Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels.
Chip Conley is the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, which he began at age 26 and built to more than 30 properties in California alone. In 2010, Joie de Vivre was awarded the #1 customer service award in the U.S. by Market Metrix (Upper Upscale hotel category).
Conley has also been named the “Most Innovative CEO” in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times, and I’m proud to call him a friend.
Last year, he decided that he wanted to become the world’s leading expert on festivals.
Why? Because he’d seen his personal and professional lives transformed by places like Bali and Burning Man. Since that decision, he’s traveled to more than two-dozen countries to experience more than three-dozen festivals and launched Fest300.
Why are festivals — one of the mankind’s oldest traditions — most important than ever in a digital world? What are Chip’s favorite festivals and how can they tranform your life?
This post — full of inspirational photographs — answers all of these questions.
Chip is also giving away two free tickets to this month’s sold-out Burning Man, which include drinks with Chip and quite possibly Larry Harvey, the founder of Burning Man. Deadline for submissions is this Friday! Details at the end of this post.
8 REASONS WHY FESTIVALS CAN TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE
1) The more virtual we get, the more ritual we need.
As we become more reliant on our iPhones, and more “connected” through Facebook, we can actually become more disconnected from each other. Real connection is what we crave. Festivals are as old as humanity, but in the digital era there’s a new peak in the magnetic attraction to extraordinary human gatherings. Whole festival genres such as transformational (Jeet Kei Leung TEDx Vancouver) and EDM (Chicago EDM Tribute) have doubled in size over the past decade. There’s an immediacy available when we put down our smart phones and dive into the present moment at a festival. Because what we need are IRL (In Real Life) experiences, while we drown in a sea of URLs.
Digital overload may be a first world problem, and not an immediate matter of life and death. But, on parts of Bali and at Burning Man, cell and wireless connections are rare or nonexistent. Life and death are immediate as they are ritualized in community and in fire – far from anything virtual. My festival transformation was forged in the fires of both.
Bali rekindled my childhood love of festivals, which is why I’ve returned over a dozen times. From birth to death, the Balinese culture is grounded in festivals. The Balinese honor the passing of life during the light of day with public cremations that celebrate the dearly departed while they often lie in full view…
then send them to the heavens in grand funeral pyres…
The community must be present to complete the journey, yet you need not live there to feel right at home. There’s a freedom in facing the inevitability of death together, which provides a sense of meaningful connectedness in this shared theater of life.
Burning Man founder Larry Harvey burned an effigy in his own image on a San Francisco beach to transform his broken heart.
25+ years later, Burning Man’s climactic night of burning “The Man” in the desolate wilderness of Black Rock City’s playa is now the penultimate inferno at this annual event that will host a record 68,000 people in 2013. The final burn is actually that of the Temple…
an enormous temporary structure that acts as a receptacle for words, pictures and totems, ritually deposited during the week with a combustible mixture of laughter and tears.
The Temple burns in an emotional bonfire on Burning Man’s final night…
Anyone who’s experienced this will tell you that, while there’s a lot of fun to be had at this world-renowned festival, there is – perhaps more importantly – a real opportunity to sink deep into connection with others…and with yourself.
2) Festivals redefine “vacation.”
Too many of us “vacate” ourselves during our precious time away from work, trading in the couch and a beer for a beach lounger and a colorful cocktail dressed with a tiny umbrella. We’ve been ritualized into taking vacations that lack discovery because we think the antidote to burnout is passing out by the pool. We need to retire the words “occupation” for our work and “vacation” for our play. Our breaks from daily routine should be transformational. When we’re in our 80s, the peak experiences we’ll remember will be the ones where we checked into new places with a fresh sprig of curiosity in our elixir of life. The truth is, most people in the world see their happiness and victories in the context of the group or village experience – what sociologist Emile Durkheim called “collective effervescence” 100 years ago. Make a pact with yourself to witness and experience some communal joy and attend at least one festival a year. You can take the pledge here. The good news is you don’t have to leap continents to do this. In many cities, there’s an art faire…
or Day of the Dead celebration very close to your own backyard.
The above shots were all taken near my backyard in San Francisco.
An authentic Mexican Dia de los Muertos experience in Oaxaca might be more of a bucket list kind of trip. Till then, seek out one near you this November. Art faires like the Bay Area’s Maker Faire bring together a mash up of DIY enthusiasts who can make just about anything out of a little bit of string, some tape and a vivid imagination. And, Rio’s definitely got some colorful competition at the Mission’s Carnival, which boasts incredible costumes, dancing, food, music and merriment every May. And you won’t find a single pool lounger anywhere in sight.
3) Cultural Curiosity = a more robust life + a more peaceful planet.
In the next 40 years, the world’s population will explode from 7 to 10 billion people. “I need some space” will take on new meaning as personal elbowroom becomes increasingly scarce. The security landscape has changed in the past decade, and the 24/7 barrage of negative media about “the other,” can induce fear at the thought of breaking out of what’s comfortable, or beyond what we know. Festivals are natural barrier disintegrators. At first glance, India’s sacred Kumbh Mela may seem to have little in common with the throngs who flock to Spain each year to run with the bulls. And, within just one country, Turkey’s Whirling Dervishes seem a world away from the modern day gladiators of its Oil Wrestling Championships. But cultural curiosity is a mindset that opens a window into “the other” and into our selves.
I joined the crowd at India’s Maha Kumbh Mela this year. A Kumbh Mela happens every three years, with four cities taking hosting turns. The Maha Kumbh Mela happens every 12 years and an estimated 100 million pilgrims came together in 2013. The international news focused on a train station stampede where 36 devotees lost their lives. Tragic, but not surprising given the numbers. What the reports missed is how this congregation of mass humanity can peacefully coexist for five weeks along the Ganges River. Proof that we humans don’t need as much personal space as perhaps we think.
On the streets of Pamplona, personal space is trumped by survival skills when thousands gather on two legs to escape a powerful few running on four (more on this in reason #4).
Whirling Dervishes have been twirling annually for nearly 750 years since the death of their beloved poet Rumi, and Kirkpinar’s wrestlers have been proudly competing for over six centuries. What I felt in my bones, because I was there in the flesh (I did get a chance to whirl, but only spectated the field games), was a real sense of commonality between these two disparate rituals and my own worldview. Whirling is sacred. There’s an intensity – both physical and psychological – that gets whipped up in the midst of the dance.
The oil wrestlers similarly push themselves to physical and psychological limits in a display of honor and reverence for their community today, and for the ancestors who came before them. Those of us observing are immediately connected by the transcendent energy of the dervishes in the arena and the intensity of the men on the field. In both instances, I became part of something far away from my “safe” little corner of the world. Clearly, I was the curious “other.” Yet, all barriers disappeared and we were merely humans…being.
4) Festivals allow you to push your limits.
