Beloved is a festival like no other. It’s small and cozy and the sweetness in the air is legendary. There’s good reason that people sigh and get glassy eyed when they tell stories of their experiences at Beloved, it’s been crafted to be a place for deepening and connection from the get go. In pursuit of those goals, founder Elliot Rasenick doesn’t release his line-up until tickets are nearly all sold out. (Read – Lineup release above – tickets almost completely sold out – get ’em now if you want one) Why? He doesn’t want you to come for the lineup, though he puts exquisite focus into curating a stellar musical experience for his community…he wants you to come for the love. He explains his thinking in this interview with Ananda Harsh of the Untz. www.belovedfestival.com
Why Beloved Festival doesn’t want you to know its 2015 lineup.
Here we are, a little less than a month out from Beloved Festival, which returns to Tidewater, OR from August 7-10, and there is no lineup in sight.
Which begs the question: are the organizers crazy??
Hardly. It’s not due to poor planning, fights with artists or management, or any of the thousands of ills that befall a festival. In fact, the brains behind the ultra-successful open-air sacred event hold off on announcing the lineup on purpose. Trust me, I was a little confused by it, myself, but I got the straight story from festival founder Elliot Rasenick, and I gotta say… I kinda get it, now.
I have to ask, right off the bat, we’re just over a month away from Beloved Festival–what is your reasoning behind not wanting to reveal your lineup?
If you’re planning to come to Beloved just because your favorite artist is on our stage, I’d really rather you go see them somewhere else. I want to be clear that EVERYONE is invited to be a part of this festival. We’re dreaming up the possibility of a new culture and most cultures are defined by superficial qualities almost as much as they’re defined by their vision and their values, so the withholding of the lineup is really partly about asking for our culture to get deeper than tastes in music or fashion.
Our hope is that most, if not all, Beloved attendees are willing to show up for the game that we’re playing; where we decide that the new paradigm of relating with each other, with the earth and with spirit has already happened. If you want to come play this game with us, then we invite you to join our little paradise and revel in the bizarre and beautiful collection of amazing musicians we’re hosting.
We believe that we can call in just the right mix of wonderful humans and unseen forces to make something really magic together. We want the population of our temporary village to be guided by synchronicity and by those who join us hearing, and following, a call. For the last few years, we’ve been holding off on announcing the lineup until the vast majority of tickets have already been sold (for this year we’ll wait until we’re about 85% Soul’D Out). This way we can be sure that there is a critical mass of the population that is at the festival to be there with each other who is willing to really participate in holding the field we want to hold.
I think 2012 was the first year that I started to let go of some of the panic that I inherited from my sixth birthday party, that “no one is going to come to my party” story and the innate human fear that really stems from the illusion of loneliness connected to the illusion of a separate self.
But, yeah, I am so grateful that there really is a certain amount of trust in Beloved’s music curation from the community. Part of this comes from the fact that half of the lineup each year is comprised of these legendary performers from traditions around the world; they always put on spellbinding performances, but typically none of our audience has ever heard of them.
Who are some artists you’ve had on past bills, to maybe give folks an idea of the general vibe of the Beloved lineup?
On the electronic side, I’m really proud that we’ve hosted some medium and even some big names inlcuding Odesza, Tipper, Beats Antique, The Polish Ambassador, Ott, Opiuo, Phutureprimitive, and Quantic. We’ve also had a lot of old school legends in the psydub and world fusion arena like Karsh Kale, Cheb i Sabbah, Banco de Gaia, Kaya Project, Makyo, and Desert Dwellers; and we’ve even hosted some bigger contemporary live acts like Xavier Rudd, Nahko & Medicine for the People, and Groundation.
In terms of just ridiculous world music legends, we’ve hosted Oliver Mtukudzi, Hassan Hakmoun, Vieux Farka Touré, Obo Addy, Aurelio Martinez, Etran Finatawa, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, Chiwoniso Marare, Noura Mint Seymali, Jai Uttal, Alam Khan, Bhagavan Das, Riffat Sultana, Sukhawat Ali Khan, Ustad Dildar Hussain, Stellamara and a lot more I’ve either forgotten or just forgotten how to pronounce.
Sounds like you’ve been ahead of the curve with a ton of these acts–how do you go about finding these nascent artists, and how do you justify spending money on acts who maybe don’t have the big brand, yet?
Since the whole event is really about remembering the depth of our connection to each other, to the earth, to source, I listen for music that takes me to a place where I can feel more connected. If I hear something that tells a part of this story of unity in a new or unique way, I’m really sold.
How come you don’t sell single-day tickets to Beloved?
This comes back to the piece that says: everyone is welcome at Beloved, and we really want you to join us if you’re willing to take on the challenge of connecting more deeply. In our experience, dropping in like this just takes longer than a few hours.
Originally published at the Untz on June 24, 2015