Published on March 31st, 2013 | by gatsbyadmin0
Envision Festival 2013
Envision Festival (held in Uvita, Costa Rica) felt like a burner getaway in the jungle from the start. People improvising camps out of bamboo and palm fronds, hammock cities popping up and art growing across the ground. A vibrant landscape exploding with color and life, which became more alive when torrential rains pelted the grounds several nights in a row. About 3200 people attended Envision, now in it’s third year. There was a marked increase in attendance by locals this year, a fact highlighted as a major success by several of the producers. The growth of the festival, in this way, and its international reach make its practice and diffusion of Burning Man principles and the potency of the transformational festival experience– complete with artistic expression in myriad forms, sacred movement and reverent ritual, knowledge exchange, and sheer exultation–all the more promising.
This transformational festival featured a largely electronic music lineup, balanced by a healthy dose of roots, reggae and latin flavor. To tantalize the sight? In addition to impressive bamboo stages and captivating visual projections, mystical and powerful performers shared fire, flow and aerial arts. Meanwhile visionary artists filled the Tribe 13 Gallery, as well as stages and spaces throughout the grounds, and installation masters created spaces of prayer, pondering and connection. Spending days learning movement, community, communication and more in richly varied workshops, Envisionaries fueled themselves with tasty organic local food and then charged ahead into the muddy night in communion, connection and celebration.
Collaborations, bands, and latin flavor dominated the main stage of Envision (Sol), with electronic music acts illuminating the Luna stage. Headliners, Emancipator and EOTO, both brought impressive sets. Emancipator played one of the best in recent memory, swelling to a breathtaking ensemble featuring SaQi, Cedar Miller, Noam Aharon, and an array of dancers. EOTO played in their older style, with less whomp and more groove…all the better to get down in the rain! Costa Rican acts such as Sonámbulo got many hips swaying and feet stomping in the mud, Midnite had the afternoon irie vibes rockin and Rising Appalachia brought their powerful roots rhythms and potent lyrics to the Sol stage as well.
On the Luna Stage sonic alchemists such as Phutureprimative, Desert Dwellers and Kaminanda manipulated sounds in transformative ways, while drippy bass and alien soundscapes dominated much of the late night sets from the likes of Andreilien, Russ Liquid and Thriftworks. Sunrise sets from Random Rab, Desert Dwellers and Russ Liquid each made for magical moments of connection and love. Rippling group hugs, the spontaneous distribution of cold pipa (green coconuts to drink from) and fruit salad, sun-gazing, eye-gazing, prayer, release and celebration….all under a resplendent full moon giving way to radiant sunrises.
In addition to these stages, DJs at the Lotus Bar kept folks moving and grooving and small spaces such as the Tea Lounge provided for intimate, improvised and acoustic sets of everything from Kirtan to Folk to Pyschedelic Rock.
Visual and installation art featured prominently in the already rich setting of the Costa Rican jungle. Visual projections of Alex Grey’s work by Jonathan Singer, live projection manipulation by artists such as Annie Stardust and performance/projection collaborations such as Kinetic Junglist Movement were just a few examples of the incredible art being created at Envision. The Tribe 13 Visionary Art Gallery showcase the art of visionaries such as Rachel Mandala and Mugwort, and many of these painters took to the stage along with Alex and Allyson Grey. The royal couple of visionary art held several interactive art workshops, Q&As and an illustrated talk. Live painters surrounded the sound board as well, and painters, face painters, airbrush tattoo artists and others filled the grounds day and night with opportunities to adorn and enhance the environment. Installations, such as mandalas of natural and upcycled materials by Scott O’Keefe, the Sacred Mirrors of Alex Grey, Danielle Herzog’s Photo Booth and Nature Dreamweaver’s nest provoked moments of intense connection, blissful meditation and prayer, profound awakenings, and just plain joy.
Sacred movement was a headlining feature of the festival. At night incredible dance, fire, flow and aerial performers accompanied most of the musical performances, and each day was filled with workshops, many of them led by performers, such as a Contemporary Dance workshop led by members of Quixotic Fusion. Performance artists interacted with the crowd as well, with the Animal Cracker Conspiracy parading through the crowd on stilts….on all fours…decked out as wild animals. Floral sculptor Anthony Ward mesmerized Envisionaries with his sacred practice of flower arrangement. This unique blend of dance, ritual, and stunning natural materials encapsulated much of the essence of the festival….movement, beauty, reverence and celebration in full expression.
Workshops went beyond sacred movement as well. Everything from Bodywork Basics to Intimate Relationships to Community Design and Environmental Activism were discussed in dynamic settings. Talks were often filled to the brim with participants, and many filtered into longer discussions and side conversations following the conclusion of the actual event.
In a place so vividly beautiful as Costa Rica, it is perhaps a little bit easier to encourage efforts on eco-initiatives. Envision featured well-distributed waste stations, with containers for compost, sorted recycling, and trash. Leave no trace efforts were also encouraged by the MoopSquad, a group that leads by example picking up “MOOP” (MOOP = Matter Out Of Place) and recruits ambassadors, painting a fingernail orange to remind Envisionaries to pick up anything out of place and not leave waste about, and to encourage others to take accountability as well. Efforts such as these, as well as diligent volunteers, managed to keep this a clean festival. In addition, the Envision Cafe and all food vendors served all organic produce, almost all of which was locally sourced. Putting into practice the ideals that are changing the world, and educating participants about how to carry these ideals into their lives, Envision lived up to its transformational intention.
In the face of an incredibly rich but incredibly challenging landscape and astrological and meteorological situations that were less than favorable, a talented team of passionate co-creators managed to create an incredible experience over these days in Costa Rica.We are grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of it, and offer humble gratitude to all those who made it such a special event.