Tips for Staying Sober at a Music Festival

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It’s finally June, which means the festival season is right around the corner. This can be an exciting time for a lot of music lovers and festival fans, but what if you’re newly sober? Should you simply not go to that show or once-in-a-lifetime event that might be happening this year? What should you do if you already bought tickets before deciding to get sober? In this article, we’re going to share some of the tips on staying sober at a music festival.

Before getting into this list, it’s important for us to remember that each of us is different. We are all at our own pace on the recovery path. So when it comes to making decisions on attending events where there could possibly be substance use going on, use your own inner compass. Do what’s best for you and don’t worry about the event itself. If you just got sober, maybe it’s best to wait it out and skip this time. There will always be more events in the future when you feel stronger and less open to temptation to use. If you’ve been sober for a while, maybe you feel comfortable and couldn’t care less if you see people drunk and indulging in drugs.

With that said, here are some ideas to stay sober when at the festival. Let us know what you think in the comments. And please share any of your personal tips and tricks for staying sober at a music festival!

Top Ten Secrets to Staying Sober at a Music Festival


If you’ve worked hard on getting clean and sober, congratulations on a great accomplishment. You probably made a lot of lifestyle changes, such as leaving your usual habits and haunts behind or doing a 12 steps program such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Additionally, you’ve probably been avoiding bars and lounges that cater to getting people intoxicated. But what about music festivals and other events that tend to have a lot of people who are under the influence? Learn the tools that can empower you to enjoy music while staying clean and sober.

Get High on Life

If you’ve been exercising, you probably know what a natural high feels like. If you haven’t been, it’s time to start. Train your body to associate exercise and movement with happiness. At the music festival, you’ll want to dance to the music, and you’ll notice that the natural high is so powerful, it’s all you need.

Similarly, train yourself to really enjoy the music. Practice listening to music and only that, not using it as background noise to other activities. By actively listening to music, you can wire your brain to release endorphins when you hear music and in turn, get hooked on something healthy.

Choose a Good Festival

Be sure that you’ll actually enjoy the music at the festival. To attain that natural high, you should seek out performing artists that inspire and uplift you or that encourage you to dance. And remember that your enjoyment of the music will likely be heightened now that you’re not under the influence!

Another thing you can do is choose a family-friendly festival to go to. These tend to be tamer and less rowdy with substances than other 21+ events.

Cultivate Gratitude

Appreciating what you have in your life helps you stay happier and healthier. The best way to remind yourself of what you’re grateful for is to write it down. It can be family and friends’ names, activities you enjoy, or good things that happened that day. Devote a journal to this purpose or create a section in your daily planner. In the months leading up to the festival, write in it every day. By the time you’re at the festival, you’ll be able to easily remind yourself of what makes you truly happy. With this feeling in mind, you can more easily resist the temptation for manufactured happiness via drugs or alcohol.

Know Your Triggers

Whether it’s a person, a place, a situation, or even a song, everyone has triggered. For those in addiction recovery, it’s crucial to know what these are. A music festival can be an exciting new location, but it’s also full of the unknown. Have friends or family members with you to help ground you in case you encounter a trigger. Being able to identify the trigger when it happens is key to relieving the discomfort without turning to drugs and alcohol.

Take Your Support Network to stay sober at a music festival

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Be sure that the friends and family accompanying you to the festival are supportive of your sobriety. If they plan on drinking or doing drugs, they should not offer you “just a sip” or “just one hit.” If you suspect at all that they might do something like this, find other companions to the festival. Ideally, they’ll want to enjoy a natural high with you. Maybe even go with a sober group of people who are going to support each other throughout the event.

Find A Support Network for staying sober a music festival

You aren’t alone — many music festivals have regular meetups of people who are also working to stay clean and sober. Try to find out when and where they meet before you go and check in with them. Even if you don’t relapse, you could very well help someone else who does. Many weekend-long festivals now have sober camps and 12-step meetings every morning, so attend a supportive event where that’s offered!

Avoid Stress

Stress is a major trigger for most people. Going to major events can be very stressful. To avoid succumbing to stress, make a plan of action for getting to, into, and out of the event. Know where to park, have tickets ready to go, decide in advance which shows you’re going to see, and have an escape plan in case things go wrong. Work with your festival companions to make a plan that works for all of you.

Be the Designated Driver for staying sober at a music festival

Speaking of making a plan, be sure to plan who’s driving. If your family and friends are relying on you to get them home safely, you’re more likely to avoid the temptation to use drugs and alcohol. Consider being the designated driver to help ensure your commitment to staying sober at a music festival.

Boost Your Belly 

You probably know that eating healthily is crucial to addiction recovery as your body detoxes and your appetite improves. Be sure to eat a full, balanced meal before you go to the festival so that you’ll feel satisfied. If you’re energized and full from a good meal, you’re less likely to try to solve hunger cravings with substances — or eat fried festival food that in turn makes you more likely to consume drugs and alcohol.

Be Willing to Leave

If all else fails, be willing to leave. Your addiction recovery is much more important than whatever is happening at the festival. Put this in your escape plan, whether it’s money set aside for an Uber or Lyft or a companion willing to go with you. The cost of a ticket is never worth relapsing into drug abuse or alcohol addiction. Take care of yourself first.

It’s entirely possible for you to attend a music festival without being under the influence, even if other people are using it. Following these tips can empower you to attain a natural high, stay clean and get sober, and enjoy the music while affirming your inner strength and the positive influences in your life. After all, you made it through addiction treatment — you can do anything!

If you or a loved one needs help, call us at 949-625-4019.

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