Featured photo by Jessica Bernstein
Envision Festival has now wrapped up its 10th-anniversary run, shining bright with a full 7-days of learning, adventure, and music. This visit to the small town of Uvita, Costa Rica is precisely where jungle paradise meets face to face with the conscious spectrum of the music festival community. Over the course of February 17th-24th, over 8,000 people from all over the globe gathered to grow and deepen their melting pot of experiences, co-creating a tropical celebration unlike any other on this planet.
” [Envision is] A taste of how incredibly delicious life can be” – Stephen Brooks, festival founding father
A Collective Hunt for Wisdom and Healing
Hitting international events, you quickly come to realize that the music festival community exists without political borders. In terms of types of attendees, Envision seems to attract a very well-seasoned group, a mecca of travelers and artists from just about everywhere. Daytime workshops were often quite packed, emphasizing that this crowd was hungry for knowledge. The teachers and facilitators were powerful and some of the most skilled that I have experienced at a festival – passionate, moving, and professional.
Here, each person weaves their own story and impact. Two yoga-based environments thrived throughout the mornings and into the late afternoons, hosting flows that varied greatly in their range of styles. The Village Witches, the Villiage Stage, Root Down, the Red Tent, and the Earth Temple became home to a wide range of workshops throughout the daytime itineraries as well. Near and far, people took notes and journaled, while simultaneously cultivating relationships with their Envision Family.
Many of the workshops were structured in a way that incorporated meeting someone new and exchanging heartfelt conversation, paving a path for vulnerability and healing. Talks were given on the topics of eco-villages, permaculture, relationships, trauma, sustainability, femininity, masculinity, communication, and so much more. These showcases were jam-packed with information and methods of action, and a great starting point for exploration of topics.
No matter which route of enjoying the festival was taken, a spin on the rollercoaster of discovery was guaranteed. Some stayed up late and partied all night, while others did this seldomly and hit the workshops at the crack of dawn. Some did both, too. Regardless, this Costa Rican wilderness became home to the planting of thousands of seeds, agenesis of new ideas that have the power to bring some seriously positive change to the outside world. People try new things and find out what they love, making a huge impact down the road somewhere.
“Envision teaches us to live in integrity with the Earth”- Gaia Ma, Breathwork & Healing Workshop Facilitator
Displays of Fiercity in the Design and Production Elements
A sustainable music festival in the jungle, they said.
They were right. Futuristic and primitive all at the same time, the stages and structures were something simply out of a dream. You could tell that environmental impact was considered by the brilliant brains behind the experience at every corner. Food Vendors only provided compostable materials with meals, and plates and cups were to be rented for a small fee or brought from home.
As the day turned to night, the majesty of the jungle was illuminated and the stages glimmered in all of their glory. These not only on fire, both literally and figuratively, but built completely of local and natural materials as well. To paint a picture, there were treehouses, bamboo platforms, and even tree-trunk truck tables. With the essence of the components, the stages looked like they were a part of the natural environment since inception. It felt like stumbling upon another planet, the discovering of a tropical kind of glitz and glamour.
Most marvelous and sensory-activated in my opinion, the Luna Stage hosted a majority of the bass-oriented music of the weekend. There was an open fire circle to the left of the stage, where talent from all over the globe showcased their gifts, and cannons of fire lined the perimeter of the dance space. Passionate dancers, arielasts, prop manipulators, and movement storytellers graced the stage throughout every musical debut, adding impromptu movement to every sound and captivating audiences. It was ethereal and simply put, often a tear-jerker. Some of my personal favorite sets of the weekend included the Saturday night marathon, most notably Tipper into Symbolico, then Random Rab, with Lazy Syrup Orchestra closing out into the following day. Legendary is an understatement.
This is the jungle, and the performers tend to bring out something special for their sets. Many musicians host multiple sessions and have created tracks catered to the one-of-a-kind environment. Tipper took us on a tropical journey of never-before-heard sampling. Playing several times throughout the weekend, The Human Experience performed an ecstatic dance set, a main stage set, as well as a guided yoga and meditation. Seeing some of these artists in a more intimate setting paved the way for some next-level memory-making, and the varied methods of delivery allow for exploring new mediums of expression on the attendee side.
The Call of the Jungle
Enormous trees and tropical shrubbery covered the grounds, decorated to perfection by the incredible team of volunteers. The majesty of the jungle was ever-present, and the beach was just a short walk away,- a great place for relief and refuge during the hotter moments of the day. Daily reminders of the royalty and diversity of this planet were hard to miss here, wild and demanding respect. The daily sunset parties were absolutely breathtaking and exhilarating. Imagine the best sunset you’ve ever seen and then add a couple more thousand people into the mix, including renegade sound systems, dance parties, fire spinners, and even horse rides. As the day turned to night, the ocean reflected the captivativating palette of the sky, setting each of us for an epic rest of the night.
After 6 days of pure jungle sunshine, it finally down-poured on the last night, bringing the festival to a thrilling (and muddy) end. There were mud fights and dancing, the shenanigans going on well into 9 am of the following day. It was a sweet relief after the intense heat and awakening of so much potential in the days prior.
Highlighting skills in this life that work symbiotically with the planet that we reside on, the festival had a heavy underlying call to action threaded into the message as a whole. A call to take care of ourselves and our Home. A call to be accountable, clear, and assertive in our goals. A call to help one another, for the seemingly impossible becomes possible this way. A call to heal and spread the message. A call to make all of our dreams a reality, and have fun doing it.
Ultimately, I am excited to keep the spark of inspiration burning beyond the festival grounds and to observe how these thousands of seeds flourish, from one attendee to their friend back home, and onwards.
“[This gathering is] the well for spreading the message” – Graham Whiting, architect & author of “The Permaculture Home”
As the locals say, Pura Vida. Until next time, Envision!