For generations, status was defined by how you kept up with the Jones’s: the car in your driveway and the size of your swimming pool. With social media’s “status” updates, we’re seeing a big shift from being material-driven to being more experience-driven. Since we can now share our experiences in an instant, our triumphs are tied less to “tangibles” like a BMW, and more to the intangible IMF (in-the-moment feeling) that can be viewed vicariously by our friends. Some festivals are lively competitions that you can enthusiastically observe and enjoy from the stands (Naadam, Concurs de Castells, Il Palio). But, the greatest transformation factor is found in immersive experiences where you shift from passive spectator to active participant.
Taking part in competitions involves pushing through your own personal fear factor. I had the pure pleasure of spectating the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling Competition in Gloucester, UK, witnessing brave – or crazy depending on how you see it – men and women race down an impossible incline risking limb and levity. First-time American winner Kenny Rackers was on a mission to inspire one million people to pursue their dreams…
Observing was the right choice for me, as I’ve nursed a seriously broken ankle before. Still, connecting with the locals and cheering on the racers induced a joyful IMF.
But, in Pamplona, I threw caution to the wind at the Fiesta de San Fermin. Donning the traditional red scarf and an “I Love SF” tee that works for my hometown of San Francisco and for San Fermin, I did more running from the bulls than with them. It was an exhilarating IMF.
Another limit was pushed when I learned more about the fate of the bulls. I honestly hadn’t considered the bullfight at the end of the day. Participating in the run and observing the PETA protests and The Running of the Nudes provided another P.O.V. that transformed my thinking about this festival.
Seeing both sides, without judgment, is not an easy task in life. Being on the ground and experiencing another culture’s rituals forces us to do what cultural anthropologist Angeles Arrien reminds when discussing the Latin origin of the word “respect,” which is respetar: to look again.
5) Festivals allow you to connect with new kindred spirits or experience collective effervescence with close friends.
Sure, you can go online 24/7 and find people to chat with about common interests. But that doesn’t compare with the intensity of being with them in person, whether the focus is on yoginis at Wanderlust…
or bikers at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally…
Stepping outside your comfort zone means exactly that. Most of us are quite fond of our creature comforts and chosen tribe. Festivals can bring out the best and, sometimes, the worst in people. While we may yearn for new experiences and locales, our expectations can get in the way of enjoying what we may find there. Some festivals are inherently magical with serendipitous meetings of new friends and interesting locals at every turn. But, if you’re traveling alone, this may be asking too much of happenstance.
Traveling alone, I’ve made new friends of all ages, shapes and colors in languages shared and those helped along with interpreters, from the Kumbh Mela festival in India…
to the El Colacho baby-jumping festival in Spain.
If you prefer a traveling companion, kindred spirits can be just a click away. I often reach out to Facebook friends when headed to a festival. Last year, a friend doing business in Pakistan joined me spur of the moment in Turkey for the Mevlana Whirling Dervish festival. And a once virtual friend joined me last minute from the Philippines for a series of village festivals in Bali. Companion reality check: the wrong travel partner can be a real festival buzz kill. Be clear about why you’re going to a festival. If you’re looking for a life-altering transformative experience or just to find a casual hook-up, the best choice you might make is to travel with someone who has a comparable intent.
[TIM NOTE: See my related posts on free international housing in 20+ countries, as well as global volunteering as mini-retirements.]
#6 Festivals bring you face-to-face with the highest expression of the human spirit.
Later in his life, Abraham Maslow expanded on his iconic hierarchy of five human needs: 1. physical (food & shelter); 2. safety; 3. social (belonging); 4. esteem; 5. self-actualization. He added: 6. aesthetics and 7. transcendence. Art transcends cultural barriers. Feeling a part of something bigger than you is palpable at many festivals. Nowhere have I experienced this more deeply than in the midst of tens of thousands of people – from all over the world – writing their hopes and dreams on large paper lamps that become luminescent spiritual torches at Taiwan’s Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival.
The collective effervescence (there’s something about seeing it all together) of releasing these beacons into the sky is awe-inspiring, with a deep sense that our aspirations are all connected.
Seeing art in the every day gives you a new pair of eyes to see the world.
In his TED talk on the arts festival revolution, David Binder shares Australia’s Minto Live Festival and others with utter exuberance. These festivals show how the arts uniquely coalesce the local and the global. Art removes any sense of “the other” especially when the lines between performers and the audience are eliminated.
Two colorful festivals that express the enlightened, exuberant human spirit are at opposite ends of the temperature gauge. China’s Harbin Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival is an awe-inspiring display of artistic craft and superhuman endurance in -30 below freezing temps…
And India’s Holi (which has recently inspired similar festivals across the U.S.) transforms cultural barriers in the heat through a fantastic human rainbow of laughter and connection.
At both, the collective is necessary to inspire…and to be inspired.
7) Sometimes we need an event to facilitate transformation.
Transformation is a subjective term. One person’s metamorphosis might have a hedonistic flavor on an Ibiza dance floor, while another’s might emerge at a mountain monastery pilgrimage. I’ve experienced the gamut…profound moments that shifted big boulders in my life, as well as mind-blowing, in-the-moment connections that were just pure fun and frivolous.
I have also seen momentous shifts in the lives of others. One friend was at the top of his career and financially set, with a beautiful woman at his side. From the outside looking in, he had it all. You probably know someone like this. Or, perhaps it’s you. Are you miserable? My friend was. By the time he arrived at Burning Man, he’d gotten so used to seeing people as walking dollar signs that he’d lost his connection with humanity. What transpired over several days was nothing short of miraculous. By the time he left the playa, he was – and remains to this day – a changed man. What he needed was time, space and a completely new habitat – one based upon the gift economy and not the dog-eat-dog world – where he could let go and take a look at who he was at that particular time in his life…and who he wanted to be.
This could happen for couples who’ve lost their connection – traveling to the Buenos Aires Tango Festival to get their romantic mojo back. Or, someone dealing with a physical illness taking a trip to the World Bodypainting Festival in Austria to reclaim their body in Technicolor.
Or, maybe someone attends an LGBT Pride Festival after living a closeted life for too long.
Timing is everything. Find a festival that will allow you to welcome some transformation into your life. Marcus Aurelius wrote, “The universe is change, life is an opinion.” Maybe it’s time for a little change in your life?
8) The journey to a festival can provide surprising collateral benefits.
Many festivals are located in some of the world’s most fascinating towns or spectacular natural settings. When I traveled to Spain’s wacky baby-jumping festival this summer, I experienced a delightful bonus along the way. El Colacho is held in the small village of Castrillo de Murcia, where brightly hooded “devils” literally jump mattresses topped with infants to save their little souls.
