Alcohol consumption and illicit drug use among young music festival attendees in Australia

Caitlin H. Douglass, Michelle Raggatt, Cassandra J.C. Wright, Helen Reddan, Holly O’Connell, Megan S.C. Lim, Paul M. Dietze

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Vanessa is a youth-led service promoting road safety at music festivals. We conducted a cross-sectional survey at 23 festivals in Victoria, Australia to investigate alcohol and illicit drug use among attendees aged ≥16 years who visited Vanessa. Participants completed the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test - Consumption (AUDIT-C) and reported recent illicit drug use and intentions to use drugs at festivals. Multinomial and logistic regression identified correlates of risky drinking and drug use. 2305 participants were recruited (60% female, median age 22). Most (98%) consumed alcohol in the past year and 26% had high-risk AUDIT-C scores. Almost half (48%) reported recent drug use and 24% intended to use drugs at festivals. Females had lower odds than males of recent drug use [adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=0.49, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.38, 0.62], intending to use drugs at festivals (AOR = 0.60, CI = 0.45, 0.80) and lower risk of high-risk drinking (adjusted relative risk ratio (ARRR)=0.35, CI = 0.27, 0.47). Attending electronic music festivals was associated with high-risk drinking (ARRR = 2.07, CI = 1.14, 3.72), recent drug use (AOR = 2.23, CI = 1.42, 3.51) and intending to use drugs at festivals (AOR = 1.90, CI = 1.15, 3.14). Vanessa was a useful setting to reach young people reporting risky alcohol consumption and illicit drug use. Genre of music festivals may be useful for tailoring harm reduction strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-181
Number of pages7
JournalDrugs: Education, Prevention and Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2022


  • alcohol
  • illicit drugs
  • music festival
  • Young adult

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