Let's be honest, most of us go to a festival to see one thing, and that's the music. However, there are some festivals that are so finely curated that there's a lot more to offer than just the music. One of these festivals is Symbiosis Gathering in Oakdale, California. Symbiosis is normally a biannual gathering, happening only every two years. However this year, the event organizers have decided to lay upon us a special treat and hold the event for a second consecutive year after 2015. This year's "Family Tree" themed transformational festival has brought together a conglomeration of finely-tuned musicians, world-renowned teachers and healers, as well as the most exquisite performances.
Let's take a closer look at the Symbiosis 2016 lineup releases.
This year's performer lineup features many names that are coveted in the festival scene. In case you're not familiar, here's the breakdown. They've got top circus and dance acts like Vau de Vire Society, Wanderlust Circus, and House of Tarot (led by Zoe Jakes of Beats Antique). Many of these circus troupes are coming straight from Burning Man, and they all offer goofy renditions in costumes, acrobatics, improvisation, and of course lots of laughter. There will be lots of silly beatboxing from The Fungineers, on top of rap battles, poetry slams, and open mics. Don't forget about fire rituals from Vatra Amadzich's Pyronauts. There's all of that and so much more to keep you entertained, laughing, and in awe the entire duration of Symbiosis.
Symbiosis isn't like any other festival where you go to just to party. It's literally a place to live and learn. Not only are there multiple week-long residency programs leading to the festival, but there are a diverse range of workshops, teachers, and healers who will be offering their knowledge and wisdom during the actual event. Names that stick out on this lineup are bad-ass, eco-feminist and activist Vandana Shiva. Vandana brings light and truth to issues like industrial agriculture, GMO's, global economic power structure, and the future of food. Erik Davis will bring modern nueroscience to the table and teach about shamanism, imagination, and consciousness. There will be lots more for those looking to learn about permaculture, social change, sacred ceremony, art, yoga, and consciousness.
Are you serious? You cannot be serious. This stacked lineup of visionary artists is one to die for. If you haven't seen the art of Android Jones and his amazing 3-dimensional animated projection dome, you are missing out. Or maybe you need to see the glitched-out portraits of Dan Hampe. Or you can always feast your eyes upon the amazingly colorful animal paintings by Farid Rueda. There will be lots of vibrant art to keep your eyes busy and your soul happy.
4) Yoga Lineup
Looking to deepen your Yoga practice or try something new? Symbiosis has got you covered. Practice sacred chanting, voice empowerment, chakra activation, and creative writing with Tracee Stanlee. You could learn how to fly high in the air by doing Acro Yoga with Whakapaingia Luke. Whatever type of Yoga lineage you seek, you can probably find it at Symbiosis. Some good stretching right before bass in your face is always the best idea.
The one you've all probably been waiting for. Okay, here it is. Symbiosis breaks down their musical selections into 6 categories: Bass, Deep House / Minimal / Techno, Global Bass / World, Gypsy / Live, Indie / Pop Fusion, and ProgTrance.
In the world of Bass they've got so many artists from Gramatik to Gladkill. For deep house, minimal and techno enthusiasts there's Shiba San, Lee Foss and so many more. In the realm of "sacred" bass and world music, you can jam out to Balkan Beat Box, and then get a nice DJ set from Birds of Paradise. From their Gypsy and Live selection, Beats Antique is a must-see and Sidecar Tommy is worth checking out as well. If you're an indie-pop loving hipster like I am, you wouldn't want to miss seeing Santigold and FKA Twigs. And last but not least, for the Psytrance community, Symbiosis is bringing in Ace Ventura, Astrix, and many more.
Considered by many as the Burning Man after event, Symbiosis is really just so much more. Sure, some of the same art installations, performers, and educators from Burning Man will be appearing there, but Symbiosis has really cultivated itself into a unique transformational event. With interactive environments, art boats, and architectural stage setups, Symbiosis is an event that any festival attendee must see before they die.
All images and video property of Symbiosis Gathering and their respective photographers.
Written by Colin Eldridge