All festivals are not created equal. While the mainstream EDM festival scene thrives, there’s a culture of Transformational Festivals that has been evolving for many years. A Transformational Festival is a multi-layered event that espouses a community-building ethic, and a value system that celebrates life, personal growth, social responsibility, healthy living, and creative expression. While some Transformational Festivals resemble music festivals, they are usually characterized by features such as classes, seminars, installation and Visionary art, drum circles, ceremonies, performances, eco-villages, deep participation, and radical inclusion, to name a few. Given the culture’s environmental concern, Transformational Festivals also entail a Leave No Trace policy. The history and culture surrounding these festivals are explored in Andrew Johner’s ethnographic documentary film Electronic Awakening, the web series by Jeet-Kei Leung The Bloom: A Journey Through Transformational Festivals and Jamaica Stevens’s ReInhabiting the Village, featured on Fest300.
Electronic Awakening is an ethnographic documentary film that investigates the spirituality of Electronic Music dance culture and its ties to ancient shamanic rituals.
The film features dozens of experts, visionaries, and published authors who explore the premise that Electronic Music is spiritual technology that allows access to higher states of consciousness. Filmed over a period of 5 years at events such as Burning Man, Earthdance, LoveFest, Moontribe, Wicked, Shambhala and the Boom Festival in Portugal.
Featuring original music by Androcell, Bird of prey, Cosmosis, The Crystal Method, Desert Dwellers, Drew Martinez, Eastern Sun & John Kelley, Elysium, Field Rotation, Govinda, Grouch, Jason Knight, Magic & Witchcraft, Nadis Warriors, Phutureprimitive, Random Rab, Seamoon, Sheff, Shen, Shpongle, Solar Fields, Vibrasphere, Terrakroma, Xerxes.
The Bloom features episodes that showcases the emerging culture and movement of Transformational Festivals. Each episode illuminates 3 themes that create the alchemy of the Transformational Festival through potent moments, stories and interviews filmed at over 30 festivals around the world.
Keyframe is Executive Producer of Episode 3 “New Ways of the Sacred”, and Screening Director of all episodes.
Episode 1, titled Fundamental Frequencies, tackles the themes of inspiration, connection, and healing. View the episode here: http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/the-bloom-episode-1/.
Episode 2, titled Practicing The New World, explores co-creation, participation, and modeling. View the episode here: http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/the-bloom-episode-2/.
Episode 3, titled New Ways of the Sacred, delves into mythos, ritual and the sacred. View the episode here: http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/the-bloom-episode-3/.
There are many festivals around the world that offer these varied, immersive experiences. These include ritual, dance parties, meditation, workshops, perma culture, eco-consciousness, and indigenous inclusions.
Some of the most influential Transformational Festivals include:
Cosmic Convergence (returns in 2022)
Cosmic Convergence is an annual gathering in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala incorporating art, music, education for conscious living, and Mayan culture & traditions. It is a convergence of past, present, and future, envisioning the new paradigm of a technological-tribal society that is becoming more tangible each day. The objective is to expose the attendees to ancestral and post-industrial ways of living in order to provoke a shift in consciousness to rethink what lifestyles are possible in post-2012 reality.
Electronic & Live Music from Around the World – Visionary Art Gallery – Permaculture & Green Technology – Tribal & Primitive Skills – Yoga & Sacred Movement – Ceremony – Conscious Cinema – Community Forum – Tea House – Mayan Traditional Medicine & Crafting
The gathering forms part of an ongoing international tribal revival. The event is 100% non-profit and all proceeds go towards supporting social projects on Lake Atitlan, where we work with indigenous communities to grow a greener future.
Rainbow Serpent (returns in January 2022)
Rainbow Serpent Festival has come a long way since it started. From a small gathering in a secluded clearing, to an internationally recognized, multifaceted weekend of dance, colour, expression and celebration. No longer just an electronic music festival, these days you can expect to experience a unique combination of music, art, performance, spiritual education, relaxation and healing. The name Rainbow Serpent is distinctly Australian, coming from the Dreamtime creation story told by the traditional owners of the land. Dreamtime stories often vary between aboriginal tribes, however the story of the Rainbow Serpent is special as it is one of the few common to all.
