FESTIVAL-goers are preparing to get on the wagon at Sussex’s first alcohol-free festival.
Organiser Huw Wyn hopes revellers at Into The Wild festival in Cowden, near East Grinstead, this month will get into the festival spirit without downing the hard stuff.
Juice bars, a raw food cafe and 12-step healing area will replace the usual bars and stalls as the organisers hope their punters will be shaken, not slurred.
Mr Wyn was inspired by a recovering alcoholic ex-biker who asked if it was possible to create a drink and drug-free festival.
He said: “I was really interested when Steve approached me, as I had a history of alcohol abuse in my family.
“My dad killed himself when I was six due to alcohol and I was around a lot of adults who drank regularly. I had struggled with drink myself from time to time and, in truth, had wanted to give it a rest.
“I have two young daughters, both soon to become teenagers and didn’t want them to get caught in the cycle of self-abuse that can happen at that age, especially with alcohol, and drugs such as ketamine and skunk.
“I wanted to create something cool which they could come to and really enjoy, without the need to get smashed.”
As an experiment he took them to Glastonbury festival this year, put the alcohol to one side and drank smoothies and ate healthy foods with his family instead.
He said: “To be honest, I’ve often felt ragged by Monday with an enormous hangover and a death wish after trailing through the post-apocalypse of rubbish and armageddon on the way home.
“This year the kids had the best time ever seeing their favourite bands and enjoying the wonder of it all. I realised that they don’t need to get out of it to have a great time, so why do we as adults?”
The festival, from August 22 to 25, will also feature a wood-fired sauna, tantric dance classes and foraging workshops.
Mr Wyn said: “We love the idea of creating a whole new event where everyone can come together and celebrate – but without the need to get out of it.”
For more information, visit www.in2wild.com.