costa rica

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

 

Envision Festival 2016

PHOTOS: MOLLIE MENDOZA & ROGER COPPOLA

COVERAGE: ROGER COPPOLA

Each February, some of the festival scene’s most colorful characters descend on Costa Rica's south-Pacific coast for a weekend of jungle revelry. Once a year, the lush area of Uvita rapidly fills with an eclectic assortment of top-notch musicians, world-renowned permaculture activists and organic foodies, and creative minds of all kinds collide to become part of something more than a simple music festival; Envision is a Mecca for the conscious community. It is a place where healthy living, sustainable design and world-music converge in a beautiful symphony of celebration.

The routes to the festival are as unique as the individuals who find their way on them. As people from all corners of the globe board buses, collectivos, and planes, a common thread gets woven; a desire to be part of something truly special in the festival scene that justifies the sweat-drenched journey to get there. The destination is home to a beachside jungle where howler monkeys play amongst the over-hanging trees, and parrots adorn the high-topped canopy.

 The orchestration of artists, food vendors, musicians, and speakers hits all the notes on all the senses. Let the day begin with a sunrise ocean swim and an early morning yoga practice to sweat out last night’s festivities. Hungry? Grab a freshly squeezed juice or coffee, locally caught fish-filled sushi rolls, and stroll around the Envision Village to escape the scorching midday heat. Listen in on one of the many world-renown speakers and workshops or find a cool, comfortable seat in the tea lounge.

The Envision team plans a perfect schedule - focusing on shade friendly workshops during the day and high-energy dance parties by night. David Wolfe enlightened the crowd on the secrets of superfoods, renegade gardening, and even questioned the curvature of the Earth itself. David Block shared words of wisdom with an inspiring discussion on “Accessing Creativity”, along with his own music in multiple sets as both “The Human Experience”, and his newest project, “The Cat’s Pajamas”.

The main Sol stage featured a projection of a smiling, mustache’d sun that smirked and shifted as illuminated snakes slithered past. The stage hosted an eclectic array of talent. David Satori (Beats Antique and Dirtwire) and Sidecar Tommy demonstrated their versatility with a broad musical quiver, banging, plucking, and strumming any and every instrument imaginable.

 

 

Dirtwire's set rightfully drew the largest crowd of the weekend; David Satori’s warm violin played back and forth across the stage with Evan Fraser’s unique mix of jaw harp, slide guitar and percussion. The duet’s seductive set inspired the crowd to groove in unison as Eastern music met West with an electronic undertone. Colorado based quintet Elephant Revival provided a beautiful change of pace, as folk melodies filled the air with washboard runs, banjo whines and wholesome acappellas. The Sol stage showcased local talent with acts including Calavera y La Canal- this Latin American Rockband play a unique blend of Electronica, Rock, and Ska, and perform with an extravagant, costume-filled, Flaming Lips-like flair.

The Lapa Stage was the beating heart of the festival pumping house tunes into the warm, damp surroundings with the likes of Bedouin, Lee Reynolds, and Tara Brooks. A canopied dance floor and close proximity beach access made it ideal for those looking to boogie down while the blazing sun still lingered in the late afternoon. Once the night was upon us, playful lighting and Funktion One sounds pushed the party till the early hours of the morning.

The Luna stage once again captured the hearts of the festival with an on-stage butterfly art installation, abundant fire, silks and even pole performers. The surrounding treehouse style platforms allowed for the perfect aerial view, as a series of overhanging bridges provided the perfect perch above the pulsating crowds. Shpongle’s rattling jungle drums ignited a frenzied crowd in what felt like his natural landscape, while mind-melting projections spilled over the large butterfly. Lafa Taylor bridged the gap between intelligent hip-hop and electronic by picking up the mic and laying down lyrics over original tracks. CloZee justified the hype with her genre defying glitch-hop future bass, paired with a team of local fire dances that lit up the stage and captured the attention of all.

This epic collection of creative minds and excellent music seemed a sign for great things to come, both in the up-and-coming music scene and in the movement for a more conscious, sustainable world. I left feeling hopeful, inspired by an event that was far more than a party in paradise; Envision was a celebration of creativity that continues to push the boundaries of festival culture, setting a high standard for the season to come.

Limited Early Bird Tickets for next year’s event are already on sale, be sure to get them here!

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