Sacred music and art draw thousands to Beloved Festival in the Oregon woods

adminAugust 13, 20182min16

A Sufi singing workshop takes place inside the Doorway to Devotion at the Beloved Festival.

Deep in the thick of the Coast Range, down winding dirt roads, a sacred gathering bursts forth from the woods, a colorful collection of music, art and community.

There’s no shortage of music festivals in Oregon each summer, but there are perhaps none quite like the Beloved Festival, which stands out from the pack by sitting down, drawing a deep breath and collectively seeking a path to a better existence.

Now in its 11th year, the Beloved Festival draws some 3,000 people every year to the small town of Tidewater, filling a large parcel of private forest land with tents, stages and stretched-fabric temples. Their goal is to enjoy, explore and, above all, to connect.  

On Sunday afternoon, festivalgoers meditated as African musician Youssoupha Sidibe played his 21-string Kora. They gathered in the Doorway to Devotion for a singing workshop called Sufi Soul. Many sat in an area simply called “Big Love,” filled with blankets and surrounded by spiritual artifacts. 

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