During most festivals, you can get away with more than usual without any problems, but it’s not a free pass. Take a few simple steps to stay out of trouble and save yourself the headache of spending your festival weekend in jail.
Start by carefully planning your commute to the show. Because festivals are usually held in a large field somewhere you often have to travel through some podunk town in the middle of nowhere. This means lots of country bumpkin cops know that massive quantities of crazy people will be streaming through their towns on the way to the festival. Believe me, they are going to take full advantage of the revenue that can be generated for their towns just by traffic tickets alone, not to mention drug arrests and the like. Don’t make yourself a target! I know its fun to let your freak flag fly but try not to go overboard until you are safe at the campgrounds. For instance, painting on your car or taping a giant poster on it that says “All Good or Bust” may draw unwanted attention from the boys in blue. Things you can’t avoid like a car packed with gear and out of state plates can also draw attention so just be sure to pay attention to speed limit signs and local laws. Don’t give them a reason to pull you over and you won’t have to worry about your stash.
Speaking of your stash, stash it well! Try not to partake in any illegal drug or alcohol use on the way to the festival. It’s always a bad idea to do this stuff in a car but if you insist at least avoid rest areas, weigh stations, construction zones, and the nearest towns to the festival site. These areas are the most heavily populated by cops. Also, avoid having any open alcohol containers or drug paraphernalia in the front of the car. This spells trouble if you get pulled over. Anyone who is carrying several glass pieces, for instance if you are someone who blows glass or is selling glass at the festival just remember that if any pot is found in the car (even if it’s not yours), and all the unused or clean glass pieces will be considered paraphernalia and can be confiscated or broken on site, or used as evidence against you. Before you leave just tap into that common sense of yours and travel safely!
Once you arrive at the festival grounds it is likely that few cops or security will really be seen, but it depends. This varies from fest to fest so just take note when you arrive and scope out the security situation. Most festival security exists solely for your safety, not to bust you. They stay around to help if someone gets hurt or needs assistance, but they are on the lookout for the more dangerous drugs and for those buying or selling drugs. The biggest concern is undercover cops. They walk around amongst the campers and also try to bring down anyone buying or selling. Usually, they are concerned with only those holding major weight but just like in the real world they will take down a small fish to catch the bigger ones. Spotting undercover cops is not a science but there are a few tricks. For example, not always but usually they try to dress like other festival people but just sort of miss the mark, like wearing tie-dyed shirts but tucking them into workout pants, or wearing sunglasses at night to hide their clear eyes while they are asking you where to score. If they do speak to you their drug lingo may also miss the mark a bit. Like one at Bear Creek asked my roommate if he wanted to go “shoot some rolls”. Stay away, this man is a cop! Some more subtle signs may be that they have “cop stanches” or travel in packs no bigger than four with well-built guys wearing close-toed shoes and possible concealing something in their clothes. Spotting those gets easier the more festivals you attend but either way, they will only bust you if you are openly purchasing or selling something so just exercise a little caution and you will be fine.