RISE Festival Las Vegas – An Elevating Experience

*written by Lizzie Moore for Electronica Life
RISE Festival, a new community experience, was held for the first time in the United States last weekend. The event was held in a lakebed in the middle of the Nevada desert about 35 miles south of Las Vegas. Tickets to the event sold quickly, with about 10,000 attendees and 20,000 released lanterns. All lanterns were biodegradable and gathered after the event, and Rise Festival posted on it’s Facebook after the event that it’s team took special care to leave the area cleaner than it was when they arrived. The event urged the attendees to take some time prior to the night to think about what they would like to gain as a participant of the experience. As a journalist, I didn’t particularly enter this event with specific intentions except for to observe and capture the event. Little did I know that I was I was about to experience something amazing… a rare event where everyone is united and participating in one activity.

When a friend and I arrived at the Rio Hotel, we were quickly ushered through will call and onto a bus that would take us to the venue. The event regulations specified that no cars would be allowed to drive to the event because the experience started the minute attendees boarded the buses. Rise Festival wanted to detach us from reality and bring us into a place where only the important things remained- love, community, and human connection. As usual, I was headed into the unknown with a feeling of excitement and anticipation. As we arrived at the venue the sun was setting and everyone began the 500 yard trek to the event.

The only lighting was coming from a few carefully placed blue lights that created a magical mood throughout the area. The venue was set up in a circle, with rows of torches and spots for people to sit. Each spot came with two lanterns per ticket and a yoga mat for each person to sit on. Bottles of wine and dinners were available for people to create their own little picnics, and as we walked through the rows we witnessed people meeting the groups next to them and the excitement slowly growing.

While at this event, I met people with all sorts of intentions. There were markers circulating through the crowds for people to decorate their lanterns with things that they wanted to manifest, let go of, and focus on. As we settled ourselves we began to talk to the couple next to us. The woman was from Rio, and explained to us that she and her boyfriend fell in love when he was visiting Brazil and had been in a long distance relationship for three years, with the longest period apart ending that day.  After a year spent apart, he had picked her up from the airport that afternoon telling her that he had a surprise for later in the evening. They wrote on their lanterns that they wanted to manifest love that overcame all obstacles, no matter the distance between them.
I realized then that I was surrounded with thousands of people who each came to the event with a story. My friend and I walked through the rows, asking people what they were hoping to gain from the experience. Many people hoped to manifest a sense of purpose, success in their careers, and general happiness. Others came with more specific intentions, like a pregnant woman who hoped to be the best mother possible for her unborn child after two miscarriages in the past three years.  Friends gathered together to release a lantern for a friend who passed away earlier that year. A couple was planning on telling their friends that they were expecting a child. Three men told us that their friend was proposing to his girlfriend that night at the first release of the lanterns.

People were letting go of their attachments to unhealthy behaviors, relationships, and habits. Countless others told me their stories, but they were all rooted in human connection and the desire to spread love whether it was for someone else, themselves, or humanity in general. These landmark moments started to accumulate around me as the stories of these people overwhelmed my emotions and filled my heart.

Finding the words to explain the feeling that comes over your entire being releasing your lantern as everyone else is doing the same, is one of the more difficult things I’ve ever had to articulate. There is an overall swell of energy in your body as everyone gets excited together and a speaker counts down the seconds until release into a microphone. Slowly building the anticipation, “three, two, one” and then exclaiming, “release your lanterns!” and there are shrieks of excitement and awe as thousands of lanterns float into the sky. Watching your lantern rise and join the countless others creates the feeling that your problems and manifestations are in the hands of the universe now.

A huge weight is lifted off your shoulders and everyone is connected in joy and wonderstruck by the absolutely breathtaking sight of the light that we, as one big community, created. RISE Festival allowed us to light up the desert together, to create something beautiful that was art in motion and resonated energy with vibrations of love that you could feel coursing through your bloodstream like heavy bass. Seeing all those lanterns caused the realization that your problems are truly small, just a speck in a glittering illuminated sky.