This Catholic/pagan ritual has stood the test of time for four centuries, but as I trained my way from Madrid to northern Spain, I started having second thoughts about traveling so far for a small village festival that attracted lots of YouTube attention, yet scarcely more than a few dozen visitors. But, once I arrived in the charming, car-free, medieval town of Burgos – near the festival – I realized that El Colacho was the appetizer and Spain’s gastronomic capital, Burgos, was the main course…
The same happened while in Siena, Italy for Il Palio…
In Fes, Morocco for the Festival of World Sacred Music…
And at Kuala Lumpur’s Batu Caves for Thaipusam…
Now I’m imagining that I just might experience some collateral benefits in Tahiti for Heiva. Soon!
Beneath our varied exteriors lies a universal human landscape that connects us. Writer E.M. Forster’s humanistic epigraph to Howard’s End says it succinctly: “Only connect.”
Now it’s your turn…
How to Get Free Burning Man 2013 Tickets
Tim and I want to hear how festivals have transformed your life and/or why you are BURNING to go to a festival.
The most compelling story will garner two tickets to Burning Man (August 26 – September 2), and drinks with me (Chip) — and perhaps founder Larry Harvey — at First Camp on the Playa.
A) Entry = post 100 words or fewer in the comments below, telling us how festivals have rocked your world or why you have a burning desire to go to a festival.
B) Deadline = Friday, August 16, 2013 at 12 midnight PST
C) Winner = Announced Monday, August 19, 2013
D) Prize = 2 Burning Man Tickets sent overnight to your door + First Camp drinks
Look forward to hearing from you!
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311 Replies to “28 Festivals and 8 Reasons They Can Change Your Life (Plus: Free Burning Man Tickets!)”
I’ve been doing art for so long it doesn’t seem exciting to me any more. When I went to SXSW last year – it was like receiving a shot of pure inspiration again.
I am burning to go to a festival because I need some inspiration in my life. I’ve backpacked 4 different countries in my life and each time it lifted me out of my rut. Colombia was transforming because I met some of the most inspiring and interesting people. I have heard amazing things about burning man and would love to go. I’m at a career crossroad and need some introspection. I live in Vancouver, BC and would love the road trip!
I’ve never been to a festival, but I constantly see friends come back from festivals with a renewed sense of purpose.
In my own life, I’ve sought out transformational vacations, but there has always been something missing from just ‘vacating’ to another country, even if it’s an amazing trip by most standards.
Working in a big city can quickly cause you to lose focus on what’s important. Having the chance to experience Burning Man is exactly what I need to refocus on what’s really important in life, as I’ve seen so many of my friends do from similar experiences.
My desire to go to BM is simple. I have not had the experience you talk of. In fact, I have had the opposite. As someone that used to live for Grateful Dead gatherings and thought humanity was one of the coolest things ever. Even going into the field of psychology and healing. I have found the opposite and it saddens me. I would love to have the humanity connecting. “Eyes of a child” experience that you speak of.
The festivals that I have been to, which involve music, art, creativity, have meant more than anything connection. Connection to other humans sharing life on the planet at the same point in time! We rarely speak of this, because we probably don’t think about it in this way, but I believe that is what is happening – the core essence. Also festivals force us to put aside the mundane day to day and live in the moment with strangers and in those moments we feel all the best of humanity (and sometimes a little of the worse), which is life affirming.
When I was in high school, i travelled to France. The small town we were in happened to be having a Gay Pride Parade. It was the most fun participating i the parade, they were so welcoming to us annoying American teenagers! It gave me a taste of subcultures and found they were some of the best ways toget to know a place. On any trip now i like to seek out the subcultures and have found that one of the best ways to do so is attending festivals.
I love connecting with people and am fascinated by community, startups, fire, art, and kindness.
I’m really not sure how I have not found my way to Burning Man yet but my life seems ripe for the opportunity and I’m willing to invest in the shared experience and myself enough to partake and share what I have learned.
I’m a sceptic. I always have been. I am scared of letting go, and being someone whom I’ve never met before. But travel is in my blood, and moving to San Francisco from overseas (Australia by way of Canada), because I fell in love, has been the catalyst for my foray into self-expression and risk-taking. I don’t understand ‘burners and hippies’ but more than anything I think it’s because, deep-down, I know that I’m one of them. I want to close my eyes, look deep into my soul, feel self-acceptance and appreciation, and then open my eyes again to a whole new wonderous world. That, to me, is what I think Burning Man would be like.
In 2003 I was 25 years old, 355lbs, in a Metal band called “Bass Fist”. I was mad, sad, alone and confused about EVERYTHING. Then in the summer of 2003 I went to a Music Festival. The band playing was called “Phish”. The 2nd song they played changed my life forever. For the first time in my life, I was dancing! I went from feeling separate from everyone to “one” with everything. It was enlightenment. Everything started to make sense. All of my relationships dramatically improved. I lost 180lbs in 14 months. Festivals/Group events change lives, I am living proof!
The Get In Gear Now! Entrepreneur Experience is designed to, inspire, empower, and motivate millions of youth and young adults to follow their passions, dreams, and goals. I am writing to hopefully win the tickets for two of our staff (speakers/instructors). Festivals allow the opportunity to meet people of vast backgrounds and experiences, which allow for a BIGGER DREAM. Our mission is to spark an entrepreneurial revolution among young and ambitious urban youth to DREAM BIG, and have the passion to win. Festivals are a way to see a bigger picture and decide to “Live the Dream”.
The base desire of humanity is connection: to be loved, to be touched, to be held.
At 17, I had a heart-wrenching breakup that prompted me to quit 3rd year university, move to Bangkok, and become a trophy girlfriend for a wealthy man twice my age.
Long story short, I was headed on a sharp spiral downhill until 1) I had an encounter with prostitutes in Cebu 2) I found yoga.
This is where (yoga) festivals come in: The community of love channeled into me changed everything. I was loved until I could love myself.
I will spread this love.
My life was transformed while serving in the Army and on a trip to Egypt. The power of their rituals stirred something so primal and ethereal I knew I would never be the same. I’m transforming myself yet again and ready to expand my mind at the BURN!
At the beginning of January this year, I was in Goa, India, participating at one of the full-moon festival, maybe the biggest Full Moon Festival on the planet, because I love psychedelic trance music… who doesn’t!? I was there with who has become my girlfriend, and it was needed to reconcile with India, in which I was living… I have heard about Burning Man since loooong ago, I haven’t been there yet for the fact that I live in Europe, and doing a lot of things at the same time, and now it’s finally time to burn 😀
I started going to raves and festivals in 1995 when I was 15. Home life wasn’t that great, but my negative feelings disappeared once I got to the party.
Call it what you want, but the music takes over and gives all different types of people a common energy and vibration to relate to. I clearly remember my inhibitions, ego, and insecurities disappearing and just being happy to connect with others. It changed my life.
