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Envision 2018 | FESTIVALPHOTO

 

 

Envision 2018

 

2018-03-12 13:16 - Unlike Anything Else: Envision Festival!

After having been two times before, I came into Envision Festival in Uvita, Costa Rica, feeling mostly relaxed, but also a blend of other things… Excited to be returning to what stands to be my favorite festival of all time, curious to see what the turn out would be after last year’s significant dip in attendance, and very intrigued by the noticeably different selection of headliners for both music and yoga. I knew this Envision was going to be extra special, but had no idea of the wild, raw, beautiful vibe I was really about to encounter.
Situated in the jungle of Costa Rica where lush, green Earth meets incredible surf, Envision Festival has been making its mark on our community and culture since 2003. With a heavier emphasis on sustainability and zero waste than you find in most other festivals, it eliminates single-use items from all food and beverage vendors. Which means, receiving your organic, GMO-free, locally raised veggie burger on a banana leaf that has been lovingly cleaned by a tribe member is commonplace. But if natural plates/bowls and no utensils isn’t quite your thing, you can always rent cutlery and plates/bowls from the festival.

A $3 nonrefundable fee is charged when you order your first drink or food item. You then follow up by taking your cup or cutlery and plate to the dishwashing station, where they give you a nearly indestructible ticket to be used next time around. This system reduces the waste of single-use items, and nudges us all in a more conscious direction. Don’t be surprised when you leave the festival, and become hyper-aware of how many single use cups and plates, forks, spoons and knives, are used and then thrown away. And as Sustainability is one of the Seven Pillars of Envision, I am proud to say that aside from the waste created by the mixers at the bar, they honor it well!

Another pillar of Envision is Yoga. The Yoga Temple was actually the first permanent structure built on Rancho La Merced, the magical property where the festival takes place. It went up three Envision’s past, and stands beautifully still, in spite of the crazy jungle weather. Nestled in the furthest corner of the festival, the yoga zone provides a substance-free, relaxing, expanding space for those in need. With a full lineup of movement workshops, therapies, and classes that begin around 6-6:30am, one can find here anything from Kirtan chanting, yoga therapy, massage workshops, yelling, shouting, dancing, laughing, crying, hugging, loving, shaking, rubbing, and just about everything in between. Trying to stay sober? Camp here. There is substance-free camping, where you can feel comfortable, safe and strong in your pursuit. And rolling out of your sleeping bag and straight into yoga never hurt either!

Also in the Yoga Zone, you will find the Kula Lounge. The Kula Collective is a group of teachers, healers, visionaries, artists, witches and warlocks based in Guatemala. They provide cacao samples throughout the day (make sure to BYOC – Bring Your Own Cup), and have created the most epic chill zone you could ever hope for! It’s the perfect oasis for when things get a little too heady, or you just want to hang out, connect with others, and/or take a nap in the shade.

However, if things really get to be too much (consumption-wise), then head on over to the Zendo tent to be guided through the intensity by a kind, caring, loving soul that has potentially been there before. Zendo is a project that brings a safe, understanding space into festivals, for anyone and everyone to enjoy. If the ride is a little too wild, the high a little too high, the trip a little too intense, then either find your way or request to be taken, to the Zendo. It’s a judgement-free zone, created specifically to help you get through it.

Unless I somehow missed it last year, I believe this was the first year Envision hosted a Red Tent. Similar to the Zendo Project, the Red Tent is a safe space and place for women. Or as we like to say, Wombyn. The Red Tent hosted its own lineup of talks, discussions, workshops, yoni blessings, meditations, and anything and everything yoni/womban. The perfect escape from any and all testosterone, the Red Tent is designed to help women feel safe, expressive, encouraged, and taken care of.

Also new this year was the Super Hero Academy, AKA school of super duper life. All day brain juice was on the menu, with stimulating presentations running all day long, it was an inspiring and incredible place to drop in to expand your knowledge on a number of topics ranging from morning practices to Women in Media, presentations about using media as leverage, crypto currency discussions, Goddess Alchemy, fasting, holistic wellness, sensuality, building awareness, growth, business, plant medicine, psychedelics, metaphysics, Sacred Wealth, and so many titles that make you just wish we could go back to spend the entire four days there.
A personal highlight of the festival for my partner and I this year was The Village.

