Music festivals and addiction recovery might not seem to go hand-in-hand but there is an effort to change that. Scenes of wild alcohol and drug usage might come to mind when imagining iconic or popular music festivals like Woodstock and Coachella, but there is an emerging movement to use these events as a platform to advocate for addiction recovery.

The Sun Will Rise Foundation is a Massachusetts organization that works to help promote education, awareness, and prevention of substance use disorders. Recently, the group hosted the BeanStock Festival, with more than 400 people in attendance in Braintree, Massachusetts. The festival raises money to support people with substance use disorder.

This was the 4th annual BeanStock Festival. As a sober music festival, no alcohol or drugs are allowed – a stark contrast from many other events on the festival circuit. This annual fundraising event is meant to remember the life of Nick Bean, as well as others who have lost their lives because of substance use disorder. The group and the event also provide support to families with loved ones still grappling with substance use, as well as people in recovery. The group also aims to promote prevention for those who have not yet struggled with substance abuse.

The Sun Will Rise Foundation hosts monthly grief support group meetings in the local area including in Braintree, Quincy and Weymouth. The Foundation also provides scholarships to help people attend treatment and go to sober living homes.

Robyn Houston-Bean is an organizer of the show. Her son Nick died of an overdose in 2015. She said the goal is to show people it’s possible to have fun while also being sober.

The sober mission of the event did nothing to detract from the entertainment value. The Houston Bernard Band headlined as did Carissa Johnson and The Cure-Alls. The event included food trucks, lawn games, a bounce house and graffiti walls. There were also groups on hand to provide resources including addiction recovery help, CPR training and grief support.

Attendees and participants described it as empowering to find a local event like the Beanstock festival, as well as opportunities for sober fun. Event organizers wanted to bring attention to substance use disorder in general, but also bring more awareness to the national opioid epidemic.

The BeanStock Festival isn’t the only way Nick Bean’s mother has worked tirelessly to bring awareness to the issue of substance misuse. For example, in 2018, she and around 50 residents and officials gathered at the Braintree Town Hall to observe International Overdose Awareness Day. There were more than 2,000 flags symbolizing the people who died from overdoses in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts has been especially impacted by the opioid epidemic. It’s among the top ten states with the highest drug overdose death rates involving opioids.

Support Is Always Needed

Organizations like The Sun Will Rise Foundation and events like the BeanStock festival help promote the importance of family support in recovery and social support in general.

It can feel isolating to struggle with a substance use disorder or be in addiction recovery. Many people in recovery say they would like to have more access to a sober social support network. Events like BeanStock can help with that and promote the idea of sober fun, which isn’t represented enough in our culture.

For help finding a treatment program or to learn more about addiction treatment options, contact The Recovery Village.

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