Music unites people. I never tire of observing this. A sea of people gathered to swim in an ocean of melodies and good vibes, feeling like one big family simply based on a mutual love for music. This was never better displayed than at LOCKN’ Festival this year. The atmosphere was at once peaceful, energetic, welcoming, playful, and full of LOVE.

We arrived after dark on Thursday evening and awoke in the morning to fields of tents, cars, and campers emerging for their morning High Brew Coffee (a sponsor of the event that effectively addicted us all with free cans!).

We headed out into the sun, exploring, catching pieces of shows and getting a feel for all that was going on. We were attending on behalf of Airstream in support of the company’s social action initiative, Leave It Beautiful. Our mission was simple and, well, beautiful: Find stories of those doing their part to create beauty in the world. This proved to be an easy task as there is always so much amazingness happening at LOCKN’! We spent the rest of the weekend filming, learning, and soaking up the beauty that was present there.

The festival itself used its voice to speak up for peace, love, and tolerance in the wake of the horrible and tragic events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12th. Because LOCKN’ takes place just outside of Charlottesville, the organizers felt a responsibility to respond to the tragedy. They decided to produce a live stream of the entire Festival, and donated 100% of the proceeds to the victims and organizations that work to spread tolerance. We think that’s leaving it beautiful! To help spread the love, Airstream participated as a brand and financial partner of the live stream.

Participation Row is a large tent filled with non-profit organizations, all of which do beautiful things. If you stopped into at least three booths and participated in unique games (designed to teach about the organization’s efforts), you were rewarded with a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream! Magnolia and I had fun walking around playing the little games and then nabbing our sweet treat at the end! The whole thing was not only fun, but also, yep, beautiful. According to the LOCKN’ site, “(The Festival) presented nearly $30,000 to more than a dozen non-profit organizations.”

We were also introduced to a wonderfully eccentric recycle artist named Jeremy Hale. Jeremy created, from all recycled materials, the iconic LOVE sign, which was perched at the entrance to Garcia’s Forest and watched over the campers all weekend. It’s definitely one of the most Instagram-able spots at the Festival! (The crazy thing is that I meant to get a picture with that sign and kept missing it!)

We were privileged to take a trek out to Jeremy’s home, studio, and warehouse of antiques and oddities. It was quite a sight with giant tree sculptures made from old metal parts of this and that, an old VW beetle, a beautifully renovated bar area and three floors of quirky old things! (Yes, the guys from “Pickers” have been there!) Thank you, Jeremy, for the tour and for leaving it beautiful through your recycled art!

Jeremy also told us about the massive recycling efforts at LOCKN’. I loved seeing special recycling bags, recycling cans were everywhere you’d find a trash can, and there was even a basketball hoop recycling station. Most importantly the community cared for and supported this effort. That’s what made it work. Way to leave it beautiful, gang!

Clearly, I could go on and on about the ways that LOCKN’ is having a positive impact. From the friendly environment to the intention to be low-impact and from the positive messaging to the local food offerings (my favorites being the abundance of Kombucha and plant-based eats!), we were impressed. And last but certainly anything but least, the amazing music. It was the music that brought everyone together, united the cause, spread the vibes, stirred the spirits, lit up the night and made it all so very beautiful.

Written by Katie Thomas of Pilgrim. Follow along on their adventures via Instagram