2019 Before I Die NM Festival was a Big Success!

Nov 14, 2019 | 1 comment

Day of the Dead Fairview event
Artwork by Sean Wells

After eight days of Before I Die New Mexico Festival activities, the Doyenne of Death rested. Between 1,200 to 2,000 people participated in events, starting November 3rd with the hugely successful Dia de los Muertos celebration in Fairview Memorial Park, and ending with the Jewish Burial is Green Burial events at the Jewish Community Center the following Sunday, November 10.

In between, we held events in Taos, where 40 people came out for one Death Cafe, Espanola, Santa Fe and back to Albuquerque for four days of events. Sessions averaged between 15 to 40 attendees.

We had some great press coverage leading up to the Festival, including these print and broadcast (and podcast) stories:

Albuquerque Journal: End of the Line

‘Before I Die Festival’ takes a lighthearted look at planning for a funeral. This November 1 story looks at the creation of the online video filmed at the Route 66 Diner to promote the Before I Die Festival. Here’s the long version, clocking in at one minute and forty four seconds.

Before I Die New Mexico Festival

Santa Fe New Mexican: Workshops in New Mexico aim to take the scare out of dying

The Grim Reaper is welcome in at least one home in New Mexico.

Gail Rubin of Albuquerque has two black cats, a penchant for button-ups with embroidered skulls, matching cowboy boots stitched with neon calaveras — and she can’t stop talking about death.

She’s got the certificate to prove it.

Rubin, 61, uses her background in event planning and public relations to try to help people think about their funerals, wills and plan for their deaths.

Her technique to broach a touchy topic? Jokes.

No, seriously.


The Taos News: Let’s Talk About Death. It Won’t Kill You.

The Before I Die New Mexico Festival Comes to Taos.

Planning for your death can seem strange, creepy and, in some cultures, is actually taboo. But for others, facing and planning for death is comforting and a way to ease what is inevitable for the loved ones left behind. READ MORE

Los Alamos Monitor: ‘Before I Die’ Festival set for Nov. 5

A local group hopes a trendy new death-themed festival will help people look at the end of life in a more positive light.

“This full day of death-positive experiences helps people discuss end-of-life issues and encourages planning ahead for our 100% mortality rate,” according to Gali Rubin, one of the coordinators of the “Before I Die New Mexico Festival.” READ MORE

The Children's Hour in-studio
Host Katie Stone and the Kids Crew on the Children’s Hour radio show

The Children’s Hour on Public Radio

On October 24, The Children’s Hour radio program interviewed Gail Rubin about Dia de los Muertos traditions as part of a program devoted to children and grief. LISTEN HERE

KOB-TV Morning Interview

On October 31, Sean Wells spoke about the Dia de los Muertos tradition of face painting and Gail Rubin was interviewed about the Before I Die New Mexico Festival.

New Mexico Living (KRQE/KASA-TV)

Death is something everyone experiences and the Before I Die New Mexico Festival is giving people the opportunity to learn about and plan ahead for our inevitable mortality.

Festival coordinator Gail Rubin explains that many people fear death or the topic of it and that the festival provides visitors an opportunity to discuss it as well asl plan for it. These festivals originated in the United Kingdom and this will be the third year in New Mexico.

The event will feature a Dia de los Muertos celebration in a cemetery, behind-the-scenes tours at funeral homes and cemeteries, films, speakers, games, and Death Cafe conversations.

The 2019 Before I Die New Mexico Festival will take place on November 3 through November 10 in Albuquerque, Taos, Española, and Santa Fe.

What’s Up ABQ Podcast

This is a podcast dedicated to ABQ and all who love our city featuring interviews with local business owners, artisans, thinkers, dreamers, and lovers of ABQ. Hosts Lindsey and Ryan interview Gail Rubin, CT, The Doyenne of Death, and coordinator of the Before I Die New Mexico Festival. LISTEN HERE

We also posted a news release on October 31 about the Festival headlined “Boo! It’s Not Scary to Discuss Death.”

A Good Goodbye