Symbiosis Gathering

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Symbiosis Gathering is an arts, music, and community gathering that encourages expressive arts, sustainability, and personal development.[1][2] Symbiosis has also produced a solar eclipse festival in May 2012 at Pyramid Lake of the Paiute Tribe[3][4] and collaborated in November 2012 near Cairns, Australia with Rainbow Serpent, Mother (Japan) and creators of Glade Festival.[5][6] Symbiosis Gathering has been called an "adult-Disneyland",[7] Neverland,[8] and compared to Burning Man,[9][10][11][12] Lightning in a Bottle,[13] Boom Festival, and Rainbow Serpent Festival.[14] The 2017 production has been called "the most transcendental event in the known universe"[15] and was aligned with the total solar eclipse in Oregon on August 21, 2017.[16] Symbiosis has been called a transformational festival[9][17] but organizers much prefer to be known as an 'international gathering' that happens to be in the United States.[18][19]

Past locations[edit]

Symbiosis Gathering was first held at Cutter Scout Camp near the Santa Cruz mountains in 2005, for a crowd of around 800 people and it grew to over 15,000 for the 10 year anniversary in September 2015.[20] The Gathering has been held in a variety of locations including Angels Camp in 2006 and 2007,[1] Camp Mather near Yosemite National Park[21] in 2009, at Pyramid Lake in May 2012 during an annular solar eclipse, and Woodward Reservoir in Oakdale, CA.[22][23][24] From 2013-2016, Symbiosis Gathering was held on the 2900-acre Woodward Reservoir and has been called the "MVP",[7] a "true gem"[11] and "the most unique aspect".[25] The event is held on a "five-nubbed" peninsula[26] and has open swimming throughout the weekend. The festival also boasts the most evolved demonstration of Art Boats,[12][27] which has likely come from the influence of nearby DIY events Burning Man and Maker Faire. Called the "jewel of Symbiosis' production" was the "Swimbiosis" stage which saw the sound system pointed out on the water where the dancefloor extended to thousands of people on rafts, makeshift boats, and swimming in the reservoir.[27]

2017 total solar eclipse[edit]

The 2017 edition was aligned with the solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 which was the first total solar eclipse seen in the continental U.S. since 1979. The festival was a collaboration between numerous international producers[28] including Bass Coast (CAN), Beloved (US), Envision Festival (CR), Hadra (FR), Noisily (UK), Ometeotl (MX), Origin Festival (SA), Rainbow Serpent (AUS), Re:Birth (JPN), Sonic Bloom (US), and Universo Parallelo (BR).[29] The event was held with seven music stages[30] and over 40 different areas of workshops, large art sculptures, and other displays, which was planned for over 30,000 people.[31] Oregon Eclipse is the largest event of its kind (and the first U.S. event) to offer a ticket only available to be purchased in Bitcoin.[32]


The mission statement of Symbiosis declares that the Gathering is a music, art, and conscious lifestyle event and has consistent messaging about community.[33][34][35] There are strong participatory elements[36] in many aspects including participants bringing their own art, live painting[11] both on and off stage, and installations that one can touch and climb.[26] Co-founder Bosque Hrbek calls Symbiosis a "collaborative experiment" and prefers the description of an "international gathering"[33] as staff includes teams of people who also work on international events such as Rainbow Serpent Festival, Boom Festival, and Brazil's Universo Paralello among others.[8] The producers calling the event a Gathering rather than a festival[37] with the intention that the true value of the event is in people coming together. The theme to the 2016 edition is Family Tree, where families are encouraged to bring children[12] to participate in a kids village throughout the event[37][38]

Symbiosis is known for "embodying an ethos of creativity, sustainability and experimentation through its vibrant art installations, esoteric lineup and infectious vibes"[27] as well as having a lineup of live and electronic, downtempo, trance, and world music as well as permaculture,[1] sustainability,[34][39] kirtan, and yoga[40] workshops.[11][41] Symbiosis Gathering includes an ecological component[9][42] that encourages sustainable lifestyle choices and to leave places in better condition than when they arrived.[43] Symbiosis has hosted multi-day immersives in 2006, 2007, 2013, 2015, and 2016[39][44] focusing on sustainability, yoga, visionary art, permaculture, and indigenous wisdom.[45] The producers have positioned three events to coincide with solar eclipses, including the event in Oregon during the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017.[34]

Many performance troupes can be found integrated with the programming including the producers of the Edwardian Ball, Bay Area's Vau de Vire Society, and Lucent Dossier Experience, among others. Organizers have no screens or projections[12][19] at the event instead relying on lighting and structure for ambience[37] to create more participating and less observing. The event has no corporate sponsorship,[8][9][26][37] an aspect which is shared by only Burning Man in gatherings of substantial size.


