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Ask A Concierge / California

Ask A Concierge: The RiSE Lantern Festival in the Mojave Desert

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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.

For more unique activities and travel suggestions from Sarah Dandashy of Ask A Concierge, check out:

By Sarah Dandashy and Nino Gordeli for