News stories of celebrities overdosing or dying from drug use are common occurrences. Artists including Avicii, Demi Lovato, and Mac Miller have all made pop culture headlines since April. Of the three, only Demi Lovato is still alive.
Substance abuse and the fight to prevent it is a serious issue within our society.
The Above the Noise Foundation is bringing awareness to this problem by hosting Recovery Fest at McCoy Stadium on September 29th, headlined by James Montgomery and Macklemore.
The Above the Noise Foundation was founded by Kristen Williams Haseotes in attempt to battle addiction. Haseotes struggled with addiction herself when she was 19 and understands the power of recovery and the stigma against addicts.
“People are doing this, the government’s doing this, the treatment centers are doing this,” said Haseotes who went on to indicate that something positive had to happen while everyone was working to solve this problem. And the idea of just rising above the noise “with music and love and family and friends [to] celebrate life,” was the start of Recovery Fest.
Concert-goers often use alcohol and drugs which prevents recovering addicts from attending.
“I thought my life was over. I thought I would never have fun again,” Haseotes said when commenting on the struggles she faced during her recovery.
She created this foundation to give addicts, families of those struggling, and those who have recovered a safe and supportive environment to celebrate sobriety.
“Above the Noise Foundation’s sober music festivals will inspire, empower, and provide grassroots funding to U.S. cities affected by the addiction epidemic. Through the universal language of music, Above the Noise will unite communities, heal families, and shift America’s response to addiction from one of rejection to one of inclusion,” states the Above the Noise Foundation website’s mission statement.
Haseotes worked on a concert similar to Recovery Fest with Montgomery on Cape Cod about a year ago and received lots of positive feedback from attendees. She discovered music as a valuable way to help those struggling with addiction.
As someone who has witnessed the struggles of addiction, Montgomery is glad to be part of Recovery Fest because he and the band “connect with each other on a spiritual level and we connect with the audience… to the extent that we lose ourselves to something greater,” he said in a phone interview.
“My hope is that musicians lead us out of it [the drug crisis],” Haseotes said in a phone interview. “If you’re standing in the audience and you’re struggling and you think you’re alone and someone says ‘I get it, I get what you’re going through,’ and they publicly announce it …you’re not alone.”
The concert portion of the event begins at 5:00 pm, yet Montgomery plans for music to start at 2:00 in case not everyone can stay until the end of the show.
Along with various musical acts, there will be speakers between each act and starting at 2:00 pm, in the parking lot and outside the stadium, national non-profits like Facing Addiction along with smaller Rhode Island non-profits will be available to anyone who needs help or information, not just those attending the concert.
Support groups will also be available inside the stadium as concerts can be a trigger for those struggling with addiction and those who have achieved sobriety.
Both Haseotes and Montgomery said sobriety should be celebrated and Recovery Fest is a safe and welcoming space to do that.
Along with celebrating those who have recovered from addiction, those who haven’t “will see that there are places to turn to,” said Montgomery.
“Recovery is something that I’m very proud of,” said Macklemore in a video posted on the Above the Noise Foundation website. “It isn’t just going to be a great event. It’s going to be a great safe space for a community to come together to celebrate recovery.”