I’m 32 now, and overdue for a reminder. Burning man is the mecca I’ve wanted to attend. This year’s been tough, but WINNING WOULD CHANGE THAT!
As I get older, I love to use the energy from festivals is a source of uplift and rejuvenation. Get my ass off the couch to hang out at Bumbershoot, Fremont Fair, Hempfest, SAM Re-Mix provides me and my family with amazing opportunity to get exposed to new music, food, art and, best of all, rubbing shoulders with humanity. Especially awesome when my kids to go to festivals and I see their eyes light up when they hear fresh music, see crazy dressed dudes walking around on stilts as they get out of their cellophane Disney watching existence.
Coachella music festival 2011 and 2012: I’ve always gone to one genre music festivals and Coachella was a first for me where all sorts of music was presented. Funny as it sounds, it opened me up to the idea that we don’t have to divide ourselves by our musical preferences. The indie rock kids, the hip hop heads, the ravers, etc… we can all hang out together and learn that we aren’t all that different. Diversity is beautiful.
Now if we could broaden that type of thinking to the world and replace music genres with countries, race, sexual orientation…
I recently went to EDC Las Vegas and had my mind absolutely blown! The amount of people in one place enjoying the music together was incredible! I wish I would have taken more pictures and videos but I was too busy enjoying my time there! I hope to go again sometime.
I attended a decompression and it completely changed my life. I had never seen the values of Burning Man lived out in real time and knew them only abstractly. There is a spiritual openness and consciousness that comes along with the experience, I constantly work on how to spread that awareness and kindness in the world outside the festival scene. It has helped me overcome many personal problems and I feel that it allows me to give more back to society, also it’s also a spectacular party of course I am burning to go!
As a native Argentinean living in NYC, the Northeast feels a bit stiff sometimes. Festivals are a wonderful change of order to routine. The spectacle, interconnection, music, smiles, laughs, and holy hell are they hilarious, the sheer diversity of it all, are what I live for. And I have yet to do Burning Man, the grandest, the most mythical. Burning Man! I lost my job recently, and while I am hustling new things, I am free to go to Burning Man. If I win tickets, I’ll consider it a wonderful omen, and do my duties and spread the karma :).
I have a desire to go to Burning Man because I have been walking through life like a zombie, raised to focus on the material (career, money, power) and I want that to change. I want to embrace the unfamiliar instead of distrust it.
Recently, I found my cousin who was the black sheep of the family and I fell in love with his lifestyle. He traveled, went to Burning Man, had little material and only wanted what was needed. It was because of him that I want to see this lifestyle and wake up for the first time.
Festivals which revolve around intricacies that are commonplace in other cultures but are foreign to our own greatly expand our horizons and broaden our prospects. They introduce us to concepts and feelings that are so drastically different than anything else we are accustomed to. More importantly, festivals can allow you to truly detach. You can be or become whoever you would like to be and simply live, perhaps briefly though. One can exist and be shed of the burdensome masks we all put on at work, with friends or around family. Festivals allow us to embody our most authentic self.
Positive energy, large crowds, good people, that is what I love about festivals. After experiencing my first Lollapalooza in 2007 I have now been to 16 different festivals in 8 different states. Nothing will ever compare to sitting back and watching a crowd go insane for the music they love. I could not tell you how much I would love to attend burning man 2013 with my main squeeze! I really want to enjoy the art aspect of this festival, plus the energy I will acquire from the festival goers. Music for this one is just a plus!
I grew up in Reno with Burning Man in my backyard, but without any idea of what really happened out there in the desert. I moved away without experiencing the magic firsthand, moved to Austin, and made friends with a community that I came to realize were the burners. Never in my life have I met such brilliant minds and generous hearts that I identify so closely with. Various burner events have showed me a cross section of humanity united for a larger purpose, counter to the violence, greed and oppression that make daily news, and restored my faith that humanity really is moving forward. Please send me to Black Rock City!
My first burn was with this beautiful man, he warped my view of love and how I saw the world into something more giving and beautiful than I had ever imagined. Few years later we are pregnant and his father passes from aggressive cancer. We want to take his dad to the temple. It would be the best birthday gift I can think to give my husband. his birthday is Aug 26th. Help me give back to my giving husband and say Goodbye to his dad the only way a burner can. Its been too long. Thank you.
My sister & I did Sasquatch this year. Such an incredible experience! We met some amazing light-hearted, genuine people. The sense of community was something we had never felt, nor can truly describe. 25,000 people, everyone there, exploring new music, experiences, & then add the gorgeous sunshine & breathtaking views, it was an amazing love-fest, everyone dancing, singing, laughing, it was indescribable! We joke (but are actually serious!) that we are still experiencing the “Sasquatch hangover” & love browsing Instagram for the photos, to get that warm fuzzies it gave us. We want that feeling again!! We want Burning Man!!
Festivals have not transformed my life but the adventure of traveling to faraway countries and experience their culture have definitely rocked my core. After seeing these pictures I’m back on my backpack addiction again. One goal now: Out of the US in 1 year. Thanks for this mega inspiring post.
“Just a bunch of hippies with a pyrotechnic bent camping in a dust storm. It’ll never amount to a thing.” From the outside looking in, how could the average person imagine that Burning Man has such a profound effect on its participants?
I’ve heard from good friends about the difference BM made in their lives. But even more importantly, I’ve SEEN how it’s made them more open, loving, considerate, and respectful. I share these values and have a burning desire to go to a festival to meet others with these priorities and have these ideals strengthened and validated within me.
I attended Mardi Gras in 2005 on a whim. Went there as a 19 year old frat bro with the image of GGW in my head. Although it still turned out to be a booze fueled journey what I stumbled across was a rich culture steeped in tradition. The events that happened a year later made the cultural aspects even more resonant as I saw how quickly a way of life can be taken away but tradition is something no storm could erase.
Lets just say festivals are a way of life in New Orleans. I was born and raised in Oregon and moved here for work 6 years ago and I never plan on leaving. Mardi Gras, St. Patricks day Parade, French Quarter fest, Jazz Fest, Red Dress Run, and Voodoo fest are just the beginning of a long list of festivals that take place here. Each month there is a festival to get prepared for and each one is so much different from the one before. Festivals allow me to take a break from the constant grind of technology and work and lets me to connect with friends and total strangers from around the world in a city that was built 300 years ago.
The most amazing festival I’ve ever been to was the PEX Summer Festival. PEX is actually the Philadelphia chapter of Burning Man. No words (beyond the ones in the above article), can really express the kindness, atmosphere and experience of these Festivals. I’ve always wanted to experience that feeling again on a bigger scale, but have never been able to get my hands on tickets (sell out so fast)! I want to get back to that place!
The Estonian music festival saved our country from communist Russia in the 90s and I love my country, hence I love the festival.
