When people ask "What news would you rather prefer first? The good or the bad?", I would normally ask for the bad first so the good could somehow outweigh it. In this case, I'll deliver the bad news first. I would absolutely hate to end this post on a bad note, especially since the photos I've taken were absolutely marvelous.
To start things off, I attended the RiSE Festival in the Mojave Desert a week ago. An event that is forever ingrained in my memory because of how beautiful it was, and also because of how disorganized the execution of the event had been. The plan was my family and I would drive to the Gold Strike Hotel which is out of the city limits, get on the shuttle and be driven to the site. That was all accomplished within forty five minutes and that's not so bad as the lines were long! We got our passes, got in line, and got on the shuttle.
My family and I were in a happy mood because getting there was a breeze. On the event site, it stated that as soon as the shuttle would drop us off, there would be a 15 to 20 minute walk to the actual site, and that the trail would be lined with torches. As soon as we got there I was a bit confused, the trail wasn't really a trail, it was just a very large patch of land that people walked on. There were no torches as well. Oh well, I thought, the sunset would be a great lightsource.
See what I mean about no direct trail? The walk was all the way where the white tents would be at.
I'm gonna fast forward to the very bad part right about now. I'm gonna save all the great pictures in a little bit. Anyways, after launching our lanterns, it was time to go. By the time all the festivities had been finished, it was about 9:00 already. Remember the walk I talked about earlier? 20,000 people had to walk across the Mojave back to where the shuttles got us. Remember when I talked about the supposed torches guiding our way? Nope. The only light sources we had were these gigantic flashlight things standing every 100 feet.
These photos I took during that walk look as if I'm either A. Taking photos of a mass migration of refugees late at night. B. The Zombie Apocalypse. Take your pick.
Because of the extreme unorganized planning, there was no way to figure out which line to be in to board our shuttles. There were two choices, either take the shuttles from the Gold Strike, or the shuttles from the Rio. You would expect people from the event to be herding people in the right direction, but nope! There were only about two that I saw and even then, they were not much help.
The biggest headache came from when people began cutting in line, and the buses still loaded them on. I was part of the people who actually followed the rules and stayed in line. Completely unfair when the buses allowed the people who deliberately disregarded what was supposed to be followed. Also get this, Metro Police was there and instead of enforcing the rules, they stood there and allowed it to happen. They told us countless times "YOU WILL BOARD THE NEXT BUS!" Nah, the bus wouldn't stop where we'd stand, instead, they'd stop yards away and let the people who cut in instead. Police did absolutely nothing but tell us to step back.
There were young children, the elderly, and thousands of people stuck in a ditch, in the middle of the Mojave Desert getting bombarded with bus fumes and dust clouds. That isn't good for your lungs or health at all. The event ended at 9:00, and I didn't board a bus until 1:30. From what I've heard, the last bus did not come until 3:00. People decided that because of the unreal wait, they would hike in the darkness back to the Gold Strike. Did the event organizers think of their attendees' safety? I don't think so. That is a seven mile hike in the Mojave, in the darkness. The risk of getting smothered by an oncoming bus, getting potentially torn apart by coyotes, or getting lost was high but did the organizers think about this? No. But if they did? Not evidently.
I'm gonna stop the bad news at this part. There's no point in remaining bitter of what happened in the past. There are still good memories to this.
The walk down the path wasn't so bad. It would've been prettier if those torches were lit up.
As we got closer to the event, the sun started to fully set. It was really pretty seeing some of the RiSE motifs around the desert.
I do have to admit though, the food at RiSE was really good. We had the option of buying food in advance as a meal plan, but since this was such a last minute thing for us, we went ahead and went to the concession stands. My family and I were hungry as is so we went and bought I think half the menu? I'm not sure, lol.
We asked for a box to hold our food, came in handy when disposing of all the plastic!
Since there were four in our group we had two spots. My parents were in front of us. Funny thing actually, we got a few more lanterns than what was said. My parents got about five lanterns while my sister and I got six. In total, 11. We were technically only supposed to have four altogether, haha.
Wanted to take a shot of the food, songofstyle style!
We were allowed to decorate our lanterns and write our hopes, dreams, and wishes on them! Here's mine, with a doodle.
They also gave us these wishcard type things.
Ran into Brenda who I've known for the longest time, and her super cool boyfriend Rocky! It's been a long time since I've last seen her, so it was really nice to run into her at this event!
Their matching shirts are so cute! After the event, Brenda and I texted each other about how long we had to wait and gosh, our experiences were basically the same. Boo long unorganized wait times!
The lanterns were huge!
It was time to start setting up the lanterns! Gosh, it was absolutely beautiful seeing these white lanterns glow yellow. The light that surrounded the dry lake bed was so surreal.
See how pretty! Just wait, it gets prettier.
It was time to set them all free. The organizer wanted us to let them all go all at the same time, and my gosh it was absolutely breathtaking!
Remember that scene from Tangled? I felt like I was in the movie.
My lantern! I hope all the dreams and wishes I wrote down come true.
By now the event was over, and all the events that transpired in the beginning of this post happened.
RiSE Festival in itself was very memorable, and very fun; however, that was only the beginning. I was lucky enough to get to the event without any trouble, but I heard from several others, including Brenda, that their experience getting to the event was also riddled with confusion. The fact that 20,000 people, that of which included very young children, the elderly, and pregnant women, were stranded in the Mojave until the ungodly hours of the morning is not excusable. I hope that RiSE learns from this, and if RiSE ever does this again, I can only hope that they fix the mess that happened. I know for sure I won't be coming back anytime soon. Getting dust and toxic bus fumes blown at my face while standing for four and a half hours in the dark is something I would never want to experience again. RiSE was emotional, beautiful, and memorable in all things good and all things bad.
Thanks for reading, stay tuned for the next couple posts.