing you to rest up for a bit, eat food, drink beer that isn’t overpriced and to take your drugs at your campsite – which is an excellent way to make sure your contraband doesn’t fall out of your underwear while you’re waiting in line to re-enter the festival.

Could you imagine the humiliation of being the person that is busted at Coachella? That’s like getting a ticket for urinating in the ocean.

One of the biggest disappointments of the night was Modest Mouse. Frontman Isaac Brock acted like a drunken mess. He would ramble for minutes in between songs; god knows what the fuck he was talking about. They probably could have fit one or two more songs in their set if Brock would just shut up.

It’s disappointing to think I missed Dog Blood (Boys Noize/ Skrillix) for Brock’s inaudible ramblings (I don’t even like Skrillix, but Boys Noize is an incredibly talented DJ). Had I gone to Dog Blood it probably would have grooved better with the Molly I was on. Molly is pure MDMA. It’s so pure it doesn’t bond to itself the same way a pill of ecstasy does.

Thankfully the Yeah Yeah Yeahs more than made up for this. Coachella veteran Karen O knew how to entertain, putting the head of the microphone in her mouth, holding it with her teeth and making this guttural, shrieking roar from her belly. It was both frightening and sexy at the same time. Molly can make everything feel sexy and change your physiologically. I started to peak on my high just as they played their big closer, “Heads will Roll,” making my heart sync with the kick drum and a snare.

On Saturday night, we returned to find our campsite in shambles. High wind advisories had been posted. But did we listen? No.

The skeletons of canopies all over camp turned the site into an elephant graveyard. One of our canopies was flying like a kite… not the kind of thing you want to see when you are candy flipping (a combination of LSD and MDMA).

Sunday I took acid again and found myself at a computer station in the festival taking an online quiz for class. That’s right, I was doing homework at Coachella. Just because I may participate in the occasional recreational drug use does not mean I am irresponsible. I advise against that as it is really hard once the letters grow little legs and go wherever the hell they feel like.

After I finished my homework I met back with my party, ingested more MDMA, then enjoyed The Faint.

The Faint, known for their heavy, prominent synths that I can’t ever get enough of. Synthesiser can be your best friend while under the influence of MDMA. Your ears become hyper-sensitive, allowing one to focus on audio frequencies commonly ignored.

If I have any advice for future festival goers it would be to stay hydrated. I spaced out each alcohol drink with a bottle of water.  Sure I was peeing every hour, but I felt refreshed and invigorated the next morning. I also encourage festival goers to be safe and have fun. And to say no to drugs.