I haven’t had a chance to visit too many other festivals but they’re definitely my type of thing, hoping to travel a lot more in the upcoming years and hit up a bunch of them, especially Oktoberfest! 😀
Festivals are more to me than art, music, and free love. The feeling I get during and after a festival is similar to the feeling I have after months of travel or meditation — a joyful understanding that I know little about the world.
Having attended a variety of festivals, I understand how important diet and nutrition are for the health and safety of every Burner. If I were to attend Burning Man, I would set up Nutrition Base Camp. The camp would be a relaxing water oasis, with healthy food and water for anyone in need.
I went to my first rave in 1995 but since having a family and responsibilities I haven’t gone in over 10 years.
I’ve heard great things about the burning man festival. Winning tickets would rock because I could take the wife and escape for a fun time!
Burning Man changed my life. The Temple shown was the catalyst. It was 2007, I was reeling from a messy divorce, my dad was just diagnosed with cancer, and my life was in shambles. I had been denying huge parts of myself for years, and was completely miserable. I wrote my fears all over those temple walls, and experienced nothing less than epiphany. I finally admitted the truth (that I was trans), and it made me the man I am today. I am now happily married, with a son, and my old miserable self is just a shadow.
I love you Angel!
While backpacking through India for six months, I met a tremendous number of new friends – both locals and other travelers. Both groups recommended festivals throughout the country, where I could once again see these travel friends, and meet new ones to connect with. At Kumbh Mela, I met documentarians from Italy who went through the Naga Baba transformation, and locals who brought me into their homes and lives. At Holi in Rishikesh, I spent days with local families throwing color and nights feasting and talking of our lives. I learned so much on this trip with festivals as the centerpiece.
Witnessing and participating in rituals and festivals in various parts of the world touched me deeply and transformed me by providing cultural, community, and spiritual context for the stages of life, our connection with the sacred as well as all of humanity. Lacking these in my life engendered alienation at the soul level that was healed as I felt my place in humanity, the intense connection to the divine that informs these formal rituals and festivals, and the capacity to celebrate life and it’s various transitions.
When I was 18, I did a homestay in Varanasi in northern India where I experienced Holi. The energy in the air across the city in the weeks leading up the festival was amazing. Since this experience, I’ve felt similar energy at music festivals and bike parties across the bay area, but I’ve never felt as strong an energy as I’ve felt in the SF area in the weeks leading up to Burning Man. I was always told I would go to this festival when I am ready. And, finally, this year, I am ready. Looking forward to the adventure.
This past year I had a medical crisis. I was no longer going to be able to drive a car. This meant no job and, for the most part, no leaving the house. I was also going to have to be put on medicine that would alter my personality and leave me with increased risk for depression, suicide, and reduced IQ.
Then I got better.
Now I am determined. To know who I am, to have a clear mission and to burn with the fire of un-conquerable spirit. I want to know that I am alive.
I noted these moments as we arrived: A long-falling star above the highway, a white owl swooping up toward and then away from us in a silent arc, a dragonfly darting through camp the first morning.
Why do you go out there? people often ask, and I always forget to say it is as much for the small things as the large, for what can only be glimpsed out of the corner of one’s eye, for what is so fleeting it breaks your heart, but that leaves me grateful, lucky, thrilled to have been there as momentary witness.
I was struggling with ontological and theological and philosophical massive life issues, and found the Grateful Dead shortly before Jerry Garcia died. It was as if the universe opened benevolent arms and told me people can be kind. They can be their best selves is given the appropriate venue. I have sought this type of community ever since, from Buddhist Festivals to Lebowskifest, and found the same zeitgeist runs across the continuum! It’s the common experience that reminds of us our shared humanity.
I’ve not been to a festival, but I have been to (sci-fi/fantasy/gaming) cons. The crowds tend to overlap a lot. It’s one of the few places I felt at home, normal, among people like me. I feel most comfortable when I’m celebrants, people who are being themselves. In my younger year, I strived for anonymity, an androgyny, an erasure of identity. Older, I am learning to embrace myself as a complete person, unashamed of my opinions, actions, or desires. It’s a process learning this. Being among people who are themselves free helps me let go and find myself. 100 words.
Sorry Tim, i’m mexican, and i just want to tell you it’s not Día de los Muertos, it’s just Día de Muertos (that’s the correct and usual name). Great post.
From Outside lands to Lighting in a bottle, the friendships that I have formed at the many festivals I have attended are some of the most meaningful friendships in my life.
My first Coachella was in 2001 with one other person, last year I celebrated my 10th Coachella and our group has grown to over 70 people! These people are so close to my heart now, our comfort level with each other is unmatched! From giant cuddle puddles to huge dance parties we are living life to its absolute fullest while opening our feelings and emotions up to the world!
I’m a young, introverted researcher from Poland, leading meaningful yet monotonous life. Neuroscience usually comes with the innumerable PubMed days and puffed up college atmosphere. Moreover, it’s been the most difficult year in all possible areas of my life.
I’ve attended only two big events so far and both brought the most stunning moments of my existence. I was jubilant like a 5-year old rascal. I recalled them daily. They certainly tasted like a dopamine tsunami inside the reward system.
Tim, Chip: let me find myself by losing in the radical inclusion and burning my burnout in pure awesomeness.
My life is at an awkward pivotal point. Every standard that’s been taught in my life to ensure happiness is now being held against my own. And the former is falling away. Quickly. And it’s scary not having a back-up plan or clear direction. I thought a degree and a full time job were the keys. But inside a ravenous desire to adventure is clawing its way to the surface.
I’ve been told festivals provide a journey with yourself and humanity. This is fantastic, knowing that LA is not the definition of humanity. I need to dig deeper in a larger scope to discover the gaps in myself I’ve been overlooking. Putting myself in a just as awkward of a situation as my own life may break the boundaries I’ve held over myself for so long.
I have a burning desire to go to a festival. My 8×8 patio feels more like a cell to be honest. I crave a connection to others outside my little world. Nonsense can seem so meaningful and important when you can’t see past your office, neighborhood, and friendships. Seeing a higher expression of human spirit can push my limits in my “everyday”. I seek more patience for my autistic son, more inspiration finding my “muse”, and less tolerance for mediocre relationships. I think connecting to others during a festival would help me transform my little view from local to global.
I think festivals are magical because they exist as both a destination and a journey. That epoch provides such an intense sense of community that those few hours/days more socially potent than years of casual acquaintances and random encounters. I’ve made (and kept) dear friends in a matter of minutes, not days or weeks. We are social creatures and our lives, even beyond iPhones and cubicles, is way more isolated than even 25 years ago. I spend more time looking at a lit box than I do at the face of the guy just beyond it. Burning Man, though…I’ve always dreamed experiencing the community there–the self-sufficiency, the freedom of expression, I can’t imagine it being anything less than transcendental.
Inspired and inspiring. I am a bm virgin and committing to going after reading this!
