Watching the lanterns light up the sky is beautiful, but knowing that each lantern is connected to a person’s dream, wish or message is extremely moving. I was surprised I became misty-eyed after the first launch. I thought about my own message a little, but then I thought of the thousands of other messages. I hoped that everyone there received a little closure for their message or the motivation they needed to fulfill their dream.
I was a little skeptical of the Rise Festival since I had heard the horror stories from the previous years’ parking fiasco. I also thought the tickets, ranging from $60 to $100 plus $20 parking, were a little pricey. My final gripe: the 45 minute drive from our hotel to the event took about 2 hours as thousands of people were being funneled off the same exit. However, once we arrived, the event was flawless, and I understood the price of the ticket. The organizers delayed the first lantern send-off to accommodate the traffic situation, and event-goers were updated by Twitter, as well as by the band.
A folk band, Magic Giant, was playing when we arrived. It was a fun, but mellow vibe, which was perfect for the occasion. I often find the music at outdoor events too loud, but I could carry on a conversation even when we were next to the stage. I liked the band so much I plan on searching for them in Spotify and adding some songs to my playlist.
Before the event started everyone was busy preparing their lanterns to send off their messages. It was touching to see families working together to craft their personalized message. Some people were creating elaborate drawings on their lanterns, while others wrote personal statements not meant to be shared with anyone on earth.
The first wave of lanterns went up around 9PM. It was magical! I wish I would have sat and enjoyed it, but I saw so many people’s lanterns falling so I ran to save as many as possible. Once you light a lantern you must wait 1-2 minutes for the hot air to fill the entire lantern otherwise it only goes a few feet before heading back to the earth. I must have saved half a dozen lanterns, but there were a few I couldn’t help. It was heart-breaking to have to throw away someone’s wish.
Overall RiSE was a beautiful and magical experience. I look forward to going again in 2016!