Festivals vs Clubbing – Positive Intention

As the year begins to warm up and the months draw away from winter (except in the far South) talk of festivals start to creep in. I wanted to take a look at this to see what everyone else thought of the festival craze and whether festivals are preferred to clubbing, or if it is a completely different thing altogether.

Alex Gray - Sacred Mirrors
Alex Gray – Visionary Artist

Festivals take on different forms, from the largest corporate sponsored money making events, to the more positive gatherings of like minded people with the intention of raising spiritual awareness, health, creativity and art.

Music and clubbing, is used in many ways, either as an outlet for expression; be it making or playing the music, or dancing to it. We all enjoy the emotion it brings forth, or the freedom it allows for us to express ourselves. Society has created a very judgmental model, where everyone feels the need to judge, or is concerned they are being judged. This can create a desire to escape this feeling and this is where music comes in.

I feel that when music and dancing is hijacked for the wrong reasons (i.e. corporate promotions and money making) then an opportunity of higher value is lost. Whether the music is provided to us in a club or at a festival should not matter, it should be the intention of the gathering that is foremost. ‘Going clubbing‘, for many, is a way to escape, but do people ‘get out of their heads‘ in the wrong way? Getting caught up in the need to numb oneself to a point where communication is difficult, should definitely not be the purpose. Using these gatherings to create a better world, however, is something that should be the focus of these gatherings. Part of this experience is to socialize, when we do so, it adds worth to our existence and creates bonds between fellow people.

Burning Man is a great example of how these two worlds have collided. Burning man defines itself as follows:

Once a year, tens of thousands of participants gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. They depart one week later, having left no trace whatsoever. Burning Man isn’t your usual festival with big acts booked to play on massive stages. In fact, it’s more of a city than a festival, wherein almost everything that happens is created entirely by its citizens, who are active participants in the event.

An aerial view shows the Burning Man 2012

Burning man is a countercultural event, evolving around participatory art, commerce-free, with life changing consequences. Attendance at one of these events could potentially change your whole outlook on society. A melting pot of many different ‘tribes’ from around the world, burning man is responsible for birthing wonderful connections and offering meaningful purpose to those that participate. It’s recent growth though has been the subject of much debate, as it’s very essence is threatened by those that see it as a potential to make money.

Spreading Positivity through Transformational Festivals

It seems that humanity is at a critical point in it’s direction and it’s survival. There are many people that understand the urgency to shift to a more sustainable model. It just so happens that creative people involved in the arts, seem to understand this more. It’s a left brain, right brain thing. This is why using the medium of transformational festivals to educate and spread this message is slowly gaining more momentum. There are lots of smaller festivals springing up all over the world, that fuse together the love of music and the connection that dancing brings, with workshops and yoga retreats. Many transformational festivals include permaculture workshops, meditation, energy healing and other educational workshops that challenge the old paradigm.

The Challenges

These transformational festivals face many challenges, usually from those stuck in the old paradigm. People look at these festivals, through filters imparted on them through societies judging ways. From the outside, these festivals may look like ‘a bunch of hippies talking about love and practicing weird rituals‘. But that’s how it looks from the outside, from the conditioned mind, the enslaved perspective. Attending a transformational festival will, as the title suggests, transform you. You have to be open and willing to change, willing to perceive your own weaknesses and willing to wake up from your conditioned way of thinking.

Bloom Series

An amazing group of people birthed the Bloom Series, helped by a kickstarter campaign, aimed at documenting a series of Transformational Festivals around the world. Bloom visited 23 of the potential 90 Transformational Festivals including those in California, Colorado, BC Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica. The first Episode is Launching on March 1st 2013, it’s something you should check out.

I attended one of these festivals last year in 2012; Envision Festival in Costa Rica and pieced together this short video. It was shot just after the sun rose and will give you an idea of what can be experienced on the dance floor.

Festivals vs Clubbing

Clubbing is an exciting past time, or even a hobby for many. It provides people with a chance to let loose, or to socialize, or simply just to dance. Having this available to us, is likely very integral to our well being. The action of dancing and moving around is very therapeutic and using this as an outlet can be beneficial to the soul. Dancing has been linked back to the ‘dance trance culture‘ of historical times. Used in shamanic and spiritual practices amongst countless cultures for times immemorial. In the video from TedX Vancouver (below) Jeet Kei Lung says, 92 percent of small scale societies encouraged some kind of ecstatic trance through prolonged periods of dancing or chanting. Dance links us back to our ancestry and our tribal cultures.
It appears that there are deeper reasons as to why we are drawn to dance; re-connecting with this innate understanding and tribal relation, could reconnect us to our source and a deeper understanding of something much bigger than the music. The problem comes when we jeopardize our health for the sake of a ‘good night out’.

This is where the festivals and clubbing differ, and by this I mean Transformational festivals.

Clubs can create an unhealthy atmosphere, depending on what type of club we are talking about, encouraging excessive drinking and housing undesirables pushing all kinds of drugs on people that don’t yet understand the dangers or risks. In this club environment people remain somewhat hounded by the oppression of man made urban life. The marriage of electronic music and the great outdoors, draws people closer to nature and closer to spirit in a way that no indoors club can achieve. Dancing in harmony with the cycle of the sun and moon creates a special bond between you and the universe. Something we can not afford to overlook.

Why do you go Dancing?

As I mention there are many reasons people go dancing, I feel that if we can recognize the deeper connections to something more spiritual and beneficial to the soul and to our health, then we can use our love of music and dancing to bring the world together and to improve the quality of life. Discovering this deeper understanding of why we love to dance so much, may encourage people to move away from certain unhealthy practices and present people with a confidence they can use to spread good to others and their communities.
Do you see the same vision as I do, are you excited for positive change, can you see the importance of making this change for the better of humanity. We are all here to enjoy life and contribute to a better world, what better way to do this, than through dance music!?


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