The music selection of Symbiosis has been called eclectic,[46] diverse, quirky,[9] obscure,[41] and underground[7][26] including live bands such as CocoRosie, Les Claypool, and STS9 among others. The lineup also has an electronic bent with techno and house, with psytrance, downtempo, dubstep,[27] as well as more analog gypsy and quirky performances. The 2015 edition was lauded to have "acoustic based musicians, female musicians, butoh artists, and many other cutting edge experimental visual and sonic performance artist that are breaking ground"[47] at the time. Symbiosis also has a number of US debuts, unannounced,[12] and surprise performances[36][48] including edIT and Ooah from The Glitch Mob performing as "Crying over Porcelain for No Reason" which to date had only happened in '09 and '15 both at Symbiosis Gathering.


The art of Symbiosis has been called trippy,[49] otherworldly,[37] mind-blowing[7] and lauded by many as an essential aspect of the experience. Structures that have been erected at Burning Man[50] have often found their way to Symbiosis due to the relative proximity of time and location between the two events.[27] Sculpture and installation artists such as Gerard Minakawa of Bamboo DNA,[51] Michael Christian,[52] Hybycozo,[53] Shrine,[54][48] and Bryan Tedrick[55] are a few of the artists who have built major installations at the events. The stages are also built more as artistic creations than truss structures to hold rock bands. Each stage is created to have its own unique aesthetic which leads to numerous different environments throughout the festival.[27]


Symbiosis Gathering includes a significant educational and betterment of self component with workshops and presentations of all sorts.[46] Past speakers include Vandana Shiva,[56] Democracy Now! Amy Goodman,[57] actor/poet/activist Saul Williams, culture jamming activists The Yes Men,[35] and The Tao of Physics author Fritjof Capra among others. Symbiosis takes an eco-friendly approach in its offerings [42] by not selling plastic water bottles and bags, and instead sells only reusable and recyclable products.[58] In 2007 they started a dishwashing program that reduced waste by 70% [59]