I was blessed to attend Pex Summer Festival this year. WOW. Over a month later my heart is still bursting with love and gratitude. So amazing to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who together became not only a community, but a family. Everyone was in tune to each other’s needs. Whether it was needing water on a hot day or a massage after a long night, someone was happy to provide. It only made me want to GIVE even more. I will forever take this with me and hope to experience it on a grander scale at Burning Man!
Psychedelics have changed my life. I’ve taken psilocybin mushrooms on the naked shores of San Francisco’s Baker Beach, and synthesized DMT in my small studio apartment, sharing the high with friends and family. Psychedelics offer a fascinating new perspective on what exactly reality is. Only trouble is, all the LSD Ive ever taken has been synthetic crap! Where is the good stuff? I assume Burning Man. And where better to have my first mind bending LSD trip then the country’s greatest art festival? I hope to travel to Burning Man to shoot through this dimension and walk through psychedelic Heaven.
Festivals…the fire starter’s of cultural curiosity that crown the fearless who step off the conveyor belt of life. Those who go know that the real “magic” happens beyond your cocoon: learning, growth, shifts in thinking, feeling and being.
In 2012, I took a break from the Silicon Valley tech world for the BPM Festival in Mexico. Fifteen festivals, and 5 countries later, I landed changed again in Mexico at “Awesomeness Fest”. What an epic journey of exploration, growth and transformation embracing media, music, yoga, spirituality & consciousness. Festivals: the highest vibrations of the human spirit made real. Rejuvenated. Reinvented. Alive.
Some people collect baseball cards or coins. I want to collect life changing experiences, ones that move me and help me progress to new levels. In the process, I wish to share them via the written word or through teaching (martial arts or lectures) in the hopes of inspiring others to explore, expand and reach new heights.
Wow after reading I feel incredible energy rush
Very eye opening..
Inspirited to venture out into a new world (i.e. out of the US), I made it down to Rio for carnival. Who ever decided we should dance in the streets for a week long is a genius! The experience was so uplifting and transforming. I did not know that I would come out of my shell dance and learn to enjoy the moment. Every country should have a holiday to celebrate people and dance in the streets every year!
With so much emphasis in the various media outlets (mainstream, social etc.) towards all of the terrible things going on in this world, it becomes easy to lose faith in humanity. This is exactly why festivals are so important for myself and everyone: It’s a place for us all to remember and experience that we are all connected and most people are good and full of love. Festivals have rocked my world time and time again whenever work or negativity force me into a hermit state. They crack open my heart and mind and reconnect me with humanity and love.
The most remarkable festival that I attended had many great artists, but more importantly it was the social paradigm that it represented. I was 11 years old on “Amnesty International Concert desde Chile un abrazo a la esperanza Oct12-13 1990”. This happened the year that Chile ended 17y of military dictatorship and began to have more freedom of expression.
I’ve lived in SF for 4y and have participated in many festivals and I would love to take with me memories of Burning Man before going on a new adventure. I would LOVE to live this experience (expensive to me now).
This time last summer, I was on a rampage through Eastern Europe, and when I came upon Istanbul, the sheer volume of people in the streets was a shock. On a deeper level, I could feel this heavy energy, which devoured me. Look to the Schumann frequency studies for clues to rehumanizing. It’s our natural frequency and guitarists/musicians can use this by tuning to 432 khz instead of 440. I want to do a BM tent with only 432 kHz music! I’ve never been, but have tons of burner friends who always bring back great stories.
The Taiwan Lantern Festival is one of the most beautiful spectacles I’ve ever seen (in photos). I’ve never been, but to go would be remarkable. The deepened meaning behind releasing the lanterns is both spiritually enticing and emotionally captivating. A majestic blend of historical reference, hope, wishes and lights.
How awesome it’d be to release a sky lantern inscribed with a wish and have it float into the night sky amongst thousands of others.
And, it looked cool in Tangled and Hangover 2. 🙂
My first trip to Burning Man five years ago started with a whole lot of enthusiasm, followed by a couple of very rough days of over stimulation and even injury, where I feel I basically got a couple of really big spankings from the Universe. After those initial bumpy days, I felt like I emerged from a cocoon and my eyes were opened to all the true beauty of humanity surrounding me. My fellow burners were the true work of art in the desert, as was I. An experience I had only after my third visit to the temple showed me that I am a thread in the fabric of this incredible Universe, and I will never be alone, because I am a part of all, always connected. The Universe and The Playa certainly do provide, I just need to ask, which is what I’m doing! Much love and thank you.
My girlfriend has been suffering from depression for a very long time, and I just want to make her happy. I think Burning Man would actually work.
Through the seemingly silly, sincerity emerges.
It’s no longer “I like your top” or “nice watch!”;
but rather, you have a bright spirit and a solid heart.
You look chilly? Let’s share my blanket at Sasquatch.
Humans are goofy, striving to be polite and demure,
in accordance with the cultural guidelines we create.
But, at the core, we are but kids,
desiring openness and honesty, and rambunctious playmates.
From Big Love to Sunburn,
Bumbly dance circles, solo sashaying, hokey-pokey hustlin’…ne’er a concern.
The spirit is one of Red Rover,
asking for everyone to be sent right over.
Demf 2008 changed my life. I saw girltalk live and made me realize I want to make music for the rest of my life.
I’m from Iceland and I’ve been dying to go to Burning Man ever since I’ve heard of it a few years ago. My friend went there and told me stories and showed me pictures and it was like I was hearing stories from another dimension. Mindblowing to say the least.
I’ve never really been to a big festival but Burning man is on the top of the list and whoever you choose please have fun for the rest of us that cant make it 🙂
I’m already going to Burning Man but would love to meet Chip (or you, Tim, if you’ll be there).
Along with rocking MY world, I think festivals can transform communities. Burning Man, for one, has birthed The Black Rock Arts Foundation, Burners without Borders, Black Rock Solar, and more. When I see how groups of people interact & innovate to build something out of nothing, it inspires me when I return to the “default world”.
You can find me at Bob’s Bar at 4:30 & Esplanade. I’ll let you play with my new flame thrower. Hope to see you!
I’m from Iceland and I’ve been dying to go to Burning Man ever since I’ve heard of it a few years ago. My friend went there and told me stories and showed me pictures and it was like I was hearing stories from another dimension. Mindblowing to say the least.
I’ve never really been to a big festival but Burning man is on the top of the list and whoever you choose please have fun for the rest of us that cant make it 🙂
My husband and I are fresh from a year long tour around the world with our 5 year old son in tow. After reading the 4-hour work week and studying with Jack Canfield we knew anything was possible. Burning man is next on the evolutionary journey. Namaste.
