Transformational festival

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A transformational festival is a counterculture festival that espouses a community-building ethic, and a value system that celebrates life, personal growth, social responsibility, healthy living, and creative expression.[1] Transformational alludes both to personal transformation (self-realization) and steering the transformation of culture toward sustainability. Some transformational festivals resemble music festivals, but are distinguished by such features as seminars, classes, drum circles, ceremonies, installation art (or other visual art), the availability of whole food and bodywork, and a Leave No Trace policy.[1] Transformational festivals are held outdoors, often in remote locations, and are co-created by the participants.[2] The events are psychedelic inspired, involving visionary art, speakers on topics of entheogenic substances, as well as audio and visual entertainment intended to amplify psychedelic experiences.

Transformational festivals exhibit features commonly found in cults and new religious movements.[3] The events are characterized by heightened transpersonalism, collective ecstasis, utopian narratives, and community allegiance. They attract the atypical attendance of a social class characterized by expendable amounts of financial and temporal wealth.[4] Their charismatic deployment of spiritual and entheogenic information emboldened by on-site ecstatic experience closely parallels religious revivals. Attendees may disengage conservative social norms and identify as an "evolved culture"—a worldview influenced by millenarian archetypes of planetary transcendence, and the evolution of consciousness.

Some examples of transformational festivals are Boom Festival in Portugal,[5] Fusion Festival in Germany, Lightning in a Bottle, Symbiosis Gathering,[6] and Lucidity in the United States,[7][8] and Yaga Gathering in Lithuania. The prototypical transformational festival is Burning Man.

At TEDxVancouver 2010, filmmaker Jeet-Kei Leung presented a TED Talk about transformational festivals, and discussed their similarities to pagan festivals.[9] Less than a year after a successful Kickstarter campaign, Jeet-Kei Leung and Akira Chan screened the first installment of their four-part documentary film series, The Bloom: A Journey Through Transformational Festivals (2013).[10][11][12]

A.C. Johner's documentary Electronic Awakening (2012) investigates the emergence and origins of the festivals.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Perry, Elizabeth (18 June 2013). "Transformational Festivals: Where Ecstatic Spirit and Sonic Celebration Unite". Redefine. Redefine Media LLC. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  2. ^ Krasnow, Stefanie Sara (26 July 2012). "Transformational Festivals". Reality Sandwich. Evolver LLC. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  3. ^ Ronald, Enroth (2005). A Guide to New Religious Movements. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press.[pages needed]
  4. ^ Nickles, David (September 9, 2014). "Festivals, Politics, and Change". The-Nexian. Archived from the original on September 26, 2014. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  5. ^ "Boom Vision". Good Mood Lda. Archived from the original on 18 January 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  6. ^ "7 Wildest Transformational Festivals". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-05-22.
  7. ^ "What Is LIB?". The Do LaB. Archived from the original on 3 August 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  8. ^ "About Us". Lucidity Festival. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  9. ^ Pitzl-Waters, Jason (2 October 2011). "Transformational Festival Culture". The Wild Hunt. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  10. ^ "'The Bloom' Documentary Series on Transformational Festivals Launches with Series Preview and Festival Map" (Press release). Portland, Oregon: Keyframe Entertainment. 18 January 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  11. ^ Guille, Jason (7 March 2013). "The Bloom documentary arrives!". Sunset Labs. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  12. ^ Devenot, Neşe (18 December 2012). "The Bloom: A Journey through Transformational Festivals". Reality Sandwich. Evolver LLC. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  13. ^ "Electronic Awakening Video-On-Demand (VOD) Nationwide Release On Dec 21st". PRWeb. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2014.

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