Festivals in Glasgow: Scotland’s first alcohol-free music festival set to take place at Queen's Park Arena

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Scotland’s first alcohol-free music festival has announced its line-up for this year’s event, featuring two huge names from the era of Britpop.

Recovery Connects is an event bringing together people recovering from addictions to drugs and alcohol. It will be held at Queen’s Park Arena in Glasgow’s Southside on Sunday, June 30.

This year’s festival is being headlined by John Power, the frontman of Britpop band Cast, and will also feature a DJ set from Alan McGee, the founder of Creation Records.

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Up-and-coming Glasgow-based indie-rock band Shambolics are also playing the festival, supported by unsigned acts Hazy Sundays, Local Authority, Amy Rodgers and Paul Byrne.

The event aims to challenge the stigma around addiction and celebrate the fact that people who struggle with substance misuse can and do recover.

It also connects people in recovery with their communities and is open and welcoming to all, including music fans who would like to experience a festival without alcohol.

The event is sponsored by Abbeycare Group, which runs drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinics in Scotland and England, and the charity We Are With You, with funding from the National Lottery Community Fund.

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It will be the fifth time that Recovery Connects has been staged, with the festival getting bigger each year. Around 2,300 people attended the 2023 event.

Entry is free and no tickets are required. The festival is family-friendly and welcoming to all, with doors opening at 12pm and the event concluding at 6.30pm.

As well as the musical entertainment on the main stage, there will be a variety of other family-friendly activities on offer as well as food and non-alcoholic drinks.

Stalls operated by recovery, mental health and homelessness services and local social enterprises will also be running throughout the day.

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The event was created by three friends who are all in recovery themselves – Eddie Clarke, Derek Watt and Shaun Kenny – who together form The Recovery Collective.

Last year’s event featured performances from former Seahorses frontman Chris Helme and Bez of the Happy Mondays, who described the people he met as an “inspiration”.

Bez said at the time: “It’s the first gig I’ve ever done in my life without a drink [or drugs]. In this day and age, everyone needs some sort of escape. But do you know what the greatest escape is? Music.”

Helme added: “I don’t think I’ve ever played anything like this before. It’s great to see everybody being themselves. I usually play in front of people who’ve had quite a bit of booze, and I’ve usually had some as well. I didn’t have any today, and it was quite liberating.”

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Eddie Clarke, outreach manager at Abbeycare and one of the festival organisers, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have secured such an incredible line-up for Recovery Connects this year. It’s all set to be bigger and better than ever before.

“The festival started with the simple idea of bringing people in recovery together to celebrate what they’ve achieved, rather than hiding it away, and include people who want to enjoy music without being surrounded by alcohol.

“We never imagined it would grow so big, so quickly. The atmosphere is incredible and totally unlike other festivals.

“It’s amazing to see thousands of people from all over Scotland standing shoulder to shoulder, taking pride in themselves and enjoying the music together.”

The excitement was also shared by Alan McGee who said: “Looking forward to doing the Recovery Connects gig in Glasgow this year. Loads of sober people in one place, should be epic.”

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