We would like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who made the Just Love Festival 2019 such a success! Over these three special days, nearly 3,000 people came together with the festival’s theme of ‘Celebrate Love’.
On 12 July, with all the planning and preparations finally complete, the Just Love Festival gates opened to guests from around the world. From early morning until late at night, a full schedule included music, dance, crafts, classes, international shopping and delicious food. Despite the initial rainstorm that took everyone by surprise, participants took it in stride and the festival played on. Although the rain likely kept many locals at home, the attendance was still high, and approximately 500 were first-time visitors.
One of the main organisers said, ‘The most amazing thing this year was the energy of the people. It just seemed so much sweeter than in years past. People came with the energy of Love. It wasn’t a human love; it was as if they came expecting to have a divine experience. Coming like this, with this predetermination, allowed the festival’s energy to be something even more special than ever before.’
The elaborate ‘Theatre of Life’ décor set the stage for an experience of another reality. The buildings were covered with giant canvases depicting the sun, moon and stars representing the one-dimensional world of Maya and playful signs pointed the way to Vaikunta. Sitting high above the ashram’s main entrance was the beautiful 3-dimensional realm of Lord Narayana who could be seen peacefully watching over it all. Lit dramatically at night, it was a sight to behold.
Vedic ceremonies on the main stage, temple prayers, Bhagavad Gita and Shreemad Bhagavatam satsangs, along with evening aratis in the Bhutabhrteshwarnath Mandir and the smaller entrance temples, helped guests to focus their attention on the beauty and glory of worshipping the Divine in a variety of forms.
The joy of bhakti, devotion to the Divine, was in the air throughout the weekend, and bhakti offerings were prominently featured throughout the festival: spiritual talks, yoga and meditation programs, educational children’s activities, homemade vegan food, spiritual arts and crafts, and of course a wonderful variety of talented musicians from around the world. A collaboration with a variety of communities brought together 36 vendors in the Marketplace, and a selection of professionals offered classes and talks in the Gurukul and Meditation tents. New this year was a two-story Juice Bar, which offered a bird's-eye view of the festival grounds. But some things are now a tradition, and the Holi Colour Toss was, again, a big hit and everyone had a blast showering the crowd with the colours of love.
Behind the scenes and in every area of The Ashram, an impressive display of bhakti took place. Hundreds of seva helpers did their best to bring the spirit of love and cooperation into the service they provided, despite the long hours, wet weather, and large crowds. It all seemed to run so smoothly this year, and everyone seemed to know what to do and how to do it well.
Now in its fifth year, the Just Love Festival continues to grow and evolve. The comments given by guests were overwhelmingly positive, remarking about the good food, clean surroundings, and great music in an upbeat atmosphere of appreciation and recognition for all beings on our precious planet.
It won’t be long before plans will start for next year, making things even bigger and more exciting, and we look forward to welcoming you again when it’s time for JLF 2020!