Through my travels as a Peace Corps volunteer I have attended many festivals; some religious, some artful, and some just for being silly. Each of these experiences connected me with a community of open hearts and open minds the second of entry. The ending of a festival does not mean the end of this connection; it’s the beginning of propagation as each one of us attendees returns to our default world. A festival of only 2,000 attendees can manifest into harmony all around the world. I need to be energized so I can continue to spread the love!
I just went to OneLoveFest in Ojai; my first festival experience. I loved that the overall energy was around freedom and celebration of life; as people tapped into that energy, the creative expressions varied, which invited a gentle stretch into new energetic space. That stretch is a heart opening that will stay with me forever, something to tap into that continues to inspire me now that I am back in “regular life”. Tapping into passion is powerful – I am gathering courage to create a Kickstarter campaign to fund my own three-day festivals ‘Presence to Possibility with Joy’.
Beautiful blog. As someone who shares a great passion for community, festivals are my sanctuary. Being an active participant of a shared experience with hundreds – or thousands+ – is one of the only spaces we can truly feel united as one. I now live to feel this & create experiences like these for others. It fills my soul & reminds me of the truth that “we are all connected.”
My spirit would be graciously inspired to be at Burning Man – one of the most connected modern tribes.
A Modern Explorer on a mission to create a more inspired & united world.
A festival is a true chance to realize your life is unbelievably insignificant and unbelievably meaningful at the same time (a realization that will set you free and maximize your potential all at once). Connecting with others is the most important of human experiences and meeting so many people in that kind of environment is one of the few shots at life-changing growth we get; breaking monotony is the best way to gain perspective. I’ve never been to burning man, but I’ve been to several festivals and they’re my absolutely favorite activity. I want to take my best friend Steve.
After recently coming out to my mother I realized I have been living my life for other people. I behave how my family expects me to behave, I am attending the school my mother wants me to attend. Because she is sick I am afraid whatever stress I may cause her will kill her. I need the space, safety, and freedom to figure out who I am away from my family’s watchful eye. Please give me the opportunity to express myself and figure out who I am.
Dear Tim & Chip,
first off: awesome article! Secondly: great prize!!
I bought Tim’s inspirational book (4HWW) a few yrs ago, yet I am still struggling to reach that level of work freedom. Furthermore this past yr has been very tough health wise and therefore financially.
I feel that going to a fest such a BM would greatly reawaken my zest for life, my creativity and my purpose. I have also a lot to offer to the community both personally and professionally as I am a very sunny, fun & empathic person as well as multi-talented on various creative fields (architecture, design, video & new media, environmental protection, etc).
I’d love to have this opportunity! Thanks!! 🙂
Because for 20 years
has been a faded beige and white
suburban version of
how it started. . . .
which was pearlescent
and plaid woven
with metallic thread
and double, even triple takes of
surprise, the unexpected . . .
and yet since the promise and the plans
it has been nothing but
with the only water
on my lips
at just the point
was near submerging . . .
and I need a kick-start in the belly of the fire of my beast.
I am from a country full of festivals. We Germans love good festivals and the last one I went to, was the Hurricane Festival in Scheeßel, Germany in 2009. It was the summer before I made the biggest step ever in my life. I moved from Germany to the US, just me and my dog… and now, 4 years later I’m still here, despite the doubts of the majority of the people I know. Festivals make you feel adventurous and strong. They provide you with the craziest experiences and memories you will never forget. Now, that I finally feel like I made the US my adopted home, I need a new adventure and wouldn’t the burning man just be perfect for that!? 🙂 I believe so!!
In 1995 I caught my first and only Grateful Dead show in Portland, Oregon. The energy and culture I experienced remain with me to this day. I had a psychedelic experience that profoundly transformed my worldview. Later that summer I was purse seining salmon in Kodiak, Alaska when I heard Jerry Garcia died. It felt like I caught the tail end of something magic. Decades later I find myself working in Afghanistan and in desperate need of rekindling the fire I once discovered. Bring it.
The English explorer Redmond O’Hanlon and I were discussing trips. He’s famous for getting deep into jungle, Borneo and Amazon. I told him I preferred deserts and he blenched.
‘No’, he said. ‘You can lose yourself in the jungle, there’s so much to see and feel, it’s around you, like in the womb. In the desert there’s nothing, nothing to distract you from yourself.
‘I’d kill myself on the second day.’
That’s all you’re doing here, trying to lose yourself in the human jungle. But it’s still you – there. Face yourself without distraction.
I have recently sat a Vipassana course, it has lead me to question my studies of computer science at uni.
Festivals have always been big parties for me, I want to experience burning so the universe will send me in the right direction.
I have recently sat a Vipassana course and it had lead me to question why I am studying computer science at uni. I want to go to Burning man to discover where the direction of my life should go and a community of like minds.
I have my morning maté
I strap on all my beads
some water and a glowstick
I now have all my needs.
My earth is here for healing
our anatomy’s the same
I’ll meet you in a patch of grass
don’t need to know my name.
Let’s gather round the rhythm
lets dance to nature’s song
I’ll really get to know that bass
I’ll study all night long.
Unity breeds love
and love inspires me
if i can get to Tim
he’ll get inside of me-
I mean inside my heart
I wanna see the burning…
the burning Ferriss fart.
Recently I have sat a life changing Vipassana course but it has lead me to question why I am studying computer science. I want to experience burning man to find my direction in life and connect with like minded souls.
I made a last second decision to go to burning man with a friend in 2008. I was scared to death. It ended up being, and continues to be, the greatest event Ive ever been to. And Ive been to a lot of events. We stayed from opening night to close and I have 1,000 stories to tell from that week. But what I most want to spread the word about five years later are two things I learned there and hope I never forget; 1. Live in the moment and 2. Give with no expectation for reciprocation.
When it comes to life lessons and great friendships, the opportunities that are present at festivals rival no other. The ability to connect to people in day to day life is constantly around us, although some may not see because of the walls we put up. Festivals transcend these walls and allow people to let their guard down and be human. The thing about festivals isn’t what you learn there, it’s what you bring back to your community. Burning man is an amazing opportunity to bring back so many different experiences and stories to teach and inspire.
To go to a festival is to truly understand ourselves. We set aside biases. We forget about the demands of daily life. We really LIVE for a little while.
Festivals are the embodiment of what each of us would be like if we were able to live freely every day. We crave freedom from worry, from stress & from bills. We yearn to shed our responsibilities for just a little while.
Festivals aren’t just a celebration of art, or ritual.
They are a celebration of life now, in the moment, as well as the life we wish we had.
