I rarely play music festivals but I’m playing Shambhala this year and it got me thinking about this funny shit that happened at festival I played a long time ago. Usually, I go to these things alone, play, and get out as quickly as possible. It’s just not my scene. but this one time, it was a drivable distance from NYC so I invited a few friends with me and we made a night out of it. The plan was to take some shrooms and some molly and whyle the fuck out. My friends needed minimal prompting so it was an easy sell.
It was a super duper backwoods hippie festival in New Hampshire. We arrived on the grounds, got the lay of the land and pretty much had like 4 hours to kill before i had to play. My friends had no obligations so they took shrooms right away but I had to wait til after I was done “working”. I decided i was gonna pop my molly halfway through my set and see what happens. I did and , with like ten minutes left, it kicked in. For real, it was the most fun I ever had playing in my life. By the time I got off stage, I was HIGH. Right then, a camera crew starts to interview me. Reminder: I was so high…but I was also beaming cause my Serotonin was doing cartwheels in my brain. I willfully and joyfully do the interview and thank god it never surfaced cause I bet I looked like a complete saucer eyed psycho.
After I got off stage I located my friends and I took the shrooms , while my friends took their molly. They had been tripping for a few hours at this point and , adding the molly to it, were pretty far ahead of me. Because I was an artist, I had access to a special “backstage area” which was basically open farm land and a cabin where artists could chill, eat and use the bathroom. We were all tripping and decided it would be a great idea to go there and pee and be indoors for a little cause it was pretty cold out. But also, the whole “changing of scenery” quest one does when tripping was in full effect. We walked down this long, almost pitch dark pathway, lit only by scattered glow sticks (of course it was cause festival). We go the house and entered the main room. I recall it being pretty empty. maybe one of two people in it. There was a couch there so my friends and I b-lined for that. basking in the comfort of the couch, one of my friends needed to use the bathroom but just as she got up to do that, a very intense man in a pink fur coat came in and the other people in the room seemed very focused on him. Turns out, he was one of the festival paramedics (I actually named a song after him cause it was such a bizarre sight to see a guy who looked like the lead singer of Midnight Oil , in a pink fur , NO SHIRT underneath and some weird colorful raver pants be the person who might just save your life). Anyway, turns out a girl had locked herself in the bathroom and was unresponsive. The only girls in the room where my two friends. They turned to us and asked if anyone could go in and check on her. I guess they wanted a girl to go in , in case she was exposed or something. I was happy to not be an option cause I was way too high and that would literally be the last thing I wanna do…possibly find a dead person…ON SHROOMS? no thanks. But one of my friends reacted as if it was nothing and was like “Sure, I’ll do it”. This this day, that blows my mind. I don’t know if you’ve done Mushrooms before but taking responsibility in social and public situations is pretty low on the list of desired activities. I once had a near meltdown with friends , while shrooming, cause none of us wanted to go get a bottle of water from the bodega. We were scared of THAT concept. So, imagine being super high and being asked to go check if some random girl is maybe dead on a toilet. But my friend did that…and the girl was alive. Just passed out. She made sure the girl wasn’t in any compromising positions and send in Doctor sunflower to check on her. My friend was in the bathroom for what felt like an hour (but was probably like 2 minutes) so when she got out we are ready to GTFO there, Like, I’m not a “vibes” guy, in general. but in that moment, I was MR. Vibes and the vibes were dark and ominous so we needed to not be in there anymore.
We stepped outside and it was like the cold air washing over us changed everything. The heaviness of that other situation evaporated and we were back on our path. We walked around the secluded area where only artists could be. It was a farm so we passed a horse.I almost didn’t believe he was real, at first. Ever seen a horse when you’re tripping? It’s something else. Pretty sure I tried to talk to her and told her how majestic she was. Or not. But it was something. The cold was becoming overwhelming so we decided we would go warm up in my friends car and listen to music. We got in and my friend put on “Drunk in love” by Beyonce and, I gotta say, it seemed like the best song ever at that time. I remember blabbering in about the production and being just blown away at the whole construction of the song cause I was absolutely tripping my balls off. I mean, it’s a cool song but high me REALLY felt it. Which is very funny to look back on and makes me kinda wish i had video of me in that moment so I could show future generations and be like “That’s what high people do”.
So, after we warmed up in the car, we decided to brave into the actual festival. This was a little nerve wracking but also kinda exciting. We walked on the campus and the first thing I saw was one of those art tents. At these festivals they often have these “shops” where people sell their art. It’s generally art based on drugs or hippie shit and, to the sober eye, is terrible. Well, when I saw it in that condition i was like “ohhhhhhh I get it now!”. Keep in mind, I still didn’t think it was good but I finally understood the appeal of it. And my mushroom mind went down that path for a while, which was amusing, to say the least.
So we are just walking around the grounds, It’s pretty dark and all the people passing us seemed like shadows. We decide to check out one of the music tents cause what else are we gonna do? Now, I’m no fan of EDM. In fact, I kinda think it’s the worst. That said, when on the right combo of drugs, I’ve been known to be more lenient to certain kinds of music. We walk in this tent and bunch of extremely high scattered hippies were dancing to music that can best be described as what would happen if you put some cymbals and a robot in a dryer and set it on “fuck your ears”. Not even in my highest state could I tolerate it so we dipped out. It should be noted that one of my friends who was with me came up in the NYC club scene and was very down to stay so sorry to her. Couldn’t do it.
I think we meandered around for a little more and decided it was time to leave. My friend who drove us there had been high for , i dunno, 6 or 7 hours so she felt confident about driving us back to out hotel a mile or so away. It’s 4 am in new hampshire in the middle of nowhere so it’s not like there was much activity. At least that’s how we justified doing what we definitely shouldn’t have been doing…driving anywhere on mushrooms and molly. So, we did it. She drove. she drove great. It wasn’t far and we didn’t see another car on the road. I’m pretty sure she drove like 25 miles per hour the whole way. The entire time, assuring us she was good. It was misty out and it actually looked very beautiful , as things tend to look when you’re high on mushrooms. We go to the hotel and she parked saying “Wow, I can’t believe i just made it here”. Score one for bad choices that pan out!
We got into our shitty Days Inn hotel room. The girls shared one bed and I had the other. we milled about, cleaned up and had high conversations for a while until we all eventually fell asleep. The next day we woke up, braindead as ever, and headed back the city.
A few days later, I get a text from one of the girls asking me if I had any bug bites on me. I did not. Then the other girls responded (it was group text) “Umm,..yeah, I’m covered in them”. WHELP…turns out the bed they slept in had bed bugs. OOOOOOOPS. Me being the lucky piece of shit I am, avoided it entirely but they go devoured. Go days Inn. They took all the proper precautions and were fine but , apparently , being covered in bed bug bites really sucks. All i could think about was those bed bugs sucking that drugged up blood and tripping their faces off before they died from an overdose. What a way to go out.
So, yeah, that was the last festival I played. Can’t say I’ll ever do any of that again but it was certainly memorable. And isn’t that what life is all about…memories? and Bed bugs. And festival paramedics dressed like club kids. God bless America.