What The Paradiso Festival Taught Us

Paradiso, known colloquially as “The Grand Electronic Gathering of the Sausages” has come and gone once again. The EDM festival at the Gorge this weekend happened to coincide with a statewide freak heatwave, making the festival’s tag line “Where Digital Meets Nature” hit a bit too close to home. The 25,000 person sold-out crowd collided with the triple threat of drugs, dehydration and 90 plus degree weather for what may go down as the gnarliest bass drop in the Gorge’s history.

According to reports, 72 people from the festival were ferried over to the nearby Quincy Valley Medical Center. One 21-year old Des Moines man is reported dead. Helicopter and ground crews are currently searching for 20-year old Andreano Farinas who went missing at the festival on Saturday. (UPDATE: Farinas has been found safe, about eight miles from the festival site.)


In an attempt to learn from this historic clustercuss, I present “Three Takeaways from this Weekend’s Paradiso Festival”:

1) When you have a DJ who calls himself “Designer Drugs” on the lineup, it’s no surprise that many festival goers are going to be rolling on MDMA, better known as Molly. If we are going to try to convince the kids to be more careful about their party drugs, we should learn how to talk about them first. Media reports thus far sound like they are coming from the oldest of old people, inaccurately calling Molly “a generic name for a cocktail of drugs.” The educational effect here is similar to your dad telling you to “turn of the damn teletube because it will rot your mind.” Maybe he’s right, but also, shut up dad.

The best advice thus far has come from a Facebook post from relative of this weekend’s Paradiso casualty, who writes:

“Times like these I hate the news. My second cousin died at paradiso this weekend due the fact that he was dehydrated and on Molly he didn’t od. Yes drugs are bad and I don’t condone them but people need to be properly educated. If your going to do a drug any drug make sure there is other things in your system including food and most importantly water. The lack of H2O in his system caused a brain hemorrhage reaction that turned fatal. I just want people to know this wasn’t just some dumb kid. He had just graduated college and was on track for a high paying job a Boeing and has a large loving family. He was Not some dead beat druggie.”

2) To piggyback on the previous statement: if you are going to go out and get wavey, just make sure to drink water. Drugs do make you feel good sometimes, but water makes you feel even better, all of the time. Thrashing around in 90 degree weather to Kaskade is pretty much equivalent to going on a seven mile run. While you might still go on a seven mile run on meth, you certainly wouldn’t do it without a water bottle. Just because you are wearing wolf hoodie and a neon thong doesn’t mean you have to get rid of all your personal standards. Own the fact that as a human, you are 50-65 percent water. While the other 35-50 percent of your body composition might be “party,” you’ve still got to keep the ratio in check. If Andrew W.K. can do it, so can you.

3) The Gorge is a huge, gaping hole in the middle of the Earth. It’s a beautiful, breath-taking hole, but a hole nonetheless. When festival-going, you may be tempted to scale the Gorge’s cliff faces and float down the river like a vagabond Jimmy Buffet, but again, The Gorge is a giant hole. You will get lost, and it will be hard to find you. Lewis and Clark did some dumb ass exploring in their day too, but they were also champions of the buddy system. If you plan to get all Manifest Destiny over at The Gorge, bring a friend and bring a cell phone. There’s no Sacagawea to guide you to safety at The Gorge, just a lot of drunk people wearing Native American headdresses.

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