There is something truly magical about transformational festivals. These events aren't just music festivals. They are a celebration of life. They are designed to foster awareness in fundamental areas such as community-building, social responsibility, personal growth, healthy living, and creative expression.
At these events, it is common to meet new friends who tell you how festivals have changed their life.
From unearthing new passions, finding hidden talents, unveiling true life purpose, these experiences can remarkably transform you. They can also enhance self-esteem, build confidence and reveal authentic self-expression.
Attending festivals has been integral to me finding my identity and my voice. During my first festivals (Dragon Dreaming and Rainbow Serpent in Australia), I remember being completely astonished by the atmosphere, so joyful and peaceful, of all the participants. People were happy, carrying with them such a radiant energy, in total harmony with each other.
I envisioned photographing festivals the first time in Costa Rica in 2014. One year later, I applied to participate to Lucidity festival in California, and to my great surprise, I was accepted. In fact I didn't have any event photography experience. I was both anxious and excited to go there by myself. I knew deep down it was the right thing to do, a wonderful opportunity.
A year later, I took a big leap of faith and applied to volunteer at Lucidity Festival. My application was accepted to be part of the media team for the art and installation department. I flew to Santa Barbara, both excited and anxious of what was coming next.
Stepping outside of my comfort zone, meeting and photographing "strangers" was somewhat challenging. My lack of confidence and feelings of insecurity was blatant. Yet, the more I was stepping into that zone of fear and uncertainty, the easier it became.
It was the first time I photographed an event. After the festival, I shared my photos online and received a lot of positive feedbacks. I could have not been more touched by all the comments. It truly empowered me.
A month later, my photos were chosen to illustrate an article in Fest300 regarding the healing potential of transformational festivals, written by the amazing and renowned psychologist Dr Kelly Neff.
Seeing all the positive impacts of my photographs encouraged me to pursue future endeavours with my passion. I started to believe in myself and participated to other transformational festivals that summer.
See some of my Festival Photography here.
In her article, Dr Kelly Neff remarkably highlighted the healing power of festivals, including:
1) Freedom and self-expression
Transformational festivals offer a sense of freedom, creativity, and experimentation that many of us crave but few of us discover until we're at events like these. There is a childlike joy in wandering through interactive art installations and psychedelic, light-up wonderlands that we only dream of, while dancing all day and night and connecting to our tribal roots.
While you are at these events, your usual routine and stressors are replaced by completely new "schedules," where you can pursue what makes you smile all day long, alongside a bunch of other like-minded people. You get to turn off your phone, disconnect from external demands, and tune in to a world of endless possibilities, smiles, and colors. For me, this type of unbridled joy and release is one of the most important pathways to healing.
2) Personal growth
The opportunity to pursue joy and freedom brings about rapid personal growth and transformation. The educational opportunities at these events are profound and far-reaching, and through this access to knowledge and information we can make personal changes in days, instead of what might have taken us months back in the "default" reality.
Dreams and goals can manifest much more rapidly in the festival environment than in "normal life." We are all intimately connected to each other, and when we are rapidly growing and evolving with a group of like-minded people, the pathway to our dreams suddenly shortens, leading to a sometimes nearly "instant" process of manifestation. Perhaps it is challenging or ambiguous to explain the mechanics or metaphysics of this process, but I just know that I have experienced it, as well as many people I've interviewed at these events.
3) Removing the illusion of separation
I certainly believe that, on spiritual and energetic levels, we are all connected and made of the same material. Quantum physics, the Unified and many other disciplines certainly seem to support this notion, but often in our daily lives, we do not always feel these deep connections unfolding.
But at transformational festivals, the feeling of connection is palpable. When we are at these events, we become more connected with ourselves, with each other, with our communities, and with the planet. Being able to see and feel such synergy can remind us of the incredibly healing and universal truth that separation is an illusion.
4) Opportunities for Global synchronization
We have been coming together outdoors as tribes since the dawn of civilization. The evolution of the transformational festival movement gives us opportunities to bond with more people than ever before. By fusing ancient rituals and modern technologies we have the ability to connect people across time and space, giving us greater options for celebration and growth.
These experiences can also enhance self-esteem, build confidence and reveal authentic self-expression. To help fix the many problems facing our world, we desperately need more people who have had such expansive experiences, who know themselves and why they are here, and who can create enlightened solutions.
What is more healing than people all across the earth getting together to celebrate life, sustainability, community, music, art and self-expression?
Read another article I wrote and photographed published in the magazine Reality Sandwich here.