In 2011, I experienced my 1st burning man. It was definitely a coming HOME. I love your use of “collective effervescence” – so much truth, love, & joy in those words. The theme that year was “rites of passage”. It was perfect & full of synergy. It truly was a rite of passage I needed to experience that helped to open up my spirit & clear my path towards something unexpected. I had been searching for my purpose, and at the end of the year I realized that the unexpected, most challenging & most rewarding experience I could ever have materialized – MOTHERHOOD. It’s been a wonderful & surprising path & I’ve finally found my greatest love – my baby. Would love to bring my hubby “home” to experience it all together. Can I bring baby in tow? Pure joy & love
I’m Burning to go to a festival because I believe a truly deep connection made between fellow humans can provide profound healing to the parties involved, both psychologically and physically. Experiencing that would be incredibly nurturing. I believe witnessing such flagrant kindness can change a person’s life trajectory. I would like to experience that – and also provide such an experience.
I had a REAL awakening as a result of self induced near death experience and subsequent 7 year vacation from society in a California prison. And now I relish EVERY FREE Breath I take. I now continually advise others to try it. I do feel the need to connect with like minded people as I suffer a little Post Traumatic Stress and I think this could help me greatly. I may even be able to help some others with my story. As a result of my extended incarceration, I can’t afford much, so this would be Wonderful!! Thank you for your consideration
I actually went to my first festival this year. A regional burning man sanctioned event in Utah called element 11. I have lived my life feeling the odd man out as far as my views on sex, relationships and spirituality go. Living in a religiously geared state such as Utah it was hard to find connection with like minded people. A group of friends invited me out and I found not only kindred souls and people I could relate with, I also found a new found understanding of human interactions and relationships. I didn’t leave it in the desert either, i have brought it back with me, and it has transformed the way I interact with others and ultimately express myself on a personal level.
– have you guys experienced this?
Goosebumps don’t lie. This footage get’s me all tingly. Tingly and hopeful. This sort of thing demands (not restores) my faith in humanity; in it’s creativity, it’s ability to embrace, accept, and unite, all while preserving and celebrating what is unique. So I’d like to share in this tinglyness, to throw my walking, breathing, bio-machine into the madness and share. While I give my utmost to do this everyday, a gathering like Burning Man presents a wholly unique set of circumstances to do so. Pick me, and I’ll pick everybody.
The sunrise marks a new beginning, the art of transformation is one the Earth understands well, as it is ever evolving.
Adventure burns as the sun does, and thus seeks to inspire. Light illuminates darkness, and wind blows away our old ideals, replacing it with new ones, as leaves upon the trees. It is a new spring for humanity, and for this Earth.
I burn to burn, because there it is an un-quenchable desire; to evolve, to advance, to fly, to breathe, to believe, to create, to change the world for the better.
In 2002 i lost my brother with whom i had first discovered festivals and travel for the sake of the soul. The loss was the result of an auto accident, and i was to blame. In the intervening decade i have attempted to restore a semblance of normalcy and happiness, with varying degrees of success and failure. My partner in life has helped me with this process, and once again we are traveling to festivals and finding the joy in life. Being immersed in burning man would help her and i on my journey towards forgiveness and light. thank you.
Like travel, festivals allow you to be exactly who you want to be. However, unlike travel, you get to share all this with all your closest loved ones. It’s a reunion for your chosen family. A weeklong festival makes me strive to be a better person year round. They also give me an excuse to blow all of my time and money on art, which would otherwise be hard to justify! When I didn’t get BM tickets last year, it was like getting dumped by my GF of 7 years. Really excited for a makeup party this year.
Festivals, the group experience, what makes us feel a part of the whole…. they are just what the doctor ordered for a world where the technology that claims to connect us drives us apart. It is through these effervescent experiences that we find the infinite magic of one another…. sounds cheesy till you try it yourself.
On a summer study abroad trip in Valencia, Spain, I practically stumbled upon The Bonfires of Saint John festival. Packed with thousands of bonfires and over a million people, I (at the time a cadet at The Citadel, a place steeped in militant culture and close-mindedness towards all things “Hippie”) felt that I discovered more about myself and the mind-of-man there over any other place. I think I was deeply changed due to those million people’s collective agreement that giving/ compassion is what how some form of transcendence occurs. For me, Festivals like this one have changed my worldview immensely.
Having attended festivals for over a decade, I couldn’t live without them. They enrich us with basic human connection, everyone in a crowd is relating on a higher level than they could verbally to one another. It’s definitely sublime to be completely in tune with your surroundings feeling free to dance. One festival that I have promised myself to go to in the next five years is Holi, in India. Being fascinated with Indian culture as well as Hinduism, and Holi would be the epitome of that experience. I know it would be the most unforgettable times of my life.
I got the who idea of what you are talking about last year at my 1st festival at burning man. I was blessed to work with David Best on the Temple of Juno. David and the entire crew took me under their wing after hearing about my 17 year old daughter who died a couple of years before. Working on the Temple, than being in another world, and seeing others living their lives. The whole experience opened me up to the possibilities of my life. Since last year I have done just that, opened myself up to the possibilities around me. And it’s been a wonderful experience. I was able to “make peace” with her death. And acknowledge that it will always be a part of me but doesn’t have to define me completely. I know that is a crazy thing to say about a festival. I think it was such prefect timing for me. PS I’m signed up for a festival a year because I believe as you do in the connection of humans face to face. Love it!
My first official festival was this summer. The first AMFM (art music film and more) Festival in Cathedral City (near Palm Springs). It was inspired by Film For Change and that it did. A group of artists, musicians and Film Makers determined to change the world one person at a time. These independent spirits found they were not alone, that their voices could be heard and their labors of love would make a difference. I gained friendships and new perspectives. Human interaction is important. Who you spend your time with and what you spend it doing is important. Time is the only real commodity so you best spend it wisely. My brother met with his fiance 2 years ago at BM and they are getting married in joshua tree this november. Magic happens because festivals are bigger than the sum of their parts.
I am a Texan girl who just recently moved to San Diego. I have been to Coachella back in 2010 and lived in Austin for years so I of course attended SXSW. I have a burning desire to be part of the magic at the Burning Man. I am a very open minded person and I am on a journey seeking spiritual enlightenment and am also seeking the knowledge to learn how to harness my energy for good causes and helping other people understand the power of now…. Positive thoughts bring positive results.
I first attended Burning Man in 2006 and fell in love with the boy next door. Now we are married. I attend annually. As a sign language interpreter I noticed there were no services for Deaf Burners to fully connect with fellow Burners, so we created Playa Terps to provide interpreters. The two tickets will go to Deaf Burners who want to go this year. It’s not just about how Burning Man has changed my world, but how it is changing their’s too.
Myself and 4 of my friends left Dublin to go to a weekend music festival in Kildare (Ireland), we didn’t end up leaving till 9pm on the Fri night. By the time we arrived, we were tired, half cut and it was midnight. Rather than find a nice place to make camp, we threw our stuff under a pile of what looked like hay stacks and went to party. We were woken the next day by show jumping horses -we camped on a racecourse! We transformed from being hungover to being sober pretty damn quick-I’d burn to repeat the experience!