We were honored to speak with Elliot Rasenick, founder of Beloved Presents, the production company behind Beloved Open Air Sacred Art & Music Festival in Tidewater, OR and InspireTruth NYE, which will take place this year at The Portland Art Museum. This legendary New Years Eve event has sold out every year, at 3000-person capacity. There is an intriguing mystique surrounding these events, fabled to be the best of the best on the West Coast. The exquisite execution of these gatherings can be attributed to founder Rasenick’s precise, powerful vision and his devotion to its unfolding with intention & attention to detail that is unparalleled in other production companies. In this interview, we gain insight into the workings of Elliot’s mind, his inspirations & motivations, what it takes to orchestrate an event of this magnitude, and how to keep the sacred container.
[LiS] We love that this event treats New Year’s Eve as much more than just a party. You are providing a ritual for people, asking them to show up with intention and mindfulness about what they are calling in and creating for the coming year. How did this idea come about? What inspired you to Inspire Truth in others on NYE?
[Elliot] For most of my adult life I’ve spent New Year’s Eve either by myself or with a small group in an intimate ceremony or retreat space. In 2008, Jai Ganesh, the original Beloved New Year’s event was born as an attempt to bridge an overtly ceremonial space with a celebratory and community oriented NYE that I know also has real transformational potential. In 2010, InspireTruth grew up partly as an attempt to bring this experience to a much wider audience.
The notion of a New Year’s resolution is really quite beautiful. With so many people around the globe holding the intention to change and grow on the same day, there is a stronger potential for real change for each of us and for our world than on any other day of the year. The idea of InspireTruth is that we can capitalize on this potential and create a potent container for change.
When developing the concept for the evolution of a Transformative New Year’s party, it occurred to us that honesty is the foundation of any real change. On a global level, without a deep honesty about the impact of each of our choices on the world, no real change will occur for humanity’s relationship with our planet. On a personal level, real transformation begins with honesty with ourselves about who we are right now and where we’d like to grow.
In addition to the music, what other aspects of InspireTruth contribute to the invitation to cultivate joy, heart, and love to bring into the new year?
InspireTruth is designed to be a reunion for our emerging culture of life. Any gathering within our community can rejuvenate the spirit in this way. When we joyfully lead from our hearts, as we always strive to do when we are working on these events, we set the stage for the experience of all participants. While we are sure to make intelligent decisions about every aspect of the production, we value each team member’s ability to allow our choices to be filtered through the discernment of our hearts. We genuinely love what we do and allow ease and joy to be part of even the most hectic moments of production.
The midnight ceremonies on each of our stages are designed to potentize our visions for the coming year and really become the core of our invitation to cultivate a loving honesty with ourselves and with others and the possibility of a heart-centered and joyful 2014.
Rumi has an extraordinary poem, called The Far Mosque. Ultimately this is the best explanation I can give. We named the main dance floor at InspireTruth after this poem:
The place that Solomon made to worship in,
called the Far Mosque, is not built of earth
and water and stone, but of intention and wisdom
and mystical conversation and compassionate action.
Every part of it is intelligent and responsive
to every other. The carpet bows to the broom.
The door knocker and the door swing together
like musicians. This heart sanctuary
does exist, though it cannot be described.
Do you feel the need to employ much security at events like this?
Our security company is run by two of the sweetest men I know. They tell me that I’m their only client whom they’d advise that it’s OK to cut back on the numbers of security personnel because of the awareness and maturity of the attendees – I still keep the numbers of security relatively high because I think it’s the right thing to do.
Creating the container for transformation happens at many levels. Having accountable, competent, and sincere security staff is just part of holding the container and keeping attendees safe.
How do you curate such a large space for so many people and stay true to the container you want to keep?
The short answer is that I have brilliant friends. Every space in the event results from an amazing collaboration of brilliantly creative, super talented, and highly inspired people.
In your opinion, what are the hallmarks of a “conscious” event?
Honestly, I really struggle with that word used in isolation. One of indicators that an event has a clear intention towards transformation, or that it is aware of the state of our world and that it truly aims to heal humanity and to heal humanity’s damaged relationship with our planet, is that it will tend to avoid the use of the words ‘conscious’ or ‘intentional.’
My sense is that these buzzwords are most often used to disguise an absence of any real clarity of intent and betray a lack of consciousness by the speaker. Events that I respect clearly define their objectives and demonstrate that they have deeply considered how they are achieving them.
How are you taking it above and beyond this year compared to the years past?
Any event takes some time to really find a home in a venue. This is our second year at The Portland Art Museum and we have learned a lot about how to use the space well. This alone will really take the event to a whole new level… as we get closer to a mastery of the space, you will find hundreds of little refinements in how you move around, where you can retreat for a moment to sit and connect, how you get water, wash your hands, how the music sounds, how you check your coat, how long you wait for a drink, how quickly you are able to exchange your wristband for a ticket, etc.
We have taken the extraordinary feedback from the community and expanded on everything that you loved and taken on the challenge of refining the few drawbacks that you identified. Our substantial efforts to improve will not mean bigger, louder, or more extreme in any way; this year’s InspireTruth will be more refined, more special, and more carefully considered.
One specific refinement to note is that we have thought deeply about how to craft a ceremony that honors the midnight moment as a potent portal for transformation at the same time as it can be the celebratory explosive orgasm that we all want.
This video says it all…
This event has sold out every year, and will sell out again very soon!
InspireTruth NYE 2013 Lineup:
Nahko & Medicine for the People
The Human Experience
JPOD The Beat Chef
The Dogon Lights
EO (Eric Oberthaler)
Autumn Skye Art
& Much, Much More!
at The Portland Art Museum’s magnificent Mark Building