A Vancouver lifeguard is promoting sober partying by touring around Canada and the world, with a portable speaker on his back and an iPhone in his hand.
Jacques Martiquet, founder of Party4Health and “chief dance-party facilitator,” says he was motivated to undertake the idea of sober partying after attending a lot of parties as a volunteer medic and witnessing the effects of excessive alcohol consumption and drug use.
“We can solve one of the largest problems that faces public-health practitioners, which is young people dying from injury because they are intoxicated or drinking and driving or suffering alcohol poisoning, or suffering an overdose,” Martiquet said.
According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, more than 56,000 people were hospitalized due to alcohol consumption in a one-year period between 2015 and 2016. The institute also concluded, in a 2017 report, that alcohol is the third leading cause for death and disability globally.
With music from his portable speaker, Martiquet creates a party atmosphere everywhere he goes. Whether on subways in Vancouver or on the streets of Amsterdam, Martiquet tries to bring people together to enjoy themselves and experience a party without any alcohol or drugs, a state that he calls “natural euphoria.”
His approach appeals to many.
“I was walking in downtown, I saw bunch of people running around and partying, so I joined them,” said Haig Berry, who attended one of Party4Health events in Montréal.
Some participants say it has changed their behaviour at events they went to after one of Martiquet’s parties.
“I have gone to parties and even music festivals sober and the experience was absolutely amazing. I was able to fully engage with the moment and people I had around,” said Niico Galan, a University of B.C. student who attended one of Party4Health events last year.
Some of the volunteers working with Party4Health have previously suffered from anxiety and other health issues but claim they’ve benefited from joining the organization.
“For one of my toughest years dealing with mental health, there was no organization better suited to lift me up,” said Stuart Clark, a UBC student and a volunteer at Party4Health.
Martiquet is trying to raise $50,000 to go on a global tour and inspire people to use partying as something that can benefit their social wellbeing, health, and life satisfaction.