Why You Need to Know Who the Wharf Rats Are

Rock ‘n’ roll concerts have long been associated with the drug and alcohol lifestyle – which can make going to these festivities a little bit harder for those in recovery.

While being passionate about music and wanting to go to concerts shouldn’t mean that you have to do drugs and drink alcohol in the process – being surrounded by it at these events is still something you will want to overcome. Luckily, there are numerous recovery groups that regularly attend these events, with the intention of offering support to those who love music but still want to stay sober.

One of the most famous of these groups are the Wharf Rats – they first appeared at a Grateful Dead concert in the 1980s. Mostly comprised of AA and NA members who did not want to admit that they were actually Deadheads, the group started going to shows and holding meetings during intermissions.

The Wharf Rats can be found by yellow balloons that are visible overhead, wherever the group is. They also have tables set up with information on recovery and where to find meetings at every event. Numerous amounts of bands have jumped on board with the concept of recovery groups at concerts – mainly jam bands such as: Phish, Widespread Panic, Moe and Disco Biscuits.

Not only have bands jumped on board, but some of the most popular music festivals – like Bonnaroo, Coachella and Lollapalooza – have now started offering designated tents to find other people in recovery at the event.

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