Earth Frequency (May 14-17, 2021)
Earth Frequency Festival is a 4 day outdoor festival, based in South-East Queensland, Australia. While fitting in to many cultural niches or pigeon holes such as music concert, Transformational festival, tribal gathering, doof, workshop conference etc, the aim of Earth Frequency Festival is to go beyond these traditional tags and exist as a multi-faceted gathering focused broadly on creativity, community, connection, intention and inspiration, with an evolving re-invention of itself in response to the evolution of its supporting communities. Our focus is on creating a meaningful space, where we can gather, celebrate life with music and art and other creative forms, educate, connect, heal and inspire.
Envision (returns in February 2022)
Through the collaboration of myriad talented allies, both local and international, the Envision Presents team aims to co-create events inspired by and inspiring the positive collective consciousness of all who are involved for the betterment of ourselves and of the planet. By bringing people together through music, art and sacred movement Envision Presents opportunities to celebrate our spirits, heal our bodies and minds, and revitalize our souls to face the challenges and realize the opportunities of our rapidly changing world. Festival location is Costa Rica.
Lucidity (returns in April 2022)
Lucidity is an open-source Transformational Arts and Music festival. We call it open-source because we co-create this festival experience with YOU! We invite you to come play with us, get involved with one of our seven themed villages, call together your star family, bring art, lead a workshop, spark a spontaneous flash mob, embody a character from your dreams, be silly and wild and free! We bring together a world class lineup of musical talent and weave them together with the sounds and vibrations of our beloved local stars. Our galleries showcase the sickest fine art the region has to offer, enriching the festival as a visual voyage. Art installations pleasure participants with multi-sensory stimulation while themed environments create intimate settings for personal connections. Lucidity’s environmental commitment is to leave Live Oak, California better than before.
CoLab Campout (April 2021 dates postponed)
Held in Wheatland, California, CoLab Campout is a collaborative experience where participants have the opportunity to learn new skills, dive deep into themselves, transform their lives, and celebrate together.
CoLab Campout is a curated experience designed to evoke hope for our future. The journey takes participants through a 4 pillar adventure of OuterWork, InnerWork, Transformation, and Celebration.
Bhakti Festival (2 different dates: Shakti Fest & Bhakti Fest return in 2022)
Bhakti Fest is a Yoga | Dance | Music Festival which celebrates the devotional path that has its roots in yoga, kirtan, and meditation. It embraces ancient and modern sacred wisdom and traditional and non-traditional spiritual practices. The festival is a vehicle for the evolution of human consciousness through a heart-centered revolution. Bhakti Fest builds a community of people drawn to follow the path of the heart – a devotional, prayerful, loving, healthful, respectful family.
Lightning In A Bottle (LIB) (Digital event on Memorial Day Weekend 2021, and returns in person in 2022)
LIB strives to be a greater expression each year. We take pride in curating local up and coming music talent and international world renowned artists. We paved the way for live painting at our events with Lightning in a Paintcan, which is headed up by our very own non-profit The Do Art Foundation, who’s efforts fund initiatives that are far reaching in the art world. We host speakers and workshops on topics of sustainability, spirituality and child-friendly entertainment. Behind everything we do at LIB is a deep commitment to our environment and our sustainability practices which we continually strive to improve every year. LIB was the winner of the Outstanding Greener Festival Award, 3-years in a row! Festival location is Temecula, California.
Anthropos (June 10-14, 2021)
Arts, Music and Meditation: Anthropos is a new kind of festival with stunning visual art, diverse electronic beats and live acts held in Baldok, UK. Workshops, lectures, discussions, healing area, welfare, live painting, artistic involvement, spa & sauna spaces!
Anthropos invites you to the forest and the fields, out into nature: to re-wire yourself to the source. From an ancient seed an unforgettable and unique tribal celebration is growing. Stunning visual art, collective diverse electronic beats and live acts. Human connection, ceremonies and deep meditation. Teaching and learning.
