Cover Photo By Photo of Malinaju.
By Courtney Alex Aldor
I think I went to Beloved Festival to fall in love. Not with any one particular person or thing, but with myself and everything and everyone around me. Because when I walked around getting smiles and hugs and help with whatever I needed and genuine compliments, I thought, ‘wow, I must be doing something right.’ Even if that something right was to have ended up at Beloved Festival this summer. Seriously. Never have I met such a happy shiny sincere group of people.
Of course, the music and classes were epic. Porangui, Tasha Blank and DJ Dragonfly had me dancing even in the line for lemonade down the forest path. Yes, that’s correct - insane DJ’s in the even more insanely beautiful forests of the Oregon coast. And the main stage music was both diverse and beautiful and oh so danceable as well. Even cooler was that if you wanted, you could also sleep through it because the campsites were all up in the forest hills or off the beaten path nestled in the gorgeous woodlands. The food was vegan and delicious with little stands here and there so you could eat with the crowds or in the quiet. The workshops were interesting and diverse. They had men’s groups and women’s groups, and places for everyone to come together. I did a particularly cool workshop where Porangui taught us how to make music by drumming on your face….or sans instrument, that is. I met artists and hippies and medicine people and friends of all ages and those who’d traveled from near and from far.
At the large fire pit, musicians and singers and dancers and bystanders got cozy by the fire and entertained each other with devotional songs. I got lucky that I happened to be there when some elders from the Oregon coastal region were sharing about the fire-tending practice they’d learned from local natives, and was blessed by a grandmother. It was a really sweet moment. Qigong with Ryan Powell was really interesting when he showed us practices for clearing energy through sound vibration and banging heels on the Earth which was different from any I’d ever learned. Morning wake-up to Youssoupha Sidibe had me blissed out for the rest of the day. Desert Dwellers were so much fun, as always, as was the extremely high vibe at 2am with Hanuman Project getting everyone up out of their seats to sing and dance.
And since this is SFYogaMag, I have to talk about the insanely beautiful drive up from San Francisco. Driving up along the coast, stopping in Mendocino, Humboldt, Shasta, Ashland, and even the side of the road to pick wild blackberries was a dream. It was a great excuse to go road tripping and camping with new friends. Contact Improv was super fun, led by Matthew Nelson as was sweet Lullaby Yoga with Johanna Beekman. Naked sunbathing by the showers and sauna was a pretty sweet (and safe feeling) addition too. And even though it sounds maybe silly to say, their choice to use upscale porte-potties rather than the green and blue plastic sauna ones was a super nice and much appreciated extra touch. I honestly lost track of all the great musicians I saw because the dancing was just so much fun. And musicians like Sarah Tone joined others in an all-out high-vibes jam at one point. I even got to take a nap in a little forest hut of a devotional temple while learning about music appreciation from one of the ladies of Climbing PoeTree - can we say heavenly?
The only downside? Well, the fact this doesn’t happen more often in Tidewater Falls, for one thing, but they do have events in Portland I know I’ll DEFINITELY check out next time I’m there. Getting out of the festival was a little much…both because it meant I had to leave and because thousands of people all packing up cleanly out of the forest was a bit of a show. BUT of course I made some sweet friends along the way. So long and see you next year, Beloved. Thank you for the smiles.
To learn more about Beloved Festival visit: belovedfestival.com.