Before I Die NM Festival Celebrates Day of the Dead and More

Jun 26, 2018 | 0 comments

Before I Die NM Banner

The second annual Before I Die NM Festival, six days of death positive events to discuss mortality and plan ahead, is expanding from its Albuquerque origins to include Santa Fe and Belen, New Mexico. The festival will take place October 30 to November 4, 2018 in multiple locations.

The 2018 Before I Die NM Festival will celebrate the rituals and meaning of Dia de los Muertos. Day of the Dead celebrations start the evening of October 31 and end on November 2. Related activities include a party in a cemetery on Halloween, lessons from the animated film Coco, a free cremated remains committal in two Catholic cemeteries, and attending the colorful Marigold Parade and Festival in Albuquerque’s South Valley.

Other Before I Die NM Festival events include:

  • Death Cafés and “Millennial Morticians with ABQ Brews”;
  • End-of-life speakers, panel discussions and workshops;
  • Movies at the Guild Cinema and couples playing The Newly-Dead Game®;
  • Yoga for grief and kids memorialization activities;
  • Tours of a casket building workshop, the Office of the Medical Investigator, a crematory and cemeteries.

Most events are free or low-cost.

Why Death Discussion Festivals?

Before I Die NM logo“Humans have a 100% mortality rate, yet less than 30% talk about their final wishes. That’s bad news for 70% of those faced with making expensive decisions under duress of grief. The Before I Die NM Festival starts these important conversations,” said festival coordinator and pioneering death educator Gail Rubin, CT.

Death discussion festivals are growing across the United States. The first Before I Die Festival in Albuquerque drew 600 participants at 22 events over six days in 2017. Similar festivals have been held in Indianapolis, IN and Louisville, KY. San Francisco hosted the Reimagine End of Life festival in April 2018, drawing 10,000 attendees to 175 events over seven days.

Before I Die NM Festival attendees can enter a drawing to win two full body burial plots in La Puerta Natural Burial Ground, located 15 miles south of Belen, NM, as well as other valuable prizes. “Before I Die” walls will be set up for people to express their thoughts and wishes.

Festival Sponsors

The Before I Die NM Festival is made possible by:

  • A Good Goodbye – Death educator Gail Rubin puts the “fun” in funeral planning.
  • com – Giving families looking for a final resting place for cremated remains guidance on the range of options available for people and pets.
  • National Guardian Life Insurance Company – For more than 100 years, one of America’s most successful and highly rated independent mutual life insurance companies.
  • FRENCH Funerals and Cremations – Albuquerque’s largest and oldest family-owned funeral service company.
  • EstatePros – Your expert resource for property organization, distribution and administration.
  • Zia Trust – The Advisors’ Trust Company®.

Partners include La Puerta Natural Burial Ground, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of New Mexico, Guild Cinema, Berardinelli Family Funeral Service, Children’s Grief Center of New Mexico, Compassion & Choices NM Action Team, and

Part of the sponsorship proceeds from Before I Die NM will be donated to charitable partner Fathers Building Futures ( A portion of sponsorship fees may be tax-deductible as charitable donations. Festival sponsorship opportunities are still available by calling Gail Rubin at 505-265-7215.

A Good Goodbye