SolPurpose: Unitus Festival is a production of Magnolia Miracle, your online community for tax-free ticket trading. Seems like a lot of the people producing festivals these days started as fans and got gradually more passionate about the other side of things – about putting together meaningful events. Was that true for you and the other producers of Unitus? Tell us about your path from ticket-holder to ticket-broker to event producer…
Jordan Sadler: It was birthed exactly because of that passion we all share. Unitus has not been sponsored or “presented by” any organization in the past, but this year we felt like Magnolia Miracle understands the value of connection and honors those relations. Magnolia Miracle is a organization, and a community, which was created to strengthen that relation between the fans, the artists, the venues, and the promoters – because without each one of these pieces, these experiences wouldn’t be the same. All that Magnolia Miracle has done is create a safe platform for us to unite and look out for each other as a family.
For us, it started out from the ground up. You grow, you become aware of new things, and you are changed by it. There are certain experiences we have as humans that completely change our lives in many ways that we can’t ever go back to the way things were before. You can not undo the experiences you have had. As far as I am concerned, we were tired of being ripped off and supporting a system we felt was destroying everything we all put our love into. So, it naturally progressed into a system that is some sort alternate process that we feel is a solution. Obviously it is in it’s beginning stages and there is much more refining to do, but we honor where we are at. We have high hopes as community and a grass roots organization, if everyone shares a little, we all have more than enough.
SolPurpose: What are you trying to accomplish with Unitus that will set it apart from the kind of mass commercial consumption-oriented music festivals that you and I both grew up with? How are your values informing the actual production of this event?
Jordan Sadler: We are striving to bring everyone together to not only realize, remember, and learn of our interconnectedness but feel it… to feel that connection, that we are all one family. From our personal experiences, we feel that if everyone had this shared understanding and feelings towards not only each other, but the plants, animals, and the eco-system, etc., expanding outward, that this would end so much of the suffering in the world including poverty, war, many deaths, hunger, and bring about shared peace. That is why the project means so much to us because from the ground up and the cards we have been dealt, we are striving to connect communities, microcosms, tribes to help heal the world by removing the root of suffering and not just putting a band-aid on the wounds.
Our values are influencing this event every step of the way. Obviously, there is a balance of walking in two worlds. We are having to sell an event that shouldn’t be sold, simply to sustain itself, support international non-profit organizations, the community we all co-create, and to move forward. For the most part, we connect with artists, musicians, workshops, teachers, organizations, people that we feel are in alignment with the vision of Unitus to help us hold this space and set the tone and vibration of this event.
The main event at Unitus is the Sky Lantern Ceremony on Saturday night. Watch the 2011 ceremony here:
SolPurpose: So how does Unitus bring people’s attention to this new sense of ecologically interconnected selfhood? How is your team putting this into practice as you prepare for and produce the event? I know that in our earlier conversations you’ve emphasized interactive workshops rather than straightforward lectures, and that you’ve reached out to some of the elders in the local communities, inviting them to share their wisdom. Can you go into more detail about how the various members of your team (as well as the teachers and performers you have invited) are actually anchoring these values in practical application during the festival?
Jordan Sadler: Unitus is a perfect example of the world that we wish to create and live in. Of course, things are not 100% exactly how we want them, just like the world, because we are playing the cards we are dealt. We strive to come together and co-create this environment in which is cohesive for growth, expansion, evolution, and love. As a team, we have chosen musicians, artists, speakers, teachers, organizations, and people in general that we feel are in alignment with the vision of Unitus. Every single person carries a different subjective expression of this oneness to help each other learn more and more ways that we are truly connected.
One person in particular that I would like to bring a spot light to is White Elk Spirit Dancer, a Native American Grandmother. She has been one of the most heart-warming and grounded being that has really welcomed and helped orchestrate the idea of the Mita’Kuye Oyasin Gathering. (Mita’Kuye Oyasin is Lakota Sioux and loosely translates into English as “all is related.”) She has really helped us reach out to the Native American tribes, communities, and reservations across the Southeast United States and shared our vision and intentions behind this event. She has clearly shown that her words and actions are in harmony. She explains heavily to us that it is her duty to pass this wisdom and information to the youth. We are here like little children sitting around an adult at story time listening with ears and hearts open wide. We are all world-bridgers because all we do on a daily basis is connect dots, remember connections, and honor relations.
SolPurpose: What is your greatest hope for the festival this year? And how are you going to carry the momentum gathered out there forward to help people integrate their new insights and understanding in their everyday lives for the remaining fifty-one weeks a year?
Jordan Sadler: My greatest hope of the festival ever would be that we realize our connection and relations to honor them with elements of unconditional love, compassion, equality, and peace. I can’t say I have a particular goal for this year, other than letting this be another year to touch the hearts of more people and to share life-changing experiences that bring us closer together as a family. Like a ripple effect, we plan for August 10th to be that day where we all watch the intentions be set as we collectively drop the pebble into the pond. My personal plans to help people integrate their new insights and understanding – an understand not to be preached or taught, but realized together through shared experience. To add some foundation to this by building friendships and bridging worlds with as many people as possible. My goal is to build positive and mutually beneficial relationships while continuing to learn how, at this point in time, the only battles that need to be fought are within. It is time to start working together and let the bitterness of selfishness be just a stepping stone in our evolution.