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Festival On Shrooms Instead Of Booze

When it comes to weekends dedicated to fun instead of work, you better bet a celebratory drink (or five) will be in store within the first couple hours. Some may call it unnecessary, but I often consider it a spirit of hard-earned jollification, positively enhanced by a social lubricant. It’s all fun and games, really. Well… until it isn’t. 


The thing is, I am the type who can go some time without a sip, but is easily entranced by the anxiety-mitigating effects of a double gin when it comes to the tightness of clustering crowds. The whole sellable aspect of booze in itself is the property of an assured good time. I mean, haven’t you seen those Corona commercials?  


Now naturally I do have a soft spot for psychedelics, especially in music-laden settings. However, partaking in the clandestined ventures of psychedelic reveries in public is what has more so caused me general apprehension. That was until Fireside Festival touched down in much-loved (or should I say mush-loved) Kelowna. 


I won’t go into drastic detail about each night of the 3-day festival itself, but, more or less, I will highlight the key points which emphasize what it is that made attending this festival such a game changer. Essentially, this is a synopsis of how I have come to re-evaluate the word “fun” as an anxiety-riddled young woman, seeking to enjoy the populous events that involve heavy socializing in modern society. 


The day began with a small yet noticeable dose of psilocybin (give or take 200mg) with the purpose was to serve the onset nerves some vibrancy before entering the gates toward a prevalent crowd size. In hindsight, I struggle to remember exactly what that dose meant for me. It was about 4 or 5 hours later that the second moderate dose had really set in. This second dose I speak of would soon become the catalyst of this very memorable weekend, indelible for all the right reasons.


When I close my eyes I can still remember the moment where each vibration exuding from the large speakers drew subtle lines into the grass, that would spread through the bottom of my shoes and all the way up to my skull like a musical massage. You see, there will come moments in life when you enjoy music, and there will also be moments when you become music. This was just one of those times to become the music. In case you’ve never experienced that sensation, think about the moments where you have headphones on and a song allows you to start daydreaming up a different reality than your own. In this situation, it was almost as if that dreamy state became reality for an entire evening. The best part: I don’t think I was the only one. 


Perhaps it was partially my own psychedelic-infused bias, but it seemed as though everyone in my vicinity was equally as enraptured as myself. Within this congenial company, the energy was simply radiating in a way I had yet to experience prior.


This sense of unity, of connection, of presence, it all had me wondering what party culture would look like if psychedelic embellished outings was the new norm?


Let me preface this by saying this is in no distaste to the moderated use of alcohol in social settings, but more a generalization of the evident differences between the two substances that I now find difficult to unsee. With booze in party settings, it is no secret that limits are often pushed to a brink past satisfaction. Now, of course some people are pros at minding their limits and staying within them, achieving a perfect level of buzzing bliss. However, that does not change the fact that binge drinking plays a substantial role in party culture, especially prominent in young adults. 


Documented by the Canadian Alcohol and Drugs Survey in 2019, it’s been said that three-quarters of all Candians consumed alcohol that year and 4.8 million individuals experienced at least one account of harm from alcohol in 2019 alone. With nearly one in three adults between ages 20-34 reporting binge drinking 12 or more times in the span of a year, we can begin to understand that drinking to the point of intoxication has become quite the societal norm in recent years. 


Without going into the numerous risk factors involved with binge drinking in itself, I feel more compelled in this context to express how there are different ways to obtain these elevated experiences, coming from a first-hand experience that some may find of value to know. 


As known, psilocybin mushrooms are a naturally-occuring substance well recognized for their hallucinogenic properties. Although the effects of mushrooms can affect each person differently, commonly noted effects of a small to moderate dose can bring feelings of euphoria, changes in worldly perception, increased connectivity, and bodily sensations. Many individuals have consumed psilocybin as a way to improve their mental health, as well as to aid with social anxiety. With 2017’s Global Drug Survey naming magic mushrooms as the safest substance, we can only wonder just how much psilocybin could benefit modern party culture if further normalized.


In this specific party-related topic, we’re likely talking about a moderate dose of 750mg> in order to simply uplift the spirit and boost social pleasure. Perhaps saving the higher doses for a more individualized, trustworthy setting if you are seeking the more insightful elements of a full entheogenic experience. 


But what if, just what if, you were able to attend a party or event in modern times, and everyone has just taken a humble dose of psilocybin? Upon the conclusion of a very successful Fireside Festival, and revisiting my notebook that’s always in clutch, this is my take:


“The room is lit up with smiles and inescapable fits of laughter, everything is a little funny. You’ve never seen a room of such lively dancers, because everyone is connected to the music. Every beat and every word is a reason to move and sway, fully captivated by the sheer talent it took to create the music in the first place. When you meet someone for the first time, it feels personal. The shared conversations feel intentional and memorable as a result of true interpersonal connection. There is less fear in saying the wrong thing or ever looking silly, because the same wavelength is shared amongst the rest. The friends you attended with are there for you to the fullest capacity, and are looking out for you to make sure you have the best time possible. No one is getting sick or falling over. It is a comfortable and safe place to simply enjoy a well-earned night of authentic fun, mindfully.”


A majorly sought out goal of human beings is to obtain forms of entertainment that require minimal thought or effort, to decompress. When we combine this with the natural need for social interaction we have ‘party culture.’ This for me has always been something to look forward to at the end of a long week, and will likely remain as such, just a little differently now.  


Exposing the different possibilities involved with psychedelics in a modern setting is intentional, directed at those who may at some point feel motivated to try something new – to embrace a new take on social gatherings. To wake up on Sunday morning feeling revitalized, comfortable, and at peace is a win. To embrace those around me with confidence and remember every minute, is a win.


I must pay thanks to Fireside Festival for creating such a warm and inviting atmosphere. It is events like these that allow us to soak in the warmth of meaningful connection in an expansive manner, safely and wholeheartedly. 


We cannot wait for the next one, and will be maintaining the same elevated vibes throughout. 




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