Organizing a music festival means knowing how to throw a party. It also means knowing how to save a life.

“When it comes to bad drug interactions and overconsumption, we’re talking about some of the biggest risk factors at the core of many live music experiences.”

Thrival Crowd Shot
Adam Piscitelli / Courtesy of Thrival

Twenty-five suspected GHB overdoses in Australia. Twenty-four suspected THC overdoses in Ohio. Thirty suspected Fentanyl overdoses in Toronto. Dozens of molly overdoses in Florida. A fatal LSD overdose in California, and 90 people hospitalized for overconsumption in Connecticut.

It’s unclear whether the year’s worth of concert-related headlines reveals growing rates of concert drug use, the side effects of a growing festival movement, the changing and often unpredictable nature of drugs — or all three.

Earlier this month in Burgettstown at Farm Aid, an event less closely associated with hard drug use than the Electric Daisy Carnival or Burning Man, for example, police arrested revelers for everything from cocaine to methadone, methamphetamine to LSD and marijuana to suspected heroin.

For all these reasons, Dan Law, director of Thrival Music Festival, said questions of substance abuse and related questions of public safety remain inescapable for concert promoters and organizers like himself.