At the Electric Forest music festival, banned drug testers plan to rebel

At the Electric Forest music festival, banned drug testers plan to rebel

MusicJune 21, 2018 By Reilly Capps

Electric Forest, prepare to be invaded. The horde says it's for your own good.

The Bunk Police, a drug testing service, plans to storm the music festival in Michigan this weekend whether the festival wants them or not.

Some music festivals welcome Bunk Police and their sister organization, DanceSafe. After all, many festivals deliberately delight folks who are fucked-up — Electric Forest has a "Psychedelic Chapel," for god's sake — and drug testing services save lives. It's not rare at festivals to find meth or fentanyl in drugs sold as molly.

But Electric Forest forcibly ejected Bunk Police last year, its leader says, and Bunk Police isn't welcome this year.

Electric Forest hasn't given a reason. Emails to both Bunk Police and the Electric Forest's organizers were not returned Thursday. The likely motivation is a law called the R.A.V.E. act, which says allowing drugs in your musical festival is a crime.

[Even the view from the ground at Electric Forest is often amazing.]

But the Bunk Police doesn't accept that as an excuse.

"They're going to fucking kill people," Bunk Police's head, Adam Auctor, posted on Reddit.

So, despite their ban, Bunk Police plans to invade the Electric Forest like a bunch of huns, drug testing openly in a pink tent, letting fans know their location via text.

If or when Electric Forest shuts them down, Auctor will be wearing a GoPro and standing next to a journalist. Mass texts and air horn sirens will summon Bunk Police supporters, who are asked to videotape the melee.

"This requires a fucking army," Auctor wrote.

Once kicked out, Bunk Police will set up in a new location elsewhere. "This will happen indefinitely, and we will be progressively harder to deal with the more times they take us down," Bunk Police wrote online. Test strip Wack-a-Mole. "Several of us are more than happy to leave in handcuffs over this."

[Does this look like a place where everyone's going to be completely sober?]

The issue of drug testing is a constant source of contention among festival organizers, law enforcement and concert goers. The organizers feel penned in by restrictive drug laws. The concert goers feel afraid of overdosing or bad trips. Law enforcement feels like it has to keep everyone in line, without causing resentment among peaceful music lovers. 

To some, Bunk Police's shenanigans are petty, ungrateful and illegal. To others, this is some Rosa Parks-esque shit.

"The principled stance is to get arrested in this situation," Mitchell Gomez, leader of DanceSafe, told Rooster Magazine. "Michigan is in the middle of a fentanyl crisis, and if the event producer is going to let itself endanger its concertgoers, that's something they should know."

"James" is that concertgoer. He's a Colorado druggo who doesn't want his real name used because he's driving to Electric Forest soon toting a sack full of molly and acid. He's also prowling for some 4-Ac0, and he'd like to test it. "You can't just trust any old person," James said.

Kicking Bunk Police out, James adds, is "disappointing" and "ignorant."

"Let's acknowledge that drugs do happen, and not sweep it under the rug."

James has been burned. He was once sold a substance billed as "molly with a little coke mixed in," which turned out to be neither coke nor molly nor a mix of molly and coke, and James tumbled into a 36-hour heart-pumping buggy ride to drug hell. His vow: never again.

To help folks like James, Bunk Police has been driving around the country sneaking test kits into events for most of the last decade. Today, with fentanyl raising the stakes, they're going to be a little louder about it.

[All photos from the Electric Forest festival.]