Macklemore Headlines First-Ever Recovery Fest 2018

By Victoria Kim 10/04/18

The festival also featured free naloxone training, guest speakers in between sets and yoga, meditation and meetings before the event.


Seattle rapper in recovery, Macklemore, could relate to the crowd at the first-ever Recovery Fest last Saturday (Sept. 29). The Grammy-winning artist was in the lineup at the alcohol- and drug-free music festival at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

The event was hosted by the Above The Noise Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to hosting similar events that provide a music festival experience without drugs or alcohol. Proceeds will benefit local addiction and recovery organizations.

This year’s Recovery Fest, in addition to its artist lineup including Macklemore and Fitz & The Tantrums, featured free naloxone training, guest speakers in between sets, and yoga, meditation, and meetings before the event. Even Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo made an appearance.

As reported by the Newburyport Current, jazz musician Grace Kelly performed a rendition of “Amazing Grace” with guitarist George McCann—while a list of people lost to addiction scrolled on the screen behind them.

When Macklemore (born Benjamin Haggerty) hit the stage, he asked the crowd how many people were in recovery, and “easily more than half the crowd raised their hands,” according to the Newburyport Current.

“You know you’re at a recovery fest when you look out and see hella clouds of vape smoke,” the rapper joked.

Among Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ upbeat hit songs like “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us,” the rapper performed the song “Kevin,” about losing a friend to drug overdose in 2008. “He was gonna quit tomorrow, we’re all gonna quit tomorrow,” the song goes. “Just get us through the weekend, and then Monday follows…”

The Seattle rapper himself has been in recovery from opioid use disorder for about a decade, and is vocal about his experience. In 2014, he suffered a public relapse as his fame grew.

“I held it together for a while. But, eventually, I stopped going to my 12-step meetings,” he told Complex in 2015. “I was burnt out. I was super stressed. We weren’t sleeping—doing a show every day, zigzagging all over the country.”

His family inspired him to get it together. “Addiction—I think that’s the thing that always reminds me I could lose all of this at any minute. If I stop prioritizing the daily recovery program that I do to maintain sobriety… I will lose it all,” he said this year.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr