Gap years are to reflect and discover yourself and for this, the festival is perfect. Also, Ragu Dixit is performing this year!

When a festival is inspired by a poetry by Rumi, you know it’s going to be doing a lot of things right. “In truth, everything and everyone is a shadow of the Beloved,” the 13th-century poet wrote and these very words have now spawned Beloved Festival, a four-day music and arts festival in Oregon.

(Credits: Zipporah Lomax)

The festival is deeply rooted in healthy spirituality and takes its messages of unity quite seriously. Unlike most festivals, the festival does not have several stages, instead going for a single stage. The festival also has a series of events and art that dabble in all kinds of genres. So let’s take a look at what makes Beloved Festival the perfect spot to recuperate and nourish yourself.

Things you should know about the festival

The website states:

‘The festival intends to present sacred music to help eradicate the illusion of from each other, from the earth and The Beloved.’

The term, ‘The Beloved’ is also explained:

‘Through the ages, we have called upon the One for Whom we yearn in countless ways, in myriad names. The term ‘The Beloved’ embraces all of these names and forms of the Divine, affirming their Unity.’Heavy stuff, eh? So all you need to know is that the festival is based on a few principles and ‘The Beloved’ is central to all of them. Also, did we mention they play only special sacred music?

(Credits: Zipporah Lomax)

Heavy stuff, eh? So all you need to know is that the festival is based on a few principles and ‘The Beloved’ is central to all of them. Also, did we mention they play only special sacred music? Before you jump to conclusions, this is just what they refer to bass music as. It is a curated progression of sounds and vibes throughout the 4 days. Their lineups are crazy and this year they have acts like King Sunny Ade, Dakhabrakha and of course, desi favourite Raghu Dixit.  They believe the presentation of diverse expressions of sacred music at a single venue demonstrates their common origin and our shared relationship as a global community of contemporary devotees. In simpler words, you’re really going to enjoy yourself here if you like dance music.

The festival takes some pretty awesome stands

The festival uses its popularity to talk about some pretty serious issues and we love them for doing this. Their vision includes ‘Consent’ and ‘Eco-Ethics’. The addition of ‘Consent’ is a recent one, but it is equally strongly supported in the community. The decision to do something came after sexual assault cases (some of them in the festival itself) were noticed to be on the rise. Particularly music festivals need to take a stand against these crimes and Beloved is doing their part. They offer services, counselling for the people attending. There is also a special sanctuary space for women to come and feel empowered together at.

(Credits: Zipporah Lomax)

Also important is that they focus on ‘Eco-Ethics’. The organisers know the ‘leave no trace’ philosophy hardly works, so they urge attendees to efficiently manage their waste. In 2015, Beloved replaced chemical porta-potties with composting toilets that return bodily “waste” to the earth as fertiliser. Electricity is pulled from solar and biodiesel sources, in addition to grid power. Grey water is reused as much as possible. Food and other vendors’ goods are locally sourced and regulated for eco-positivity as well.

Why just one stage?

(Credits: Zipporah Lomax)

“We understand our stage as a mandala, concentrating and holding the energy of the festival throughout its duration, rather than dispersing the attention in too many directions,” the site proclaims. “This allows for the carefully chosen sequence of artists to tell a continuous story of the Inner Journey, to perform an Alchemy of the Heart.” One of the main themes of the festival is unity. The kind where we see others as mere extensions of ourselves, so most festival aesthetics are focussed on establishing this. Instead of breaking people up in groups, the one stage brings them together to rave and make merry together.