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Friday, June 5, 2015

Sober Support At Summer Music Festivals

Summer is upon us, and with it comes a flurry of music festivals. All across the country young adults gather in masses to attend festivals, such as Bonnaroo and Burning Man. While these types of events are supposed to be about music and community, they are widely known as hotbeds of illicit drug use. Without fail, every year people’s lives are cut short from drug overdoses and deaths related to health complications linked to drug use.

The widespread drug use may deter a number of people in recovery from attending these types of events - sound judgement if you are in early recovery. However, there are thousands of people in recovery who travel to music festivals and manage to maintain their sobriety. At more than a dozen music festivals this summer, volunteer sober groups will be present, flying yellow balloons (the symbol of sober groups) to alert those in recovery that a safe place is near, The New York Times reports.

This summer onsite sobriety support systems can be found at several of the most popular events, including:
  • Lollapalooza in Chicago
  • Outside Lands in San Francisco
  • Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas
  • Nocturnal Wonderland in San Bernardino, California
“You can see the growth,” said Patrick Whelan, who organizes volunteers for the events using Facebook. “We couldn’t have imagined it 10 years ago. We’ve gone from one or two festivals to 10 or 12 — and social media has driven that.”

It is nearly impossible to stop the flow of drugs into summer music festivals, but it is possible to stay sober and have fun at the same time. Event promoters provide sober groups space, equipment and marketing. If you are planning to attend such an event this summer and you are in recovery, keep your eyes posted for the yellow balloons.

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