By Adrian Gerth
While often seen as blemish on American society, addiction can be a tough topic to talk about. Usually the conversation tends to blame the victims, those that need the most support, instead of shifting how we see and talk about drug and alcohol abuse. With one of seven Americans over the age of twelve affected by addiction (totaling a whopping 40 million of us), it is a problem that more and more of us are becoming familiar with. Unfortunately, treatment can be expensive and problematic, and with nearly half of those in recovery relapsing, more needs to be done to create a supportive environment.
On August 29th, Nyla Cione hopes to do begin doing just that with her Recovery Rock Fest at Kenan Auditorium on UNCW campus. A recent transplant from Florida, Nyla has her own personal connection to addiction, having made it through twenty-three years of recovery, as well as a long musical history. She began her career as a singer at the age of seven and progressed as a solo artist to develop her skills as an audio engineer. Nyla started Cione Music Company while in Florida, and was inspired to reach out because of her own experiences with addiction. “Our mission is for awareness for addiction recovery, and substance-free lifestyle,” says Nyla, adding that, “We do a lot of event promoting, but also keeping up the theme that recovery is cool, you can attend a rock concert without being high on a substance.”
She held her first Recovery Rock Fest two years ago at an eighty seat venue in Florida; the jump to the 1,000 seat Kenan Auditorium is a major step forward for the festival. “We want to provide a fun, safe environment for people who might be struggling with recovery and not have a strong community to go to,” says Nyla. Being on campus should make it easier to keep the event substance free, she added. The musicians themselves will also be strong advocates for sobriety; each of the bands have been through recovery or support recovery efforts. The show will open with Stray Local, followed by Mike Blair and the Stonewalls, then Folk Star, and a finale by Melissa Ferrick.
Many recovery/relief shows are tied to a specific program; however, the Recovery Rock Fest is open to the whole community to reach out to whoever wants to come. A portion of the ticket sales will go to UNCW’s Collegiate Recovery Community, an on-campus work program for students recovering from all sorts of addictions. Cione Music Company is also working towards becoming non-profit, so the higher ticket sales rise, the more money can flow to the CRC. If you can’t go to the show but still want to support the event, there is a GoFundMe site already running at gofundme.com/recoveryrockfest.
Doors open at 6 pm on August 29th, and the show runs from 7-10 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door, and $15 with students for ID. Tickets can be bought on the website, www.recoveryrockfest.com. The official substance-free after party is hosted by RaveClean, who will be transforming a yet to be determined location into a full-scale nightclub complete with glow sticks and body paint with music from DJ F.