Imagine walking into a small village, and being overwhelmed by an inviting, open space, protected from the hot afternoon sun by scattered, towering banana trees. Amid them are insanely beautiful people sitting and lying about, engaging in conversation, healing, naps, elixirs, food, meditation, acro yoga, and relaxation. Hammocks are strewn throughout the trees, and encompassing it all is the vendor village. A half circle of amazing, international, artisan vendors, who’ve brought their craft to sell and share, and a half circle of amazing, international food and drink vendors, who’ve brought their delicious and nutritious gifts to energize, balance and sustain us through the four (five-ish) days and nights.

There is nothing like the vibe in The Village. It pulls you in, takes you over, and makes you want to hang and stay all dang day!
I have spent the last nearly 15 years going to music events, and do not think I’ve ever come across a space that goes so deep, expands your heart space so much, calms your nervous system so intently, or is as warm and welcome. There is a palpable love and genuine kindness that comes from everyone who has come and contributed to this little oasis in the middle of it all. The energy is unreal. No matter what you seek, you can find it here.

Late night munchies? Krishna Kitchen is open late night, and serves up the most delicious curries, pankoras, rice, tomato chutney, and smiles you’ve ever experienced. Over-heating? Vegan ice cream is there to answer your prayers, but be sure to get your fill early-on, as they were sold out by Saturday afternoon! Wondering what the smell is wafting through the air? It’s Sibu’s 12-hour smoked brisket available every night at 8! Juices, smoothies, bowls, burritos, tacos, shakshuka, musaka, lentil burgers, veggie burgers, beef burgers, chicken, pork, and vegan, non-GMO, all organic everything are there to satiate you! And do not, whatever you do, miss out on the witches at the Village Witches Elixir Bar!

Ones to turn you up, ones to bring you down, ones to balance, ones to hydrate, ones to make you shimmy and shake and make the Earth quake, and ones to take you deeeeeeeep into your being, all mixed up by the high vibe tribe behind the bar! If you’re craving the bar scene but alcohol isn’t your thing, then this is your spot! Your jam and your jelly, all rolled into one! And oh mama is it fun!

Envision is unique for many reasons. Apart from it’s incomparable concentration on and dedication to sustainability, a truly exquisite selection of food, drink, and artisan vendors, and being situated on land that provides us both the rainforest jungle and the ocean, it happens to take place in one of the most potent countries in the world. People in Costa Rica are some of the longest living in the world, and when they talk about Pura Vida, they aren’t just marketing something. It is actually how they live, breathe, think and are. It’s a way unlike any other.

“Pura Vida” translates directly to “Pure Life,” but really is like saying, “All good,” “No worries,” and “Hang loose,” and “Akunamatata.” Because this way of being is so deeply embedded in the local culture, it influences the festival as well. Amid the usual gang of bass heads and hippies, are pure surfers. Contributing their ultra cool and chill vibe, and reminding all of us not to worry about anything. This, in addition to the naturally environmentally conscious state of the country, set the tone for a transformational festival like Envision all too well.

Envision draws in a fairly diverse crowd, with its wide selection of music, but this year they diversified even further. Bringing in yoga teachers that have massive social media followings, as well as headliners such as Bob Moses and Xavier Rudd, it was clear the festival was pulling out all the stops to bring attendance back up. This year attendance jumped up by about 2,500 people to 7,494, not including the extensive staff, volunteer, build and production team members that can range from 1,000-1,500 heads and helping hands. Not only were their efforts visible in the lineup, but in the production level of the festival itself.

-More elaborated VIP areas were available in both the yoga zone and between the Lapa and Luna Stages, both will access to the VIP bar that boasted a beautiful chill out space, as well as “bar stools” looking onto the Luna and Sol Stages.
-There were more boutique areas to spend your time, be it hanging out, dancing, eating, or learning.
-Entering the festival was incredibly smooth, quick, and easy. Surprising, considering there were 2,500 more people, but because they switched back to wristbands without scanners, it kept things moving more quickly. Even getting to and from the beach was easier, in spite of the traffic jam that happened around certain muddy parts of the path.
-Camping was a little more organized, with fewer barrier fences trying to divide the jungle up.
-When a MASSIVE tropical storm hit on the very first night of the festival, leaving the Lapa Stage one big mess of Earth, mud, and water, as well as many of the other parts of the grounds slightly flooded, production acted quickly, and had wood chips poured out by the morning.

