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Before I Die Festival-Louisville, KY

Before I Die Fest is a series of events dedicated to changing the discourse, planning, and connectivity related to death and dying.

Photo of Justin Magnuson, MA, LMT
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The description for Before I Die Fest (BIDF) will include the origins of the event, a short description of the various events, community sponsors and partners, and how the Open IDEO community can support the project. Before I Die Fest is a month long series of events (October 5- November 5) that will bring forward the conversation about death and dying in Louisville, Kentucky. The idea originated from an Open Space meeting in March on the topic of "creating a model city to live fully into death." The three co-founders are Justin Magnuson-Living Fully, Kel McBride- Clearly Depart, and Deb Tuggle- retired ICU nurse. 

The title is a nod to the Before I Die art installations that were detailed in Candy Chang's TED talk.  Several of the installations exist in Louisville  and similar festivals have been hosted in Indianapolis and at Cardiff University. The thought was it would be a familiar approach to the subject. 

Before I Die Fest will offer over 20 events engaging the topic from various perspectives, including talks, discussions, an author discussion, science, art, film, and a full day conference; a full calendar of events can be found here. The full day conference on October 22 will include a multi-disciplinary approach to engaging the audience to reflect on their values and create a plan that includes death as part of the process. 

This is the inaugural festival and would not be possible with the generous support of several community sponsors and partners. Current sponsors include:

  • Hosparus
  • Kindred Health
  • KODA
  • The Alzheimer's Association
  • Stuart Holladay Creative 

Community partners include:

  • Bellarmine University
  • Four Pegs
  • Over the Nine
  • The Kentucky Science Center
  • The Loft
  • The Louisville Free Public Library
  • The Louisville Game Shop
  • The Tim Faulkner Gallery
  • The Workhouse Ballroom
  • Yoga East

The response for Before I Die Fest has been generally positive, including an article in Business First and an upcoming interview on a local morning show, but some organizations that were approached for potential sponsorship have been skeptical of either the topic, title, or our approach. Moving forward we are being much more intentional about connecting with the art installations, previous festivals, and recent research showing that end-of-life discussions does not increase anxiety or hopelessness. 

The Open IDEO community can support this project in several ways. Considering a sponsorship or promoting the event in your networks would be extremely helpful. If you have additional comments or suggestions please comment below or email me,  

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