Musings on the Festival Season: Choosing Events

As the festival season kicks into gear, many of the tribe are all talking about which events they’ll be going to this year, and there’s a fair bit of good natured (or not so good natured) ribbing about which events are better. The correct answer to which event is the best to go to is obviously the one that gets you so full of excited butterflies that you can’t help but count down the days, but that still doesn’t stop us from engaging in discussion and debate over the merits of each event 🙂

I’ve noticed there are two broad categories events can be put into: Performance oriented, and Participation oriented. Now these are categories I just came up with on the spot, and they are not mutually exclusive to each other, but I’ll describe what I’m getting at:

There are some events that are presentations of performance – Q Dance, EDC, and Coachella all come to mind. At these events, the creators and producers have a vision of the experience they want to build for their audience. We could use the metaphor that an event like this is akin to signing up to take an art class in a specific style and artistic medium – you get to participate and express yourself, but under the guidelines and themes of the class you selected. These events can be incredibly immersive, participatory, and life-altering in their experience, but there is still a distinction between the performers and the audience.

Then there’s the more open-sourced participation oriented festivals like Lucidity, Lightening in a Bottle, and Burning Man, in which there may be an established theme and the organizers may have some idea of specific performance acts and activities they want to include, but the majority of the festival is built by it’s participants; anyone with a performance act, art installation, workshop, or some other gift of light can apply to be part of the festival, and even the most casual festival goer is expected to contribute their light and spirit to the event. These events are less about creating a self-contained experience for a night or a weekend, and more about superseding the bounds of “everyday” life to co-create new living paradigms.

Like I said, these two types of events are not mutually exclusive as far as attendant participation goes; the distinction lies in the construction of the event, and neither is better or worse than the other, but they can offer incredibly different experience. So with that said, I present:

A Fairy’s Advice for Choosing Which Festivals and Events to Attend This Season

  1. Consider what you’re looking for in a participation experience. Does the theme and lineup of a particular event catch your eye? Do you want to just dance and socialize, or do you want access to workshops too? Are accommodations something to consider? Example: a dear family friend had the opportunity to go to LIB last year but decided to pass because her health state wasn’t optimal to go camping for 3 days. She would have had to pay for a motel in addition to the tickets and sleep offsite missing out on all the wonderful nighttime shenanigans.
  2. Consider ticketing and travel budget, as well as scheduling. I’ve wanted to go to Burning Man for years now, but the cost of getting myself there (and bringing all the resources to sustain myself for a week) has just been too exorbitant for me to consider, but on the other hand, Lucidity Festival is relatively local to me. Also, there are loads of smaller scale events every weekend that I usually have to choose to pass up because I’m saving money and resources for specific events, and while I’d love to be more social on a weekly basis, for me the experience of spending a weekend at an event like Lucidity is incredible enough to more than make up for missing other events.
  3. Consider volunteering as an alternative for participation. Working at an event is a very unique and special experience, and often comes with free admittance and other perks. By the way, applications for LIB are open now!

And with that said, I’ve got festival prep to get on with! I am so close to finishing the Lucidity Universe themed dreamcatcher, I can practically taste it (but I won’t, because yarn disappointingly never tastes as good as it looks – sort of like really good smelling shampoo).

Tickets for Lucidity Festival are going fast, and while you can still get last-chance 3 day passes, it won’t be too long before only the 2 and 1 day passes will be left, so if you’re hesitating, now is the time to make a decision. I’m still giving out my discount code to anyone that hits me up, and each code usage gets you entered into my dreamcatcher drawing, as my way of saying thank you for using my code.

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