Addiction & Recovery Awareness Musicfest Kicks Off In Baltimore

By David Konow 07/19/17

The weekend festival included performances from musicians in recovery. 

people waving their hands in the air at an outdoor music festival

Over the weekend, the first independent recovery music festival kicked off in Westminster, Baltimore. The family-friendly Addiction and Recovery Awareness Musicfest, featuring musicians in recovery, showed everyone a good time while sending home the message that sobriety is indeed obtainable.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the concert, which took place on July 15, included performances from rap artists such as REM ONE, Ridge Long, and Prospekt. It also included featured speaker Brandon Novak, the skateboarder from the MTV hit franchise Jackass, who spoke about sobriety at the event.

“This isn’t an epidemic, it’s a pandemic. I don’t know exactly how I can change the War on Drugs...but I let people know that recovery is possible," says Novak. "I want people to know that there is a solution…There are resources available and most importantly, if you’re breathing, it’s never too late.”

The concert was organized by Jesse Tomlin and rapper Brian McCall, who met each other in recovery. Once he got sober, McCall started rapping under the name B-RAiN. Tomlin, who has been in recovery for five years, was thrilled by the turnout for the event. "We have so many people supporting, and there’s never been anything else like it in the area.” 

Over 2,000 people have died from drugs in Maryland last year, an increase of 66% from 2015. (These numbers are reportedly an all-time high for the state.)

The concert also benefits a non-profit organization, Rising Above Addiction, which was founded by Tammy Lofink, a mother who lost her son at the age of 18 from an overdose shortly after he got out of rehab. Rising Above Addiction helps people in need of recovery get the help they need as quickly as possible by paying for their treatment. Since the organization formed in 2015, it has helped more than 60 people get into recovery.

Rising Above Addiction will use proceeds from the music festival to continue its quest to help others.

"[The music festival] shows the community there’s such a great addiction recovery community in our area, and I think it’s great for them to get together and celebrate and have fun, "says Lofink. "I’m hoping it breaks the stigma. It happens to anybody. It’s not just the homeless in the city.” 

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.