DJ Dragonfly

Enchanted Forest Gathering 2017

How would you dance if you were a jellyfish?

Written by John Karlo Torres
Photos by Edward Clynes

"Jellyfish or jellies are softbodied, free-swimming aquatic animals with a gelatinous umbrella-shaped bell and trailing tentacles... Jellyfish are found in every ocean, from the surface to the deep sea... Jellyfish have been proven to be the most energy efficient swimmers of all animals." - Thank you Wikipedia, i'll get back to this. 

This year at Enchanted Forest I wanted to do things a bit differently. I have been going to festivals for almost a decade and it wasn't until recently that I started to notice the amount of time, love, and effort that goes into creating a great gathering full of intention, music, art, movement, and conscious living. As a glitter-seasoned participant of this community, I wanted to meet and highlight the magical ingredients that make Enchanted Forest Gathering, well, enchanted. 

Before I introduce you to some of my favorite wondrous Jellies, I want to point out that this year was amazing! There is nothing quite like getting to dance my ass off to Tipper, The Polish Ambassador, Tokimonsta, Psy Fi, Opiuo, Soohan, Space Jesus, and DJ Dragonfly all in the same weekend. All the environments were top notch, plush spaces to recharge, let loose, bask, fuel up, and indulge in the many splendors only a festival environment can bring you. This oak forest was truly magical bringing forth every night with a sacred fire that lasted 'til dawn and welcoming mornings with great musical sunrise sets by Kalya Scintilla and Whitebear. One of my highlights this year was the Saucy Spa sauna where I made some amazing nakey friends melting into softened puddles after long hours of movement.

Now onto the fun stuff, the Jellies! You may be wondering, "What's up with this jellyfish business?" I'm glad you asked. Long ago when I lived in Barcelona, my friend and I would get drunk and chalk the cobblestone streets with, "Como bailarías si fueses una medusa?" - How would you dance if you were a jellyfish? We made a ton of friends by asking random strangers this question and we realized, no two Jellies were alike, not even twin Jellies. So I wanted to try an experiment and ask this question to the lovely people who contributed to Enchanted's magic this year. Here are the ingredients for a saucy good time: 

STAFF - VOLUNTEERS

These Jellies are the bones and brains that real jellyfish  only dream of. Without the heart and dedication of staff and volunteers there would be no place to call home, no vision to execute, and no gathering at all. Thank you for coming in weeks early to build, and leaving weeks later to tear down. Let's see how this Jelly gets down!

Staff - Megan Pru - Hails from Boise, ID
@meganpru

VENDORS - FOOD

These Jellies are delicious! Wait, don't eat the jellies or you will swell up like a ballon! There was so much yummy food and amazing vendors. I was looking for some MAJOR greens and lovely Devin working at Imlak'esh Organics helped me navigate the open waters to the most nourishing superfood bowl of my dreams. Also, when I was feeling really shitty after a long night and needed a serious boost, Sarah, Bee, and M'fon with Asana Foods brought me back to life with Açaí bowls made for the gods. Thank you vendors for allowing me to camp light and supercharge my body. These Jellies are #PlantPowered!

Vendor Crew - Devin - Hails from Napa, CA
@imlakesh

Asana Foods - San Diego, CA - @asanafoods
Sarah, Bee, M'fon - @waveojoy

 

To stay in touch with the Enchanted Forest Gathering visit http://enchantedforestmendo.com/.

WORKSHOPS - MOVEMENT

There is never a shortage of amazing yoga, workshops, and movement classes at Enchanted. This aspect of festival life has to be my favorite ingredient. There is so much knowledge, wisdom, practice, and energy available to all participants and I can't stress enough taking the time to engage with workshops and classes at festivals. Partying is a great time and dancing is essential for my experience but what I learn in workshops really funnels into my everyday life. Thank you teachers for all your lessons and wisdom. Turn that Jelly into jam!

Tai Chi - Sundar - Hails from Alicante, Spain
Helpuheal.com

Festival Herbal First Aid - Heidi Garrett - Hails from Concord, NC
Facebook

HEALERS - BODY WORK

I have recently been receiving more body work and healing services at festivals and it has been AMAZING. There is nothing like getting a deep tissue massage or acupuncture in the middle of an oak speckled forest. Considering all the walking, yoga, dancing, and general buffoonery that is going on, it is a real treat to get body work done mid-festival. I was so happy to meet Nik who did some great deep tissue work on my back when I was feeling pain from too much fun. Thank you healers for putting us back together and keeping us movin'! This Jelly is elevating!

