The summer months are a time when young people and music lovers attend the most popular concert festivals like Coachella, Burning Man, Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo. While these festivals are organized to offer fans a chance to see all their favorite bands in one weekend they can also be a place where people tend to share drugs, drink heavily and get high.
For people struggling with addictions and trying to remain sober, concert festivals can be a difficult and trying experience to get through. For those in recovery who still want to enjoy music festivals there are a number of sober groups that offer their support throughout the festival season. Connecting with other sober people at a festival can be a great way for fans to bond and get help dealing with any cravings or temptation they experience while at the concert.
Group Meetings at Sober Tents
People who are dedicated to sobriety and to helping others stay sober set up their own tents or create their own group meetings at summer festivals. They provide support and camaraderie for people in need of some type of sober community to help them better enjoy their experience at a music festival.
Tents like Sober Side at Lollapalooza offer support groups for anyone struggling with addiction. The tent is run by Patrick Whelan and a handful of volunteers for the duration of the festival. Whelan also sets up a sober tent at Bonnaroo he calls "SoberRoo" and another one called "Lightning Without a Bottle" at the Lightning in a Bottle festival in California.
He visits about 10 festivals a year with a different name for each of his sober tents. The goal of each tent is the same – providing a support group and holding meetings throughout each day of a music festival to help people struggling with drug or alcohol addictions.
Avoiding Temptation at Festivals
Music festivals like Lollapalooza offer beer and wine tents scattered throughout the outdoor space. People recovering from addiction are surrounded by triggers as they witness huge crowds of festival goers drinking and smoking throughout the day.
Former addicts are extremely grateful for the opportunity to attend meetings and support groups while at a concert festival because it can keep them on track in a place that is not the most conducive to sobriety. At sober tents, concert goers can meet and talk about recovery, temptation or things going on at that particular festival.
They can discuss past experiences at festivals and how their drug use and addiction could at times ruin their enjoyment of the concert. These sober groups usually draw concert goers but can also attract concert staff, roadies, band managers and even band members looking for a safe place to connect with other sober people.
Some sober tents are 12 step meetings such as Soberchella at the popular Coachella festival and others are not affiliated with any particular recovery program. Groups can be casual or more structured but each is a haven for people who need to escape the intoxicated crowds and reconnect with their goals.
Plenty of music festivals are known as places for drunken or drug-fueled debauchery but there are also many people out there who are simply looking to enjoy the music and have a good time with their friends. Sober individuals at music festivals now have a place to go where they will be accepted and can talk about their recovery with others who have been through the same experiences. The presence of sober groups at these festivals offers a positive place amidst the widespread, often dangerous exchange and abuse of drugs and alcohol.