Beloved Festival (August 11-14, 2017 in Tidewater, OR) has always nurtured a special alchemy designed to meld unexpected elements, to challenge and encourage festival goers to focus on the music, the meaning, the community. One performer plays at a time. Everything the festival does–from providing healthy food and a gorgeous site to sparking searching conversations and vital new friendships–speaks to its values, grounded in social justice, spiritual seeking, and mutual care.
Highlights this year include Malian superstars Amadou & Mariam, the hip Yemeni harmonies of A-Wa, reggae legends The Abyssinians, Tuvan throatsinging legends Huun-Huur-Tu, and underground favorites like House of Waters. Latin-inspired dance music pioneers Nickodemus and Captain Planet will pack the dancefloor, after a daylong exploration of world traditions with classical masters like Amjad Ali Khan and psychedelic roots from Thailand, thanks to Khun Narin.
This year, in addition to a compelling lineup of global musicians and DJs, the festival will host a bevy of cross-cultural collaborations, some world premieres. Bay Area Latin club maverick Quantic is teaming up with the passionate pan-Latin sisterhood of Fémina for the very first time. House of Hamsa heralds a new incarnation of cult world band Hamsa Lila’s North African trance, thanks to live looping and transformation by Heavyweight Dub Champion.
One thing festival goers will notice: The striking gender balance of the festival. “We’re proud to invite groups and projects that feature front women and female musicians,” notes Rasenick. “Out of 45 or so groups, something like 26 are led by women.” He books consciously to create this balance, setting Beloved apart from other music festivals, where women are remarkably underrepresented. “The irony that you’re quoting an educated white man right now is not lost on me, but we really do work to present voices that are too often less heard.”
Workshops will highlight musicians and their life stories, shining a light on some of the pressing social justice issues on Americans’ minds. Rahim AlHaj and Las Cafeteras will unpack the nuances of border imperialism and sanctuary via their very personal experiences as members of immigrant and refugee communities. Beloved’s musical and educational offerings are expanded by wide array of serious yoga instruction, held in a dedicated hall with high-quality sound.
“We want the festival to be celebratory, a place for inspiring artistry, for unbridled joy and an opportunity to be absorbed in the beauty of creative inspiration… We want it to proof that another world is possible,” notes Rasenick. “We also want the community to be willing ask difficult questions, to confront the issues we face once the party is over. Together, we feel we can shift the conversation and bring the spirit that animates Beloved to our everyday lives.”