Turn Up For Recovery is a charitable movement aiming to raise awareness of abstinence-based recovery, tackle the stigma of addiction and help make treatment affordable to people struggling with alcohol and drug addiction.
With a list of ambassadors that includes the likes of Robert Cray and Andy Fairweather Low, the TUFR community believe that music has the power to share hope, heal and change perceptions, they strive help spread the awareness of recovery through music.
Following their most recent Sofar Sounds showcase, we asked the Turn Up For Recovery creator to take us behind the scenes.
'The more we as a society can talk openly about mental health and addiction, the more people will feel they can reach out for help.'
Can you start by introducing yourself and telling us what your background is?
I’m Melia Clapton, creator of a charitable organisation called Turn Up For Recovery (TUFR).
I got involved with addiction and recovery about 20 years ago. Today, I’m a mother and a board member of Crossroads Antigua Centre, a non-profit drug and alcohol treatment centre set up by my husband 21 years ago. I’ve been fortunate to see first-hand how Crossroads and a journey towards abstinence-based recovery have saved lives. Within my own family there is addiction, so I know on a personal level how much a 12-step support group can change a life, not only for the addict or alcoholic, but also for the family and friends affected. I can still remember the huge relief I felt hearing someone state in a meeting, ‘I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, and I can’t cure it.’
What is Turn Up For Recovery and why does it exist?
The idea for Turn Up For Recovery came to me while I was walking my dog. I had a genuine desire to share what had been shared with me, and to create the possibility for more people to do the same. The inspiration was born from the joy I experienced at the Crossroads Guitar Festivals, where musicians and music lovers get together to have a great time, spread awareness and help others by raising much-needed funds. I announced the launch of the Turn Up For Recovery movement at the 2019 Crossroads Guitar Festival in Dallas, Texas. My main goal is to raise awareness of the hope abstinence-based recovery has to offer.
Has the need for these kinds of charities become greater over time? If so, why?
Now, more than ever, there is a need for addiction charities, and the individuals that support them, to be visible and to be heard. The increase in alcohol and drug addiction problems due to the challenges of the last year has been enormous, and we want to let people know they have choices. The more we as a society can talk openly about mental health and addiction, the more people will feel they can reach out for help and no longer suffer in silence.
What is the Turn Up For Recovery ethos?
TUFR is a way to connect, give back, and have fun! Our slogan is ‘Changing Lives, One Gig at a Time.’
What has been your proudest moment to date with Turn Up For Recovery?
It’s hard to say. There have been so many little successes for me and each one gives me the energy and passion to keep going. Every time someone gets involved with TUFR, by putting on an event big or small, the more the movement grows, creating a momentum of its own. It’s wonderful to see and to be a part of.
What projects are Turn Up For Recovery currently working on?
At the start of the pandemic when live music events were no longer a possibility, the TUFR production team, including myself and three PRS members, Simon Climie, Joel Evenden and Lisa Climie launched the TUFR YouTube channel. We asked musicians and artists if they would contribute something from home to help us reach more people and were just overwhelmed by their support and generosity. We also had contributions from those who have benefited from abstinence-based recovery. I am so grateful for their bravery in sharing their stories to help others still struggling, letting them know that they are not alone and that change is possible.
As well as the contributions to the YouTube shows by so many artists, we have been blessed by two wonderful musicians who have gifted us songs. TUFR ambassador Doyle Bramhall II gifted us the proceeds of his heartfelt version of a George Harrison song Be Here Now featuring two more TUFR ambassadors, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi. Dirk Powell also gifted half the proceeds for a beautiful song he wrote and recorded during the pandemic Red Bird Road.
How can people/organisations get involved with Turn Up For Recovery?
We want anyone who wants to get involved to be able to, whether you’re a musician or a music lover. You can organise your own TUFR show online or, when it’s safe, a live event. It could be in your front room, garden, restaurant, town hall or a larger venue. Each and every gig makes a difference. You can also support us by spreading the word about Turn Up For Recovery to your friends and family.
What does the future of Turn Up For Recovery look like to you?
In 2019 we partnered up with Sofar Sounds and put on two events, one in London and one in New York. We recently got back together with the Sofar team and created what we hope is the first of several special online shows. We launched the first on 13 March which you can see here. Like everyone, we can’t wait for live events to come back! We will continue to put together our YouTube mini-concerts and are planning to put together a free online recovery festival in the autumn in partnership with Crossroads Antigua and High Watch USA.
My dream is that we can continue to be a source of hope, and one day we can help other abstinence-based recovery charities all over the world.
For more on Turn Up For Recovery, head to the website.