  1. ^ a b c "Interview with the Creators of Symbiosis Gathering: The Making of a Festival by Kimbriel Dean".
  2. ^ "Come together: Kevin KoChen of Symbiosis Gathering talks communion, spirituality, electronic jams By Marke B."
  3. ^ "Symbiosis Gathering in Pyramid Lake prepares for Solar Eclipse".
  4. ^ "Symbiosis Gathering: Pyramid Eclipse By Sarah Marie Pittman".
  5. ^ "Sex, XXXX, snakes and crocs, AND a total eclipse of the sun. Beat that Woodstock! By Simon Crerar".
  6. ^ "When the Sun Licks the Moon's Back: Eclipse2012 By Iain McKelvey". Vulture Magazine.
  7. ^ a b c d "Six reasons why Symbiosis Gathering wasn't your average dusty festival". Mixmag. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  8. ^ a b c Team, The Bam (2015-09-29). "Beyond the music: Symbiosis Gathering reinvents the festival experience in 2015". Showbams. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  9. ^ a b c d e "7 Wildest Transformational Festivals". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  10. ^ "Symbiosis Gathering wraps up after four days". modbee. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  11. ^ a b c d "Reflecting on Symbiosis Gathering 2015". The Huffington Post. 2015-09-30. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  12. ^ a b c d e Rahman, Neal (Oct 6, 2015). "Symbiosis Gathering 2015: A Magical Experience". Magnetic Mag. Magnetic Mag.
  13. ^ "Symbiosis Gathering: Burning Man In A Bottle And The Battle For Sacred Tribal Land by Robin Wilkey".
  14. ^ "Symbiosis Gatherings eclectic lineuppublisher=LA Weekly".
  15. ^ "Dive Deeper into 3 of Oregon Eclipse Gathering's 11 Global Collaborators [Event Preview] - Compose Yourself Magazine". Retrieved 2017-06-03.
  16. ^ "Oregon Scores International Collaborative Festival With 'Oregon Eclipse'". Dance Music NW. 2016-11-11. Retrieved 2016-11-13.
  17. ^ "Transformational Festivals: Where Ecstatic Spirit and Sonic Celebration Unite By Elizabeth Perry".
  18. ^ "Symbiosis Gathering Co-Owner Wants to Ditch the Term 'Transformational Festival' | Thump". Retrieved 2016-10-04.
  19. ^ a b "10 Things to Know Before Symbiosis Gathering '16". SF Station – San Francisco's City Guide. Retrieved 2016-10-04.
  20. ^ "Symbiosis Gathering will return to Woodward Reservoir". modbee. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  21. ^ "Symbiosis Gathering 2009 by Tk Kayembe".
  22. ^ "County supervisors green light a second Symbiosis festival" By Ken Carlson. Merced Sun-Star
  23. ^ "Symbiosis Returns to Oakdale CA Sept 17-20 2015 by By Anand Harsh".
  24. ^ "Thousands Flock to Oakdale for Symbiosis by By Richard Sharp".
  25. ^ "Embracing Spontaneity: Symbiosis Gathering Surprises All at 10 Year Reunion". Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  26. ^ a b c d "Symbiosis Gathering is Like Burning Man on Spring Break | Thump". Thump. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  27. ^ a b c d e f "Symbiosis Gathering's Tenth Year Crowns the West Coast as New Festival Mecca". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  28. ^ Wilde, Frankie (2016-08-24). "Symbiosis Announces Dates for Oregon Eclipse 2017 - EDMTunes". Retrieved 2016-10-04.
  29. ^ "Oregon Eclipse - A Total Solar Eclipse Gathering 17-23 August, 2017 - Oregon Eclipse 2017Oregon Eclipse 2017". Retrieved 2017-06-03.
  30. ^ "Oregon Eclipse Drops the Biggest Festival Lineup of the Summer!". 2017-02-27. Retrieved 2017-06-03.
  31. ^ "Oregon Officials Approve Solar Eclipse Gathering In Crook County". Retrieved 2017-06-03.
  32. ^ "Oregon Eclipse Introduces "Trailblazer Passes" New Bitcoin Based Ticket Buying | FestHype". FestHype. 2017-03-04. Retrieved 2017-07-14.
  33. ^ a b "Exclusive Interview With Bosque Hrbek, Founder of Symbiosis Gathering". The Huffington Post. 2015-08-14. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  34. ^ a b c "Symbiosis Gathering celebrates ten transformational years - Dancing Astronaut". Dancing Astronaut. 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  35. ^ a b "Symbiosis Gathering 10-Year Reunion Redefines Community". The Huffington Post. 2015-07-14. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  36. ^ a b "Symbiosis Review | BitCandy". Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  37. ^ a b c d e "Event Review: Symbiosis Gathering's 10 Year Re:Union". XLR8R. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  38. ^ "The Kids of Symbiosis Gathering Were Adorable and Remarkably Eloquent". Fest300. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  39. ^ a b "Symbiosis by Name and in Practice By Jacob Devaney".
  40. ^ "Scenes From Symbiosis Gathering 2013 By Benjy Eisen". Rolling Stone.
  41. ^ a b "3 Ways A Music Festival Taught Me To Trim The Excess From My Life". Elite Daily. 2015-10-08. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  42. ^ a b "Symbiosis Festival in California By Kenza Moller". USA Today.
  43. ^ "Superheroes Of Symbiosis By Laura Morgan". Oakdale Leader.
  44. ^ "Transforming Spaces workshop at Symbiosis Gathering 2013 By Ryan Rising".
  45. ^ "Indigenous-led Workshops Set For Symbiosis Gathering By The Mending News".
  46. ^ a b Drummond, Michael (2015-10-02). "Interplay and observation at Symbiosis Gathering, a photo essay". The Daily Californian. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  47. ^ "Interview with World Music Ensemble Stellamara | World Music". Retrieved 2016-10-04.
  48. ^ a b "10 Magical Music Moments at Symbiosis 2015". Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  49. ^ "Trippy Art at Symbiosis Festival". High Times. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  50. ^ "Reflecting on Symbiosis Gathering 2015". The Huffington Post. 2015-09-30. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  51. ^ "Artists Create Giant Bamboo Creatures for Extravaganza 2016". The Daily Nexus. Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  52. ^ "Front Page". The Art of Michael Christian. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  53. ^ "Home". HYBYCOZO. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  54. ^ "Shrine (@shrineon) • Instagram photos and videos". Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  55. ^ "Site specific, architectural scale gates, portals, public art and sculptures by Bryan Tedrick". Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  56. ^ "We Spoke To Vandana Shiva About The Future Of Food". Munchies. 2016-10-07. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  57. ^ "Reflecting on Symbiosis Gathering 2015". The Huffington Post. 2015-09-30. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
  58. ^ "Symbiosis Festival in California By Kenza Moller".
  59. ^ "Symbiosis Gathering 06/07: Our Story".

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