I Go to Music Festivals Sober, and This Is What It's Like

Music festivals are about so much more than just the music. While popular headlines are obviously a huge part of their draw, you also go for the destination, the scene, and the memories. It's a whole experience, and lot of people like to enhance that experience with alcohol or drugs. But while the thought of being completely sober at a music festival might sound strange to some, I'm proof that it's actually incredibly fun.

I've been to music festivals such as Coachella, Panorama, and The Meadows totally sober, and it's really not a big deal. Just because you're sober doesn't mean you don't have the time of your life and get weird with your friends while wearing crazy ponchos (see ahead for proof). If I'm paying a couple hundred dollars to go to a concert or festival, I want to actually see, enjoy, and remember the performers — not just blackout during their set.

Photo Credit: James Barrett
James Barrett

Peer pressure is something I've become too old to succumb to. I don't need drugs to lose myself in the music, dance with strangers, or scream the lyrics at the top of my lungs. There's this natural high of energy that the crowd brings to the festival grounds. It's about escaping your everyday life and letting loose in clothes that you probably wouldn't wear anywhere else. It's obnoxious, freeing, and fun when you're able to let go that way all on your own.

The craziest crowd I've experienced was at Coachella in 2018 when Beyoncé performed her epic, homecoming-themed set. People grabbed their places near the main stage 12 hours in advance. And when she hit the stage, I was so glad I was in my right mind to take it all in. She reunited with her fellow Destiny's Child members, and people in the crowd were tearing up and screaming the lyrics to "Say My Name" until their voices gave out. Every person there, including myself, knew we were witnessing a moment in pop-culture history. And I get to remember it for the rest of my life.

At the end of the day, it's the music that brings people together, not the alcohol or drugs. And you definitely don't need either of them to have an amazing time.