Certain nuances of organization could be improved upon, but when you consider that you’re in the middle of the jungle in an extra-chilled out country, throwing a massive and complex festival, I’d say everything went pretty well.

Which brings me to one of the main pillars of the festival, and likely the reason most people show up: the Music.
I can’t recall a festival whose production team does a better job of artistically crafting the stage line ups the way they do at Envision. Call me a biased fan, but you’ll have to come see and hear for yourself.

Take the Lapa Stage, for example. Known to be the funky, bass-y, get down-y, hip hoppy, jungle-y stage at the festival during the day, and the house party (sometimes with some psy trance) at night, this stage is always LIT AF. All day dancing, all day vibe, all day the party is on and popping, and it doesn’t stop till 4, 5 or 6 in the morning! But how do you transition from funky bass music into house sets, without losing the crowd? You bring on some DJs and producers that can transition everyone, without noticing, from day to night. And they sure get it right!

Next up is the Sol Stage. It’s considered by some to be the main stage, but we all know it better as the live music stage. This year the wooden carved stage was a snap dragon, and was home to Bob Moses, Xavier Rudd, Santos y Zurdo, Patterns, The Russ Liquid Test,
The stage most of us call the main stage, and the stage that no eye can stop staring at, is the Luna Stage. Carved entirely by women, and with more depth, layers and detail than you can imagine, the Luna Stage is a full-blown dragon. It’s complex, it’s beautiful, it is totally badass! And the 3D mapping that goes onto this masterpiece of a stage is incredible and mesmerizing. Another name this stage holds is the fire stage, because of the massive torches/flame throwers that surround it, which can be set off in time with the music. As the sun sets and the stage comes to life, we find ourselves in festival Disneyland.

Fire spinners have their circle on one side, allowing the flow family to light it up and play till their hearts are content. The Envision Gallery is in the back, housing some of the most incredible art from top artists in a variety of fields. It’s accompanied by live painters that surround the grounds, where talented spray painters and painters let loose on everything from enormous canvases, wooden pallets stacked to the height of a two story building, or small canvases nestled into the trees. And the background to it all? Nasty, filthy, wicked dubstep, bass, and sexyyyy bass. Dupstep was served up in some serious sessions on the Luna Stage this year, a welcome blessing to all bassheads. With the Lapa Stage having a stacked house/jungle tech house/tech house lineup that made most from the scene proud, Envision balanced it out by giving us those in favor of something a little heavier, four nights of epic head slams, and dreamy, delicious sunset sessions.

The festival itself builds, so it gives us a chance to rest a little and get ready for the wild ride to come. With music ending around 2:30am on Thursday night and 4:30am on Friday, production wants us to screw the FOMO, ride with the tribe, and be able to stick with it for the sunrise sets they organized on the last two nights. With Be.Svenden and Random Rab beckoning in the Sunday morning sun, and TOR wrapping up the entire event, we were all left lounging around in utter bliss.

One thing I love about Envision, is the emphasis they put on community and connection. The music shuts off at all stages on the last night by 4:30am, meaning that if you still want to move and groove, you’ve gotta head over to the Luna Stage. By doing so, everyone is brought together to close out the festival, and since they always pick a producer for the final set that is chill-bo-baggins and oozing love, we are collectively taken into a trance-like state. Bliss, not burnout, is the best way to describe the sensation and vibration during the final moments of the festival. And it’s a feeling we carry with us out of the grounds, and back into the grind. This is why we come, and this is why we are indeed being, making, and creating the change we want to see in the world.

There are so many other things I could tell you about this festival. I haven’t even touched on the healing center where you can receive an array of different body/energy healing (I did my first acupuncture there!), the children’s area, or even really reveal any of the artists that played (top new discoveries for me this round were Monolink and TOR). Nor did I touch on the performance art (look up Hellamana at once!), or dive into just how creatively created the spaces are. For a four day festival, its density knows no end, but I must at some point. So for more amazing information about the one and only Envision Festival, and to see the full schedule, head over to the Envision Facebook and Instagram pages, and www.envisionfestival.com! And stay tuned for Sunset Stories about Envision, coming here to FestivalPhoto.net soon!

Vive la experiencia!

#puravida #envisionfestival #envision2018 #vivelaexperiencia

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  Writer: Allison Fedor
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