Music festival horror stories

Festivals are a time of chaos, craziness, and most importantly, fun. They’re a time to go wild and escape reality to frolic at a multi-day music and art event. But sometimes, things don’t go as planned. Out-of-control situations happen that either make or break your festival experience.

We’ve all heard the proverbial unfortunate stories: Porta potties overflowing, shitty speakers and sound, or dealing with crazy people who are drunk, on drugs or both. Maybe the worst-case scenario comes to life, and you or someone you know gets lost, or worse, arrested. 

We’ve compiled a list of the most tragic festival stories imaginable. Lots of these stories have to deal with feces, so be forewarned. Hopefully, none of these ever happen to you.

1. Porta-Fishing at Coachella

A Redditor shares that while using a Porta Potty at Coachella, he heard a commotion and realized a girl nearby had dropped her phone in the toilet. Normally she would have just let it go, but her cards, money and ID were with it too.  One of her friends took one for the team and fished that sucker right out. The festival had just begun, so the Portas weren’t that dirty — but still, gross. That adds one more reason that I don’t believe in keeping your ID, credit cards and money attached to your phone.

2. It’s Raining Poop

A commenter on a Buzzfeed piece attended Benicàssim festival back in 2008. A hose came off the truck used to clean the portaloos and poured excrement all over an innocent bystander. New. Fear. Unlocked. 

3. Mystery Drugs

This actually happened to a friend and me, and it just seemed par for the course. My homie and I were enjoying E-40 at a festival in the woods. “This festival is dope, even though there are creepy old guys who are way too high,” I told him. At that moment, an old wook smelling of stale Boone’s Farm stumbled our way and held out his hand. “Y’all want some mystery drugs?” he offered as he thrusted a little baggie of an unknown substance at us. We declined and watched him disappear into the darkness. 

4. The [Bad] Acid Festival

A friend on Facebook reminded me of this rave campout/festival a bunch of people we knew attended. It was far away, but we held out faith that we would have a fantastic weekend once we got there. We did, until people got their hands on some “bad” acid and anyone who partook literally started freaking out. The whole thing was a disaster, with security running up and down the hills all night to bring afflicted patients to the main cabin. I wasn’t part of this unfortunate crew, so I mostly had fun — though that was pretty stressful for others.

5. On Top of Poop Mountain

Another friend posted about Organic Fest, where none of the Porta-Potties was regularly cleaned. By day two, each contained mounds upon mounds of excrement. No one saw where everyone went to poop from then until Monday morning. 

6. Poop There it is

My friend April recounted on Facebook a time she went to a festival where someone made a dinosaur-shaped pile of poo ON TOP of the lid to the toilet in the Porta-Potty before the party even really began. Like, come on! Way to ruin a perfectly clean bathroom right at the beginning. 

7. Nightmare Down There

She also remembered a campout in Oroville where many women ended up with similar rashes and infections due to the dirty Porta-Potties and crazy heat.

8. This One Time, at Burning Man

I got a DM from my friend Mike who shared this anecdote from a time he attended Burning Man: 

“I met this man named Hans from Austria who was traveling around th U.S. He had met some ‘weird’ people in Reno who talked about BM and so he got himself a ticket. We took him into our camp and he was getting into the vibe [of Burning Man]. I came back to camp one day to find my campmates staring at this naked guy, rolling around on the playa.”

Side note: The ground of the playa is made up of fine, alkaline dust that infiltrates everything and is rough on the skin. Now back to the story. 

“Hans stops rolling on the floor, stands up and starts walking towards us, rubbing — nay, grinding the corrosive dust into his foreskin. All the while he was still talking about wanting to be ‘fully immersed’ in the dust.  

There’s a saying that the playa provides, but I am not sure anyone needed that.

9. Safety Third

Speaking of Burning Man: My first year, a friend in my camp fell off her bike and broke her arm. Went to the infirmary and had tough it out, as she broke her arm the first day on playa. She had a long way to go until she could get that arm fixed. Another year, I saw a guy punch the side of a truck out of frustration, and lo and behold, broke his hand. He went to the makeshift infirmary on playa but would ultimately have to go home and get surgery and have his hand reset. 

10. Never Accept Gifts From Strangers

A contributor to a Dazed article posted about having sex with a random stranger at Glastonbury while high on drugs. The man was attractive, but he bestowed upon this anonymous poster a gift that no one wants to receive — and one that only antibiotics could cure.

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