PREAMBLE TO CRITERIA FOR INCLUSION ON 2012-2013 TRANSFORMATIONAL FESTIVALS MAP
Or, Why isn’t my effin’ festival on your map, jerkface???
In considering a map of Transformational Festivals, the fundamental question arises of “What is it exactly that makes a festival transformational?”
Given the elusive nature of having a “transformational experience”, it’s quite probable that we may never be able to define a set of characteristics that could “guarantee” a festival to be “transformational”. Understanding that, there’s no doubt that many participants are having life-altering experiences at festivals and an increasingly coherent culture is emerging that fosters and supports these experiences. In the list below are what I’ve observed to be consistent elements recurring in that elusive alchemy of the “Transformational Festival”.
I’ve used the presence of these elements as informal criteria for determining which festivals to include on the map. As independent efforts, it should be noted that each festival represents its own formulation of these elements with varying focus and strengths.
For the purposes of supporting a discourse where we continue to consciously co-evolve this shared culture, I propose that these elements together form the alchemical ingredients of the “model” created at Transformational Festivals. It’s reasonable to expect that this model will continue evolving, just as the culture itself is an ever-refining work-in-progress, one that is simultaneously unfolding with the shared paths and revelations of each of our personal journeys, connecting us all as we participate in this grand co-creation together.
More than a particular list to dutifully check off, what feels more central to creating the transformational container is the resonance of all these elements combining into the lived experience of an immersive reality that is “The Future Now”. It is a lived reality that so shifts our expectations of normative possibility that it catalyzes a sense of revelation, inspiration and activation that becomes fundamentally life-altering.
Further comments and considerations for this map continue below the list of criteria.
CRITERIA PRESENT IN FESTIVAL FOR INCLUSION ON MAP
Transformational Festivals (tend to) combine the following elements in the container created for participants:
Co-Creation of an Immersive, Participant-Driven Reality
Ecstatic Core Ritual provided through Electronic Dance Music
Visionary Art & Performance (also Art Installations, Live Art)
Workshop Curriculum covering spectrum of New Paradigm subjects
Creation & Honoring of Sacred Space, Ceremony & Ritual
Social Economy of Artisans & Vendors (or, Alternative Gift Economy)
Takes place in a Natural, Outdoor setting (Honoring of the Earth)
Occurs over multiple (typically 3-7) days
In addition to these elements, Transformational Festivals tend to exhibit these additional characteristics:
Conscious Intention to Support Personal and Social Transformation
Implements Practices for Sustainability and Minimal Environmental Footprint
Maintains Safe, Respectful Container to permit Maximum Compatible Diversity
Supports Participants in Healing Processes (eg. sanctuary, peer support, psy-crisis, healing spaces)
Organizational Infrastucture & Collaborative Synergy of Production Team sufficient to successfully implement Intentions in Operation
* Look for my forthcoming article, “13 Elements of the Transformational Festival” for detailed thoughts on these elements of this alchemical Transformational model.
Comments and Considerations regarding 2012-2013 Transformational Festivals Map
Currency of Information:
As most of the research for this map was conducted during 2012, information for festival locations and dates in 2013 may be different. Please refer to individual festival websites for their most-up-to-date information. Some first-time festivals in 2013 have been included, based on our knowledge of them. Some regular annual festivals which did not have a 2012 event have also been included.
Participant feedback is invaluable to the maintenance of this map. You are welcome to make a proposal of why a particular festival should be included. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please consider the Criteria for Inclusion prior to doing so. We do remove festivals in cases where there has been sufficient participant feedback to suggest that the festival has had a critical failure in carrying out implementation of its vision (aka “shitshow”). We are not including events on the map which feel like “simply parties”. We will post an update of this map in April 2013.
Electronic Dance Music Focus:
There are many cultural variations of what could be deemed ‘Transformational Festivals’. In the case of The Bloom and our use of the term ‘Transformational Festival’ here, we are typically examining festivals which hold as a core ritual the ecstatic experience provided by Electronic Dance Music. Determining EDM to be an essential criteria of a transformational festival is admittedly arguable and largely reflective of our own cultural stream of experience. That said, the return of the ecstatic ritual is an essential cultural contribution of EDM, and our specific variant of Transformational Festival has certainly become a distinct phenomena, one that has earned its validity for deeper consideration. Many interesting hybrid festivals are also arising which combine EDM with another primary theme, such as jam band culture, yoga, kirtan, movement arts, visual arts, fire, etc.
In Season 2 of The Bloom, we will be investigating some of the non-EDM-based lineages of the contemporary transformational festival, as well as anthropological and historical considerations, as we continue deepening our understanding of what makes a transformational festival.
Exceptions To This Rule:
Several exceptions to the EDM rule have been made on this map, including Oregon Country Fair, Faerieworlds, and a couple others. Where there has felt like sufficient energy for inclusion, we have bent this rule. Several day-time public free events have also been included on our map because they bridge the transformational festival culture with the greater community.
Consider Supporting The Bloom:
It is with great pleasure that we share this gift with participants of the culture. We love spreading the love that is blooming in reuniting this global family, and hope this map can help bring us all a few degrees closer. We trust that great experiences will be had and connections made at amazing festivals discovered using this map. Please consider supporting us in our work of producing this Story of Our Bloom.
Thank You and Enjoy!