Feeling goose-bumps rapidly cover my sun-kissed skin, I pulled the plush white comforter from my hotel room bed around my body, wrapping myself up like a burrito. Gathering all the energy I had in me, I reached for the television’s remote control grabbing it off the end table while pushing the power button. As the TV lit up the room, I was bombarded with news that was all sorts of scary and sad.
I went from feeling blissed out from my weekend of fun to feeling extremely guilty. Guilty because I just spent the weekend in Las Vegas at the Life is Beautiful Festival where life is well, beautiful. While I was experiencing one of the most epic weekends of my life, my fellow humans were losing their homes to mother nature’s wrath, saying goodbye to loved ones who were victims of violent crimes, while others got persecuted for being who they are.
Tears streaming down my face, I felt despair because people were forced to deal with so much while I was out galavanting at a music festival without a care in the world. It’s easy to pretend everything is honky dory when you’re in a bubble of magic. Feeling overwhelmed, I was having trouble wrapping my head around everything that was happening on our planet. We’re in a crazy state of chaos at the moment. It’s easy to feel like nothing you could possibly do would make a difference, so why do anything?
I took a few deep breaths and thought about why I go to music festivals. Dancing with a group of strangers allows me to feel connected to and see the beauty and goodness in all living beings (even the ones that aren’t acting kindly. I know that they’re reacting to their own suffering in terrible ways). When prancing around on a concert field, my battery gets charged and when I return home I always have so much more energy to give to others. I leave feeling inspired to take action. Living life at a festival for a weekend where everyone gets along makes me feel hopeful that people will bring all of those good vibes and love back home with them. Life is Beautiful did that for me time a billion.
Most of my dearest friends and even my husband are in my life because I first met them at a festival or concert. They're my soul family and I love them so much. When bands announce their tours and festivals announce their dates, my excitement goes through the roof because I know I'm going to get to reunite with my family to do what we love to do.
The weekend following the Life is Beautiful Festival was the Route 91 Harvest Festival. The festival took place only miles from where I was only several days prior. People who attended that festival were there for the same reasons I was; a weekend of dancing around without a care in the world in their safe happy place.
The magic bubble was burst by a shooter who killed almost 60 and injured over 500 people. It could have been me and my husband. It could have been you. It could have been your best friend, sister, brother or that cashier at at the grocery store who brightens your day with their smile. Actually it was US because those people attending that festival are US.
I can’t comprehend what that must have been for those in attendance; bullets raining down on their safe happy place...
Something's got to change.
I felt a strong pull to attend the Life is Beautiful Festival this year and even after the tragedy that occurred, no one can take live music events from me. I’ll be back for years to come because the effects of that festival travel far beyond the stage. Life is Beautiful’s manifesto lays it all out and if it’s possible for you to go next year, I highly recommend that you do.
Life is Beatiful’s manifesto: Life is Beautiful is a movement. We are a soul collective. Among us are dreamers and doers, challengers & compassionates, optimists and outliers. We inspire and transform. Our acts of kindness are intentional. Together we create pause. We create space to appreciate the beauty in ourselves and our surroundings. Most of all we create noise. We create noise that drowns out the naysayers. The kind of noise that calls you into the here and now. The kind of noise that makes you move your feet. Because life is reason for celebration, and you should get out there and dance. So if you’ve just dropped in, join us, you’ll fit right in.
The CEO of Life is Beautiful Justin Weniger, took a moment from his day to bring me on a golf cart ride before the doors opened where we chatted about the snowball effect of goodness that happens because of festivals, being grateful for what we have and why magic is normal. Check it out.
I returned home from Life is Beautiful with a fire in my soul to do as much as I can for my fellow humans that are struggling in this moment in many different ways.
I’m so grateful for everything that happened while I was there. Bands I got to hear live for the first time like Lorde, Chance the Rapper, Haim, Capitol Cities, Gorilliaz, The xx, Zeds Dead, Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness, Lil Dicky, Cage the Elephant, Muse, De La Soul, MGMT along with the ones I’ve seen a couple of times like Pretty Lights, Stick Figure and Big Gigantic were big highlights. And then there were the people (and one Alpaca named Marley) I had the pleasure of meeting. The world would not be as beautiful without them in it doing their part to raise the vibration of the planet. Add in beautiful interactive art, educational workshops, comedy shows and an open air helicopter ride over the festival grounds and it all equaled a weekend of epic proportions.
That being said, I send my love and prayers to those who are suffering right now. With all the love, inspiration and creative energy I gathered up at Life is Beautiful, I’m currently heart-storming up some big ways to use my blessings to give back to those in need with more than just good thoughts. Our peeps need us and they need us big time. Now that you’re home, do something!
Zappos is located in Las Vegas and is one of the biggest sponsors of the Life is Beautiful Festival. They created a fund for the families and victims of the Las Vegas tragedy and are going to match up to 1 million dollars. You can donate HERE.
Here are some more ways that you can raise the vibration of the planet by giving financially:
Zappos for Good Giving backpacks and school supplies to those in need.
PRxPR Fund Puerto Rico Relief and Recovery Fund.
National Alliance on Mental Illness NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
Love for Love City Kenny Chesney’s Hurricane Relief Fund for the US and British Virgin Islands
The Waterwheel Foundation Raising funds for Vermont-based non-profits, charities in the cities that Phish tours as well as others in need.
The Mockingbird Foundation Charity started by fans of the band Phish to support music education.
Kelly Ryan Foundation Providing financial assistance to families for burials/cremations of stillbirths.
White Light Foundation Volunteer organization built on a common bond of music and founded on the principles of community, love and charity. In partnership with Twiddle, their mission is to support charities important to the band and the community that supports them.
Generosity.com 100% of donations to this fund will go exclusively to long-term relief for the victims of catastrophic Hurricane María in Puerto Rico.
Children International With your help, children living in poverty have access to life-changing benefits, like medical care, educational support, life skills and job-training before they graduate.
The Water Collective Water independence for all
Team Rubicon They unite the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams.
Grassroots Alliance Currently working to provide over 6,000 meals/day to a severely disadvantaged community in Immokalee, Florida that was heavily damaged by Hurricane Irma.
Here are some ways to volunteer your time:
The National Relief Network brings as many volunteers as possible into federal disaster areas to assist devastated families and communities while teaching the values of giving and compassion while enriching the lives of volunteers across America.
Volunteer Match Find a cause that lights you up. Get in touch with a nonprofit that needs you.
American Red Cross Volunteer Volunteers constitute about 90 percent of the American Red Cross workforce. Volunteers make it possible to respond to nearly 64,000 disasters every year, most of them home and apartment fires. Find out about the needs in your area by searching for current volunteer opportunities.
Do you know other ways people can give? Share your favorite charities, relief funds, disaster funds and volunteer opportunities by leaving a comment. Please share this article. Life is beautiful because of people like you.
The magic in me sees the magic in you,
Want more inspiration from Taraleigh? Check THIS out.