I Went to A Hip-Hop Festival (in Vegas) SOBER

Amanda Kuda
8 min readMay 16

Last year I was minding my own business as a local coffee shop (read: actively eavesdropping) when I heard a guy nearby talking about a music festival he was heading to that weekend.

The lineup sounded insane: Usher, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Ciara, Ludacris, Ashanti, TLC. I quickly concluded that this guy was being scammed and definitely on his way to the next Fyre Festival. And yet, curiosity got the best of me. I turned to him and asked, “What festival are you talking about? It sounds epic.”

He revealed that he was on his way to Lovers & Friends Festival — a throwback festival featuring rare performances from iconic artists from the hip-hop and R&B world. As a Midwestern gal with a taste for hip-hop, I was practically salivating at the lineup. Although I wasn’t able to swing it on such short notice, I vowed that I’d attend the following year.

Well, I made good on my vow and have just returned from an absolutely mind-blowing trip to Vegas to attend the 2023 Lovers & Friends Festival. But here’s the catch, I quit drinking back in 2017 — so I attended this all-day event 100% free of any drugs or alcohol. This post is for you if you’ve ever:

  • Are curious how you’d survive high-energy, over-stimulating spaces, sober
  • Worried how you’d navigate a boozy event without alcohol
  • Wondered if you’d have massive FOMO by staying sober at a boozy event

Spoiler: Attending this event completely sober was an absolute delight.

A little background

I broke up with alcohol a little over six years ago because I didn’t like my relationship with alcohol. I spend my 20s as a stereotypical party girl and used alcohol to loosen my up during social situations and — sometimes — to numb uncomfortable emotions. I never had a physical dependency on drinking and didn’t tick the boxes for alcoholism. When I made the decision to quit drinking, it was because I wanted to. Well, realistically, it was because I wanted to live a better, more fulfilling, more centered life. I wanted to figure out how to do that and still imbibe. But, after months of attempting balance, I decided my balancing routine was more of a juggling act, and juggling felt exhausting.

Amanda Kuda

Seeker. Writer. Elective Sobriety. A 30-something sharing my journey of personal development, spiritual growth, & authenticity. IG: @amandakuda.