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How Can I Still Enjoy Music Festivals in Recovery?

Recovery Doesn’t Have to Mean You Can’t Enjoy a Music Festival

Music festivals are often thought of as tied to drug and alcohol abuse almost by definition. So, when you’re considering ways to enjoy yourself now that you’re recovering from addiction, a music festival might not be the first thing that springs to mind. However, if you’re far enough along in your recovery and feel like you have a solid foundation, you can still safely enjoy a festival. Here are some tips to consider before you make that decision.


Is It Worth the Risk?

Understandably, you might be skeptical whether it’s worth even going anywhere near a music festival. After all, drug and alcohol use is so prevalent in these environments, wouldn’t you just be setting yourself up for unnecessary dangers?

If that’s the way you feel, you should probably listen to yourself and be mindful of your boundaries. We’d be lying if we pretended that music festivals aren’t high-risk environments, and it’d be irresponsible to recommend trying it before you’re ready. For some people, a music festival may never feel safe.

However, if you’re far along in recovery and feel confident that you have a strong, solid foundation, attending a music festival sober can be a great experience that helps you reclaim a part of normal life.

Don’t Go Alone

As with any high-risk environment, one of the most important options available for ensuring you don’t have a slip-up is to surround yourself with sober and supportive friends. Bring someone with you to the festival and give them instructions to keep an eye on you.

You can even try out sober or family camping. Many festivals have a separate camping area for families where drugs and alcohol are prohibited, making for a more comfortable camping neighborhood.

Also, be sure to key your sponsor and supports in on your plans to attend the festival and discuss it with them.

Make a Detailed Plan

A key to safely being able to have fun at a music festival is making a good plan. This serves to eliminate uncertainty and provide you with plenty of good options for any situation. Here are some items your plan should include:

-Do you know how long you want to be there? (Consider a one-day pass for your first time.)
-Do you know your exit strategy in case you feel uncomfortable and want to leave? (Have you decided what transit you’ll take home?)
-Have you researched the festival and located the bathrooms and medical tents? (Check if the venue has a map online.)
-Do you and your friends have a plan for if you get separated and can’t find each other? (Specify a spot where you can meet up.)
-Do you have gum, candy, and water? (These can help if you’re tempted by drinks or pills.)

Find Out if There’s a Sober Tent

Sobriety tents are a growing phenomenon at music festivals throughout the country. While many festivals often feature beer tents where attendees purchase alcoholic beverages, sober tents provide a liquor-free zone where sober attendees can sit, chat, and listen to the music.

Various organizations set up sober tents for festivals in different regions, so look into the ones in your area and reach out beforehand to find out where they’ll be located. In Chicago, Soberside will be setting up a sober tent at Lollapalooza this weekend. If you’re considering going, it might be a good idea to message or post to the group, find them at the festival, and make some new friends with shared interests.

Don’t feel bad if you’re not ready for a festival, though—you’re always welcome to come listen to music in the safety of The Other Side in Crystal Lake, IL!


The Other Side
93 E Berkshire Dr, Unit G
Crystal Lake IL 60014
(779) 220-0336

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