Creative arts festival in tune with Blackpool’s recovery community

1 June 2022

Music management student takes inspiration from personal experience to organise not-for-profit event

A postgraduate music management student from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has been inspired by his own experiences as a recovering addict to organise a fun-packed creative arts festival in Blackpool.

‘Blackpool Recovers’, a one-day, not-for-profit event for the North West of England’s recovery community, is the brainchild of MA Music Industry Management and Promotion student Paul Wolski.

Taking place on 11 June from 12.30pm until 10.30pm at Blackpool’s newest community venue, the Old Electric, the festival will include live bands, hip-hop, poetry, magic and drama while raising awareness around the larger issues surrounding addiction.

Commenting on his inspiration behind the festival organiser Paul Wolski said: “Blackpool frequently tops the statistics table when it comes to drug-related deaths in the UK. That’s why the North West’s recovery community has come together to stage a show which highlights that life after addiction can be a very positive experience. As our festival line-up demonstrates there is a huge array of talent within the recovery community.”

Midway through the event there will be a brief discussion on the history and future of addiction-related treatment and policy. The talk is being delivered by Ian Treasure, Programme Manager of Changing Futures Lancashire. He is also a former director, deputy director and senior manager within NHS Commissioning.

He added: “In the past people who enter treatment have always been asked, ‘what happened to you?’. Today, we’re trying to change that question to ‘what matters to you?’. Blackpool Recovers reflects this notion, and that’s why I wanted to be involved.”

"We’re challenging the old adage of ‘once an addict, always an addict’ and I’m living proof of that."

UCLan's MA Music Industry Management and Promotion student Paul Wolski.

Free from addiction for eight years, Paul Wolski added: “We’re challenging the old adage of ‘once an addict, always an addict’ and I’m living proof of that.

“During my postgraduate degree I’ve been fortunate to receive some fantastic guidance from two stalwart music industry legends, Peter Hook co-founder of New Order and Joy Division, and Tony Rigg, former Operations Director for Ministry of Sound. I am taking what they have taught me, in terms of organising and delivering a festival, to highlight how incredibly gifted people can become caught in addiction. It could happen to anyone but once the right environment is found any addict can overcome their demons and flourish.”

All proceeds from the not-for-profit event will be donated to The Old Electric, a charity funded organisation whose purpose is to ensure that arts and creativity are accessible for all Blackpool communities, and whose mission is to provide transformative creative experiences that improve the lives of local residents.

Further information, including the full festival running order and ticket purchases, can be found here.