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SoberFest returning to Langford with tickets funding addictions treatment beds

A popular music and comedy festival in Langford that's free of drugs and alcohol is returning this year.

SoberFest is coming to Starlight Stadium Plaza in July, with proceeds from ticket sales going towards sending people to addiction treatment centres in B.C.

"We’ve sent six people to treatment. Of those six, five have stayed clean," said Mike Manhas, founder of SoberFest and director of Rewired Recovery Foundation.

Last year's event sold out at the Ranger Station in Langford.

This year, the event is back, and due to an overwhelming demand it’s expanding into Starlight Stadium Plaza.

"We have got over 1,000 people coming," said Manhas. "We’ve got four bands and three comedians."

Seven treatment spaces have already been secured through this year's event. The goal is 10, but Manhas knows the need is much greater than that.

"We believe this is a community effort, and if the community can get together, let's send 20 if we can," he said.

It's an opportunity for treatment that has given two men in recovery their lives back.


Maty Hylan knew he had a problem with alcoholism long before he first reached out for help.

"For a couple of years it was drinking everyday, drinking every waking moment," said Hylan.

Twice he went to treatment, both times he got sober – but sobriety never seemed to last.

"It got to a point where I started having seizures from withdrawals," said Hylan.

One seizure was so bad, he fell and split his lip open.

"It was very scary," said Hylan. "I woke up in a pool of my own blood."

Hylan is now at an addictions treatment centre in Vancouver and has been clean for four months.

"The drug use had drifted away from party drugs like GHB and ecstasy and into cocaine use," said Demian Seale.

Seale has been battling his addiction for nearly nine years, often getting sober then finding himself using again.

Five months ago he was offered a treatment bed in Salmon Arm.

"I have been sober since I got here," said Seale. "It’s been the best experience of my life."

Both Hylan and Seale have done the hard work themselves, but they are two of the lucky ones receiving their treatment spaces through the proceeds of last year's SoberFest.

Those treatment spaces are often unaffordable to many, ranging between $25,000 and $50,000.

Both men say they're grateful for the opportunity.

The first SoberFest held in 2022 at Ranger Station in Langford, B.C., is shown. (CTV News)"I am overjoyed at this opportunity that’s been given to me," said Hylan.

"I owe my life to them at this time," said Seale.

Both men are full of hope and gratitude after years of feeling as though they would never be able to beat their addiction.

"Going forward, I think that I’ve got a really good chance of staying sober this time, continuously, because of them," said Seale.

"It’s just amazing," said Hylan.

This years second annual SoberFest takes place on July 22 from noon to 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Top Stories

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