War on Drugs

Venue Owner Heads to Federal Prison over On-Site Drug Use

Not convicted of using or selling any himself


Anybody who has ever attended Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Coachella, Sasquatch or other major summer music festivals understands that drugs are an inescapable part of the experience. Many people enjoy the show sober. Others stick to alcohol. But inevitably there are thousands of people stoned out of their skulls, on every hallucinogen under the sun. It has been that way since the Woodstock era, when "sex, drugs and rock & roll" was a to-do list as much as an ethos.

So on November 1, 2010, when federal agents swarmed Camp Zoe, a 330-acre campground and festival venue in rural Missouri owned by the frontman of a Grateful Dead tribute band, their big announcement after four years of undercover investigation was less than shocking: People at a jam-band festival called Schwagstock were buying, selling and consuming marijuana, mushrooms, LSD, ecstasy and other drugs.

Who knew, right?

The more alarming revelation was that Jimmy Tebeau, the man federal prosecutors aimed to hold responsible for the drug activity, was not actually a drug dealer. He was the venue owner, concert promoter and lead singer of the Schwag, the festival's headlining act. Federal prosecutors contended Schwagstock was "an illegal drug haven, with its music as a side offering."