Lucidity Festival 2016: Crossroads

Coverage: Roger Coppola

Photography: Triston Lane Photography                   and Roger Coppola


This year marked the fifth chapter of the Lucidity storyline; a tale of a creative community coming together to collaborate, inspire, and share their beautifully weird gifts, ideas and talents. Tucked away between the San Raphael and Santa Ynez Mountains, Live Oak campgrounds have been the beloved home of the festival since its inception in 2012. The festival took on a different vibe this past spring as the parched coastal sky inhaled much needed oceanic moisture, showering chilled-droplets across the land. The rains calmed the dust and excited the hills into a frenzy of young, green grasses and wildflower blossoms. Gentle showers splashed fur-flaunting shoulders, but never lasted longer than the resulting conversations between strangers taking cover. Luckily, the weekend’s weather scare was the only expectation that fell short for Lucidity.

An eclectic curation of “villages” allowed the festival to hold themed spaces for different festival energies. Participants could be nurtured by the Healers, embraced in the Lover’s Nest, play and prank the Trixsters, stomp to the music with the Nomads, enamor the Goddess Grove, and learn to Dream Lucidly. Each village had its own community that takes on its build individually, and each has a role to play in the larger Lucidity vision.

This festival has organically expanded from a renegade gathering into a large-scale production, however their awareness of the importance of intimate experience shines through. The attention to detail and the unique setup felt as though the spirit of Burning Man had been captured and released to run wild in this forest hideout. Tapestry-covered geodesic domes, lantern-illuminated yurts, and trinket-adorned trailers circled around common areas and welcomed participants to immerse into the tribe.

Renowned teachers graced listeners with insights and words of wisdom. Astarius Miraculii shared his Didgeridoo Sound Healing while leading a talk on Sacred Sexuality, climaxing in an explanation of the Cosmic Orgasm. Yogis found shade and serenity in the DiviniTree healing space. Patterned fabrics stretched between bamboo structures to provide an escape from the elements, and held an environment encouraging exploration, growth, and transformation through the blending of modalities including yoga and sound baths. Local yoga teachers Nuria Reed and Chyla Walsh incorporated live musicians into their flows while yogis closed their eyes and dove deeper into their practice through breath and sound. Music was not the sole focus of the festival by any means; however, it was a common thread throughout as each village banged, clapped, drummed, fiddled, hummed, jammed, looped, mimed, mixed, played, rapped, strummed, and whistled to their own beat.

Trixters’ Stage sat adjacent to a vintage school bus with a rooftop platform, giving listeners multiple perspectives to observe the crowds below. The Isla Vista-born, Lucidity-veteran Rainbow Girls were joined by previous band member, Cheyenne, to play as the original funk, blues quintet. TV Broken 3rd Eye Open once again brought the funk with their improvisational blend of psychedelic jazz and tribal sounds from around the world. Sunday featured local up-and-coming house duo Boof (DJ Slothy and Decoy) accompanied by the cajon of Gibbles. The welcoming afternoon tech-house set was greeted by a boisterous parade of eclectic instruments, costume-adorned children, and large cartoonish characters that meandered in celebration. 

The main CrossRoads Stage was a new endeavor combining the Alive and Lucid Stages of years past. The stage provided a larger area for live performers to accompany the headlining acts. The sensual saxophone of Saqi had the crowd Drippin’ wet even after the rain had taken a break, while the conscious lyrics of reggae mastermind Mike Love had the crowd blissed out as if on a Permanent Holiday. Lucidity’s production team kept it professional and punctual with quick changeovers and intentionally placed lights and décor that were the perfect accents to the bigger names. The oak grove gyrated as Haywyre illuminated the night with futuristic synths and improvisational progressive tracks. Keller Williams ripped his guitar and the jam band followed as his warm voice spun the crowd into a jig.

The sultry Lover’s Nest provided a down-tempo lounge for listeners to find a comfortable seat, while headlining artists put on sideshows away from the main stage. Terrakoma shared a psychedelic arrangement of progressive-electronic sounds and deep bass. Other highlights included the worldly sounds of Shaman’s Dream and a performance by Kayla Scintilla with Eve Olution.

Nomad’s Stage found its home along a small hillside nestled against the backend of the festival. Overhanging oak trees spotted the surrounding dance floor and provided perfect acoustics for the blasting FunktionOne Sounds. The nook held high energy and high vibrations throughout the festival. Legendary founder of Mushroom-Jazz, Mark Farina, went to work with 2-two hour sets on Friday. The San Francisco-based DJ knows no bounds infusing classic rock, house, jazz, funk, soul and everything in-between. The crowd lost themselves in dance with a multi-song mash-up overlaying Steely Dan, Michael Jackson, and a multi-bass-line rhythm - he brought THE FUNK. UK glitch-bass aficionado EPROM turned up the volume and was not shy to drop, slice, and throw-down as he closed out Nomad’s on Sunday night, leaving the crowd wanting more.

Lucidity kept the beloved Pumpkin’s set time open for a memorial tribute to the recently lost DJ. It was a bittersweet mix of his original tracks, his favorite mixes, and live performances by many including his collaborator and dear friend EVeryman. The festival felt as if it caught its breath during the tribute – the crowd swelled as fans flocked to appreciate, to dance, and to remember. A memorial shrine sat aside the stage, where art, mementos, and photos told a story of the 33-year old who was lost much too soon. The emotional sunset tribute inspired tears of sadness and tears of joy, and brought attention to the sometimes-harsh realities of life in a setting that often invokes a feeling of immortality. Despite the passing of his physical body, Pumpkin was tangibly present that afternoon. The best way to remember is in celebration, so put on a Pumpkin mix, close your eyes, and drift away to the feel good music that will live on forever.

We love you Nick, always will.