Staying Sober at Coachella
By Mary Carreon
Colin Young-Wolff When night falls at Coachella, the sober come out to play
Did you know that, for some people, Coachella represents a big ol' Alcoholics Anonymous meeting?
Since 2009, New Orleans couple Bob Johnson and Jane Smith (not their real names) have led 12 step meetings on the festival grounds for those who, like themselves, are in recovery. They call their group Soberchella.
But one wonders: Is there a harder place to be sober than at Coachella?
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The spot is undoubtedly ground zero for folks who want to party their brains out for three days straight. Folks don't call it Drug-Chella for nothing.
But, believe it or not, some people actually go for the music, and that's the case with most everyone involved; they're psyched about the opportunity to see acts like The Cult, The Knife, Nicole Moudaber, Disclosure, Toy Dolls and The Replacements. And just because there's a bunch of drunk and high idiots running around isn't going to stop them.
"I've never heard the serenity prayer with a trap beat at any other group before," says Johnson.
The group met Thursday night and Friday morning in the camping area. (Coffee was provided, of course.) But the main meetings are held inside the festival grounds while the action is underway. The crew -- which has grown to almost 30 people strong, mostly from Southern California -- spend a half an hour or more talking to each other about recovery.