Have you ever watched one of those small hot air luminary ceremonies on YouTube and suddenly wanted to be a part of one? Me too.
It’s so funny how the birth of such extraordinary adventures can begin by watching a simple video. To sum up a long story, once I saw how AMAZING this was… I knew I had to get to The RiSE Festival.
Going into it, I thought I knew what to expect. I’d drive out to the Mojave Desert in California, set up a lantern, I’d see pretty lanterns fill the sky, and I’d be done. But that was not the case.
Magic in the Desert: A Place for Everyone
One of my big takeaways was that this was a festival for all ages. There were families, couples, and people of different generations and backgrounds. So many people were compelled to drive into the desert, a seemingly random location in the Mojave, to light a lantern to reflect a personal intention or send a tribute into the sky on behalf of a friend or family member. Of course, the experience is a bit of an introspective one. The sense of community was strong. I remember saying to my friend, as we were walking back to the car, “I feel so safe and loved and vulnerable…all at the same time.”
Music, Music, Music
A festival isn’t a festival without music! Different bands follow one another with a unique lineup each year. Even though the bands change, you can expect an indie/folk style. You can come in your favorite flowy dress or a tee shirt. How you show up really doesn’t matter. This is definitely not Coachella. This festival is more about your purpose than your outfit.
In A Nutshell
I was surprised to find how completely in tune with the environment this festival is and how the main idea was never about watching a lot of pretty lights fill the sky. Instead, it’s about the stories of the people who attend—and even those who do not, since you can email or send a letter with your own story and have it become a part of RiSE too.
In short, RiSE isn’t only called RiSE because of the lanterns. It’s a festival that is inspiring people to rise up in their communities, to share their stories, and to become the change that they wish to see in the world.
As I traveled back from the desert, I left a little piece of my heart in Mojave. I still long for my white tent. I still miss the people. I still think of the thousand stories that I heard during my stay and how they inspired me to create a movement of my own. It may not be a big-time campaign. It could be something as small as helping out another human being…and that’s okay. As long as we are rising…that is all that matters.
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By Sarah Dandashy and Nino Gordeli for PeterGreenberg.com