NewsCovering Kern County


Festival covering every facet of death coming to Bakersfield in June

Posted at 3:20 PM, May 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-13 18:22:15-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A different kind of festival is coming to Bakersfield in June, but rather than art and music, this one focuses on one thing - death.

The 'Before I Die" festival is a day-long event that covers every facet of death, from funerals to hospice care to ghosts and even the afterlife. The festival works to help people plan ahead with a variety of death-related topics.

The festival will also feature a number of events and will conclude with a showing of a movie "Undertaking Betty."

Gail Rubin, Certified Thanatologist is the featured presenter at the festival and Rubin believes that by taking a few small steps, you can reduce the stress and confusion that death causes.

“Just as talking about sex won’t make you pregnant, talking about death won’t kill you,” said Rubin

The schedule of events includes these activities:

  • “Death Café” conversation preceded by The Newly-Dead Game® that allows everyone in the audience to play along, answering questions about wills, final disposition preferences, advance medical directives, and thoughts on a final resting place. The game prompts questions and conversations in a fun, upbeat way.
  • Outdoor “Mortuary Mall,” features caskets, urns, cremation jewelry, and other funeral/memorial products and services for attendees to examine and ask questions of knowledgeable staff.
  • Crematory tour includes a talk by a cremation expert explaining the process and answering questions people have about scattering, environmental impact, creative things people do with cremated remains, and other issues.
  • Mortuary tour takes guests into the “Authorized Personnel” areas of the mortuary to shine a light on what happens behind the scenes.
  • Estate Planning and End-of-Life Issues: local estate planning experts and attorneys will answer people’s questions about the financial and legal aspects of planning ahead.
  • “How Do You Want to be Remembered?” is a panel discussion on obituary writing, ideas on how to leave one’s life story for future generations and wording for memorial markers.
  • “Laughing in the Face of Death: Funny Films for Funeral Planning:” Gail Rubin’s keynote speech incorporates comedy film clips to illustrate the importance and benefits of preneed funeral planning
  • “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Death **But Were Afraid to Ask” brings together a panel that includes a funeral director, a hospice caregiver, clergy and other experts to field questions from the audience.
  • “The Woo-Woo Side of Death” features a fun conversation on ghosts, afterlife, near-death experiences and the paranormal.

The festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Greenlawn Memorial Park Southwest, with the feature film starting at 5 p.m. The festival is free and open to the public.

For a full schedule of events for the day, click here.