Could sober-raving change attitudes towards alcohol in young people?

Wednesday, 18 January 2017


An academic at Oxford Brookes University is part of a collaborative investigation into the benefits of sober-raving.

Dr Emma Davies, a lecturer in Psychology, is working with colleagues from five other institutions who are researching attitudes and perceptions of alcohol-free music events, as a means of reducing alcohol consumption in young people. 

Dr Davies said: “While there has been an amount of media coverage on alcohol-free events, there is a lack of academic research on this topic. 

“Together with colleagues from across the UK, and in Sweden and Slovenia, I have recently embarked upon a new project to explore whether these kind of events could be incorporated into university social calendars, such as during Freshers’ Week. 

We are particularly interested in determining if these events offer a credible alternative socialising experience by exploring attitudes and perceptions.

Dr Emma Davies, Lecturer in Psychology, Oxford Brookes University

“We are particularly interested in determining if these events offer a credible alternative socialising experience by exploring attitudes and perceptions.”

Recently, there has been an emerging interest in alcohol-free music and dancing events within the UK, for example Morning Gloryville which began in London in 2013 and claims to be the first to bring ‘conscious clubbing’ to the masses. These events are held in nightclubs during the mornings, and they attract world renowned artists to play. While all the elements of traditional clubbing are present (other than alcohol and other drugs), events often include yoga, smoothies, coffee and glitter face painting. In 2016, Morning Gloryville received an award from Alcohol Concern at the ZERO Alcohol Awards for ‘Best Zero Alcohol Initiative’. 

The research team plan to conduct a survey of people who have been to such events and also record the views of those who have not attended them before.

Dr Davies continued: “It will be interesting to see if and how perceptions of these events differ, for example, do people see these events as safer and are they acceptable to those who don’t drink for cultural reasons?

“It is also important to determine whether people may use alternative substances at such events, or bring their own alcohol. This evidence will make a novel contribution to the literature, and will be used to inform subsequent interventions.

“There are a number of unanswered questions at present, but we hope to shed some light on this interesting research area during the course of 2017.”

In future research, the project team will explore whether attending alcohol-free music events has the potential to reduce total alcohol consumption over a period of time, including during other socialising occasions.

The key collaborators of this project are Kyle Brown - Birmingham City University, Kimberly Hill - University of Northampton, Mattias Johansson - Orebro University in Sweden, Joanne Smith – Northumbria University and Sanela Talic – Institute for Research ad Development UTRIP in Slovenia.