NiK Kurtz - Hails from La Honda, CA
Bodycuriosity.com

NEW FRIENDS - DOERS

Enchanted Forest Gathering 2017 was my first ever solo festival. It was such a special experience and I made so many new friends that I get to group text with and hang out with all the time now. The best part of the Enchanted family is all the beautiful people. I am pretty lucky that all the ingredients got real mixed in this year for me and I met so many amazing people who contributed to making fairytale magic in the forest. This super cool Jelly here is Sari. We did a lot of hanging out at her WooWoo Pocket Photo Booth and bopped around dancing, laughing, and making puddles of friends. This Jelly is on it's way to being a STARfish.

WooWoo Pocket Photo Booth - Sari - Hails from Denver, CO
Sariblum.com

So you see, our Enchanted Jellies are softbodied, free-spirited land animals with creative, human-shaped hearts and arms for tentacles... these Jellies are found in every environment, from the mountains to the sea... they have been proven to be the most energetic loving dancers of all animals.

See you Jellies later!

John Karlo - Hails from Boyle Heights, CA

John Karlo - Hails from Boyle Heights, CA

Enchanted Forest Gathering is here!

By John Karlo Torres

The time has arrived, one year since I last covered Enchanted Forest and things are looking pretty sweet for 2017. There are some new additions to this year's gathering and I am stoked to experience the magic first hand. If you are heading out to Laytonville this year, be prepared for some cooler weather and rain, a different experience from last year's crazy hot days. Make sure to bust out the fuzzy jackets and the leggings for a comfortable, dance all night, play all day time. 

Full-Service Hookah Lounge

I was fortunate to learn about a ton of new amazing artist last year and 2017 has a lot to offer with four incredible stages of music: The Grove, The Knoll, The Saucy Spa, and the Lazy River. In case you missed the news, this will be Tipper's only California, Nevada, Oregon appearance in 2017! Below is the full music schedule:

LOLounge

Part of The Emerald Forest, a new zone sponsored by CannaCraft

 

Enchanted Forest Gathering is one of the best, intimate, magical festivals I have attended and has an incredible amount to offer in dance, yoga, flow classes, workshops, and now comedy. Check out last year's coverage piece here

Check out our Instagram for photos this weekend!

Envision Festival 2017

Photo by: Aaron Correa

Photo by: Aaron Correa

23-26 FEBRUARY 2017, COSTA RICA

By John Karlo Torres

Let me begin by stating that the simple act of writing this piece, is setting in that Envision is over. A reality that I am not yet willing to accept because who the fuck wants to leave Costa Rica and all its magic? Help me by keeping the energy alive and envisioning the journey through this beautiful Costa Rican jungle by the beach. 

For most, Envision festival begins long before actually passing through the entrance gate. Participants came from all over the world, even the most remote islands you didn't know existed. Traveling to another country to experience a festival is a truly special experience. I stepped out of work in San Francisco on a Tuesday with my backpack on to find rain, cold, and busy streets and ended up in San Jose, Costa Rica on Wednesday to heat, humidity, and Spanish language tongues. This complete shift in environment really took this experience to another level and I was stoked to leave the rain behind. If you have any reservations about going to Envision because of the travel, just stop. Costa Rica is an incredible country and Envision is the best excuse to explore this magical land. The travel was part of all the fun and I had some pretty cool highlights along the way. 

Envision sits upon 8 pillars, all working together to create a unique festival experience. The pillars are: Permaculture, Spirituality, Movement, Art, Music, Community, Health, and Ecobuilding. I will touch just a tad on some of the pillars and what influenced my journey. 

PERMACULTURE

jacob avanzato-ef-2-22-2017-2767.jpg

"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature" - Bill Mollison. Aside from the many spoken workshops available whose topics touch the ideas of permaculture, some tangible examples really caught my attention. 

  • Community Carbon Trees gave you a chance to plant new baby trees around the festival grounds to foster new growth and future life.
  • There were no disposable plates or utensils with any of the food vendors or various drink booths. Envision is a Reusables Only event and if you didn't happen to lug around your own reusable dish ware, you could rent a plate for $3 and get a ticket to reuse and reuse over and over again. 

Nature was everywhere and the integration of the village into the landscape was breathtaking. Hands down my favorite festival space I have attended and nothing beats the amazing ocean cove Envision sits upon. 

SPIRITUALITY

Photo by: Jacob Avanzato

Photo by: Jacob Avanzato

Spirituality looks and feels differently for everyone. I personally started my journey to Envision with an intention of spiritual grounding and healing. My life and mind were moving like a derailed freight train and I needed a well overdue reset. 

  • The incredible nature surrounding you at every moment is power enough to connect with your spirit. Being submersed in the jungle, connecting your bare feet to the earth, and smelling the ocean remind you how important this connection is to our well-being. 
  • The Healing Sanctuary was an area where you could take a breather and rest your mind and body. From Village Witches workshops, herbal elixir bars, to Temple of the Moon, Sun, and Earth, if you needed some healing, you were in the right place. If you are more into a light-weight spiritual touch, the yoga and meditation available during sunlit hours was top notch.

