When Grace McClellan attends two music festivals — Governors Ball in New York and Bonnaroo in Tennessee — this month, she will be among friends who feel more like family. Their shared bond, along with a love of live music: They’re all sober.
Ms. McClellan, 31, first stopped using drugs and alcohol three years ago, and she knew then that it was a risk to attend Bonnaroo, which, like many festivals, is known for its hedonism. But the festival had been her tradition for nearly a decade, and after only 30 days in recovery, she went with her old crew of drinking buddies. “I didn’t want to feel like I couldn’t still have fun,” she said.
Yet as night fell that first evening of Bonnaroo at the festival’s sprawling farm in Manchester, Tenn., she was overcome with memories of previous visits. After only a few hours, she said, “I was going to have a drink.”
But Ms. McClellan found a lifeline: She had heard from friends about a group of festival-goers, known as Soberoo, who were in recovery and part of an onsite sobriety support system. She made a few calls in hopes of finding them.
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