A cross-sectional survey of young people attending a music festival: associations between drug use and musical preference

Drug Alcohol Rev. 2008 Jul;27(4):439-41. doi: 10.1080/09595230802089719.


Introduction and aims: Drug use is becoming normalised among young Australian people involved in music sub-cultures. We aimed to determine prevalences of illicit drug use in this population and associations between preferences for different music genres and recent use of particular illicit drugs.

Design and methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire of young people (aged 16-29 years) attending a music festival.

Results: Of 939 respondents, 46% had used illicit drugs (principally cannabis) in the past month, a significantly higher proportion than among respondents to the 2004 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (18%). Participants who favoured dance/house or rap music were more likely to have used illicit drugs recently than the remainder of the sample, while those who favoured pop or alternative music were less likely to have used drugs in the past month.

Discussion and conclusions: These data suggest that music festival attendees use illicit drugs more commonly than their age-matched cohort in the general community, and that music festivals venues (particularly those that cater for dance/house and rap) would be appropriate places for interventions to promote safer drug use.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Harm Reduction
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs*
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse / epidemiology
  • Music*
  • Prevalence
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Illicit Drugs