19 Dec 23
Turn Up For Recovery (TUFR) was launched at the 2019 Crossroads Guitar Festival by Melia Clapton and had a huge presence at this year’s event in Los Angeles. Having supported family members through their recovery, Melia founded TUFR because she wanted to tackle the stigma of addiction and raise awareness of abstinence-based recovery all while bringing people together through music to raise funds for others to get the help they so desperately need. Monies raised through grass-roots TUFR gigs are directed to Crossroads Centre Antigua to help fund treatment for people who would otherwise not be able to afford it.
The charitable effort has grown steadily over the past four years and has even launched an online store.
Crossroads Centre Antigua was founded in 1998 by Melia’s husband, Eric, as he saw a need for a place of the highest caliber to treat people for drug and alcohol addiction. Most importantly, his vision for the non-profit Centre would be to provide treatment scholarships for the people of the Caribbean region and around the world.
Where’s Eric! Editor, Tony Edser, recently spoke with Melia Clapton, and TUFR’s Multi Media Manager, Lisa Climie, to discuss the positive impact of the festival and expand on their activities.
WE!: From some of the discussions and meetings you had with visitors at the Crossroads Festival, did you sense that the musical environment is becoming more helpful in overcoming some of the stigma attached to addiction, perhaps making it easier to convey concerns and receive messages of support, through music?
MC: Yes, definitely. I feel the momentum of awareness, and everyone understands what it’s all going towards. The Crossroads Centre Antigua gets a lot of press and interest which is helpful because that’s how we’re going to stay afloat and get the message out, if people want/need to go there.
I definitely feel that music makes that possible. The whole world feels very divisive and everybody has to take a side, this seems very heightened right now. I feel that music can diffuse that and send a message that can unite people, bring people together, open people’s hearts up to look after each other.
I feel that happens at the festival, and it happens at Crossroads Centre and I feel like that is happening with TUFR too.
One thing I hadn’t appreciated so much, which has actually become quite relevant within my own family recently, is that helping the families and friends of people with addiction is an important part of your work too?
MC: With the fellowship of recovering alcoholics helping other alcoholics, recovering drug addicts helping other addicts, that support is fantastic. That’s what I got from Al-Anon, a support network of people who were friends and families of people who were affected by someone else’s drinking or drug taking. I want to spread that message to people. It saved my life; and changed my life. There were family members in my life that weren’t sober at the time and hadn’t gone into recovery, it helped me to know how to deal with that situation in a loving way and not be so resentful. It didn’t make it perfect but it was a very, important tool in helping me to be there for my family member, but not have to fix everything and think that I know the answer. I thought I was going (to meetings) for the person but actually I realised I was going for myself, and there was a lot of healing that I needed to do.
LC: When I was working in addiction treatment, there was a statistic, which has probably grown by now, that, for every person with a substance misuse problem, alcohol or drugs, there are at least five other people directly affected. It just shows the enormity of the problem and the amount of people that are involved and trying to deal with it, on whatever level.
You’ve assembled a very impressive roster of TUFR Ambassadors, across many different musical styles, how do you go about appointing them, do you reach out to people, or do they come to you?
MC: A bit of both. When we first got started, we asked artists that we knew were sympathetic to the cause and wanted to give back. They knew about Crossroads, and that we were genuine, we had good intentions. And then it just kind of snowballed from there, either people have asked or expressed interest. It’s not an exclusive thing, I want it to be inclusive, I feel like “the more the merrier”. Hopefully we will expand it to people doing performing arts or visual arts. I never know what we’re stepping into next, it kind of just happens, I feel very grateful.
How would you describe their on-going role?
MC: There’s not a lot of pressure but we ask if they will help promote the cause. If anything big is coming up we ask them to share that news. Who knows, in between the Crossroads Festivals, maybe we’ll have a Festival? That’s a dream. Right now, I want people to feel like they can get involved, it doesn’t have to be a massive gig or a big production. I think actually the smaller things really touch people and carry a message.
LC: At the Crossroads Festival this year, we reached out to some of the artists playing on the main stage to see if they would also play on the Village stage. And we asked one of our Ambassadors, who wasn’t appearing on the main stage, Cindy Cashdollar, if she would come to the Festival to appear on the Village Stage. I think in the end we had about 15 Ambassadors up on that small stage, such as Nathan and Noah (East), Eric Gales, Sonny Landreth, Albert Lee, Daniel Santiago, Pedro Martins, The Bros. Landreth and many more.
The scope of promoting the cause is enormous then; from a solo artist in a small club to a major artist playing in a stadium?
MC: Yeah, it could even be online, there are so many different avenues. We even had someone celebrating their birthday with an event that asked everyone to donate to TUFR in lieu of gifts. The donations will go to create a scholarship for a place at Crossroads Antigua. We didn’t think about doing something like that, it’s just so lovely. We want people to be involved and feel like they can contribute.
LC: Yes, instead of presents for her birthday, she asked if people would donate to us, which is fantastic. We’ve described it before as a little bit like a Macmillan (cancer support) coffee morning, but with music – anyone can do it, on a picnic, or a birthday party, or a gig, anything you want.
MC: I even know people who do vinyl nights, so you don’t even have to have a band, you can just be playing music. My girlfriends did a TUFR event, in a pub, and, whilst we were a bit nervous about the venue, the feedback we got was fantastic, people were able to talk and share stories that they may not have been comfortable sharing if it wasn’t at an event such as that. They hadn’t realized how many people they knew were touched (by addiction). It’s such good feedback and helps me to keep going.
The Crossroads Festival was a major boost for TUFR, how do you keep the momentum going? Are there other specific fundraising events planned?
LC: We try very hard not to be the people that put on the events, we’re trying to encourage other people to do their own thing. We put on something in Putney (with Alan Darby, 3 years ago), which was great but it takes a lot of work, so we really want people to just pick up and run with it themselves.
MC: We’re such a small group of people, we do what we can. I hope and I trust in that the right things will happen with the right people, with the right intentions, at the right time.
You were both very busy at the Festival, but do you have one favorite memory from the event?
MC: I met Stevie Wonder (laughs). Can that be my answer?
Of course! I would dine out on that story for years!
LC: I cannot top that (laughs) but the buzz, the great vibe from the audience and atmosphere at the Village Stage over the two days was fantastic, with so many main stage artists and TUFR Ambassadors, how could it have been anything else.
If you would like to support TUFR by hosting your own gig, vinyl night or put together a donation drive in lieu of gifts for an upcoming landmark event in your life, contact them at https://turnupforrecovery.org/contact/
Donate to TUFR at https://turnupforrecovery.org/donate/
Visit the TUFR Online Store at https://tufr.creator-spring.com/
Learn more about TUFR at https://turnupforrecovery.org/