Lance Sanchez / Daily Nexus

After a long week of premature “May gray” weather, the sun finally came out just in time for UC Santa Barbara’s Gauchos for Recovery “Generation Recovery” arts and music festival in Anisq’Oyo Park on April 27. In partnership with the Isla Vista Recreation & Park District, the festival was the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon while also learning how to help our peers. 

Rounding the corner of Pardall Road and Embarcadero del Mar toward the park, herds of bustling students in crochet tops, flip flops and corduroy hats made their way to the park for a day of soaking in the sun, listening to live music and enjoying free food (and, in typical UCSB fashion, free Yerba Mates). Food trucks serving Elubia’s Kitchen and Dave’s Dogs were parked out front, a winding line leading to the checkout window. Twinges of guitar wafted out of the park, past the sellers and tablers and into the busy center of Isla Vista. 

Gauchos for Recovery volunteers also handed out overdose prevention kits to attendees, falling in line with the club’s motto and purpose. 

I.V.’s own Pattylove, Orangepit!, Lemon Generation, Magnetize and Big Hungry performed for the duration of the festival. As each band performed, those in the audience danced, spun and laughed. 

“A great atmosphere on a beautiful day. We loved having this chance to play for such an important cause,” second-year history major and Big Hungry guitarist Stiles White said. 

In between sets, Gauchos for Recovery demonstrated how to properly administer Narcan and small speeches were made by those in Gauchos for Recovery. One female student shared that she came into college drinking excessively and, through Gauchos for Recovery, has mended her relationship with alcohol. 

Above the listeners on the lawn sat students on picnic blankets or laying in the grass, and even parents were there to enjoy the quintessential UCSB afternoon. Local small businesses set up stands to sell homemade goods, such as jewelry, art and clothes. One stand even offered ten minute tarot card readings. 

The week leading up to the festival, Gauchos for Recovery introduced each band on Instagram to get people excited for the event. 

We can’t wait to celebrate the importance of Harm Reduction with you all through the magical, healing and inspiring powers of art and music. Get ready for the BEST day of the year!!!” one of their captions read

Upon passing the food trucks and entering into the park, festival goers were met with a variety of clubs tabling (much more peaceful than a typical day in the Arbor). UCSB Mindfulness Club even had a bowl of notes on a take-one-and-leave-one basis. and students could start off their experience with a positive affirmation — the note I picked read, “All we need to live and breathe is love.” A variety of other clubs were tabling, focusing on health and self-wellness, in theme with Gauchos for Recovery’s cause. 

Lance Sanchez / Daily Nexus

Generation Recovery was a great way to promote harm reduction, encourage recovery, honor lost loved ones, and showcase local talent and creations in IV. Everyone who stopped by was so kind and happy to be there. I’m so glad we had the opportunity to collaborate with GFR and participate in this awesome community project. Plus the sun was shining and the music was sick, what more could we ask for!” said second-year psychological and brain sciences major Bre Elmen, one of the board members for Mindfulness Club.  

Second-year psychological and brain sciences and English double major Avery Lindsey is one of Gauchos for Recovery’s Overdose Prevention interns who helped put the entire festival on.  She also performed at the festival as the bassist of Big Hungry. 

“Although it was stressful at times to plan and there were a lot of moving pieces, the event was a success and came together so well! Combining a great cause with live music on a beautiful day created such a good vibe for all involved. Excited to do it again next year,” Lindsey said. 

Gauchos for Recovery’s annual “Generation Recovery” could not have landed on a more perfect day to spread awareness about drug and alcohol usage and ways students can help. For more information on Gauchos for Recovery, ways to get involved and spring quarter overdose prevention kit pickup hours, check out @gauchos_for_recovery on Instagram. 

This appeared in the May 2 printed version of the Daily Nexus.