MOVEMENT

Photo by: Aaron Correa

Photo by: Aaron Correa

Many of the pillars start to crisscross with one another like a beautiful knitted blanket. Movement touched almost every aspect of life at Envision. Walking around the village all day, dancing until the sun came up, soothing your tired body with restorative yoga to swimming in the beautiful ocean, movement was alive. For the first time in a long time, my whole body was sore by the end of the festival and I loved every ache of it. If somehow you go to Envision and manage to sit on your ass all day, that is straight dedication to relaxation. 

COMMUNITY

Photo by:  Eric Allen Photo

Photo by: Eric Allen Photo

The festival this year probably had around 4,000 participants. It was a pretty large space and I did not feel remotely crowded at all. I can get sort of anxious when shit gets sardine-like but the participant count this year was perfect for me. There were people from all over the world and a cute little map where you could pin your homeland. The community was beautiful, so many healthy, loving bodies and smiles all as diverse as the biodiversity of the jungle itself. A lot if not most of the food vendors were from Costa Rica and it seemed like the local community was definitely involved in many ways. Being a native Spanish speaker, all of the Spanish being thrown around really pulled on my heart strings. <3

MUSIC

Photo by:&nbsp; Eric Allen Photo

Photo by: Eric Allen Photo

I think it is a given that a highlight of any festival is the music. Envision had four stages to shake the sand off your half-naked body or help you get all heated up to the point you wanted to take a deep dip in the perfect ocean. Village, Lapa, and Sol stages all provided great dancey times but BY FAR my favorite stage was the Luna Stage, The Reliquarium created magic. The entire area was beautiful and the stage felt like home. Music was alive and well on-stage and off. People gathered at the beach for daily drum circles, the Healing Sanctuary offered sound healing services and workshops, and the birds and monkeys rounded out the atmospheric ambiance. The best thing about my musical experience at Envision was staying up all night Saturday and Sunday to watch the sunrise and listen to amazing artist. Overall Highlights were Rising Appalachia, Random Rab, Ott., Dragonfly, Dreamers Delight, and an insane set by Clozee. I did not attend Envision for the music lineup but it was an unforgettable treat. There is no doubt in my mind that I will be returning to Envision for many reasons but the music had me up all night with ZER0 drugs. Check out Dragonfly and Clozee, absolutely killed it.  

Filmed & Edited by Remington Wilcox

HEALTH

I was most interested in this pillar before attending Envision and post-journey I was extremely satisfied with the thought put into prioritizing health at the festival. Due to a wasp bite and a killer sun burn I stepped into the free Herbal Clinic and was blown away, a FUCKING FREE HERBAL CLINIC! I was welcomed by enormous smiles and healing hearts each and every time. I am already a big botanical freak and use herbs on the daily so this space really did it for me. Whether you felt physically ill, were a sad panda, or burned your sexy body to a crisp, this free herbal clinic had just the right remedy. Did you know tobacco pulls poison out of wounds?! Seriously though, visit your local Apothecary when you don't feel good, it's straight up magic. 

I ate all my meals in the village and the food was great. Vegan, gluten-free, meat-eater, ant-eater, greens lover, ceviche addict, food hoarder, I mean all the options for every palate. You never know what to expect when it comes to food but I sampled a ton of vendors and was never disappointed. 

I really wanted to participate in healing at Envision and the Healing Sanctuary was everything I wanted for a much needed recharge. It was important for me to support the healing body workers and learn more about the different practices. 

MASSAGE THERAPY

Matt Abrams

Matt Abrams

I was fortunate enough to schedule a deep tissue massage with Matt Abrams and let me tell you, getting a massage in the middle of the jungle is glorious! Matt was super sweet and my muscles were blissfully healed after our session. The hot, humid environment really makes for great massage work. The best part is that I ran into Matt later in the festival at the Luna Stage and it just solidified what a community Envision can really be. 

AYURVEDA HEALING

Susan Melina

Susan Melina

Another healing session I had was with Ayurvedic Practitioner Susan Melina, a wonderful practitioner currently based out of California. This was my first ever Ayurvedic consultation and it completely impacted me, especially post festival. Spiritually this session was absolutely necessary, it affirmed a lot of things I was feeling and shed new light on how to balance my life. We shared a powerful moment and I definitely cried during our session. I also fell in love with Sooz the moment we bonded over our excitement for Clozee and watching Random Rab's sunrise set. Ayurveda is a pretty awesome science of life and quite honestly felt like magic. 

A TASTE OF ENVISION