Rootwire Fest (no 2021 or future dates announced)
Rootwire Fest is a four day & night transformational experience located in Terra Alta, West Virginia, designed to celebrate and inspire love, beauty, music, community building and shared consciousness. Everyone in attendance: musicians, artists, presenters, organizers, volunteers, staff, vendors, cooks, attendees — everyone! — is asked to actively participate in the transformational act of personal and collective creation. We hope that from day one everyone is there thinking, “Love starts from me!” and goes back home four days later feeling it ten times stronger. Rootwire Music and Arts Festival is all about shifting focus. To free ourselves from the mundane and nihilistic viewpoints of large corporate festivals that only exist to make profits, we have put in the effort to avoid all the common pitfalls of today’s modern music festivals. To bring about ideals of enlightenment, community, and social change that is real and tangible. In our travels as Rootwire Co-Creators, we have met amazing artists, performers, and musicians who are sending the very same vibrations we work so hard to recreate on a daily basis. We have collected a lineup that will not only deeply move and impress fans, but serve as a reminder that real good underground music and art exists today in full swing.
Sonic Bloom (returns June 16-19, 2022)
Sonic Bloom is a 4-day camping festival that brings electronic music, dance, art and human performance together in an atmosphere that inspires open channels of creativity for everyone involved, especially the audience… We have the ability to create a resonant field in which to unify all forms of human creative expression. Come participate with some of the highest quality live electronic artists and most cutting-edge producers to create what is an incredibly intimate boutique festival experience… a unified field. Festival location is Colorado.
Unifier (returns on Summer Solstice 2021)
We were born to live creatively. Let’s come together and dare to be inspiring. Let’s create culture together. Through sharing wisdom, ideas, dancing, singing, painting, sharing story, poem and song, balancing our minds, our hearts and our bodies, and honoring nature, ourselves and one another, we come together without excuse to share our beauty. Unifier Festival will bring together an amazing group of inspirational artists and educators. This is a sacred celebration of all that we are and all that we can be. Honoring and bringing together different sub-cultures this gathering is a yoga festival, it is a tribal belly dance festival. It is a world and sacred music festival, and dance party, a live art show, a place for ceremony, for permaculture, for sculptural works and circus arts. It is a place to care for the land and to eat organic food, and to be inspired and inspire our kids and our elders. Festival location is Tolland, MA.
Stilldream Festival (returns June 17-21, 2021)
Located in Belden, CA, Stilldream was formed in June of 2000, by a group of like minded individuals from the Sierra Foothills, and Sacramento, interested in the preservation of events of an earthy, intimate nature, which were becoming more and more scarce at the time. A common love for music, community, nature, culture, and consciousness has encouraged us all to unite and give back to the community that has always given us love, inspiration and provided growth. In the short years of our existence, Stilldream has gone from throwing intimate parties for our friends in a barn, to inviting thousands to take a part in our events in venues with decades of rich musical history. We continue to look forward to the evolution of our events, as well as the many new faces who believe in the dream and help us push it forward every year. We hope you enjoy your stay!
Shankra Festival (returns July 7-11, 2021)
Located in Lostallo, Switzerland, Shankra Festival offers a six-day experience in an uplifting natural ambient below the summer sky, to celebrate life connecting with people from all over the world. Shankra Festival offers a beautiful camping area in the middle of a valley which is crossed by river Moesa and surrounded by the mountains.
During the years, our musical mission shaped itself to become a loud Message: we believe in pure music, bare from the influences of success and popularity, freely expressed by whoever really commits in its creation. Our line-up, gradually growing, is a well-thought program that differs from other major events, consciously including more and more emergent artists, uprooting the “headliners” system, presenting to the audience innovative acts: you will have the chance to be part of one-of-a-kind shows, driven by enthusiasm and energy.
Oregon Country Fair (no 2021 dates announced)
The annual Oregon Country Fair near Veneta, Oregon, has hundreds of world class entertainers and performers, hand craft artisans and gourmet food creators lining up to provide, once again, an experience unequaled in the festival world. Absorb other-worldly path ambiance, parades and surprises around every bend. Dress up and come ready to participate in a time-of-your-life cultural immersion. The Oregon Country Fair creates a world unlike any other in a magical wooded setting embracing the meandering banks of the Long Tom River. The Oregon Country Fair creates events and experiences that nourish the spirit, explore living artfully and authentically on Earth, and transform culture in magical, joyous and healthy ways.
Bass Coast (returns July 9-12th, 2021)
Bass Coast‘s mission is to contemplate, to educate, to innovate and to CREATE! This is our festival. This is our coast. This is our Culture. Bass Coast’s primary vision is to contribute to the West Coast electronic arts community, by building a festival with international recognition. We are very proud to be west-coaster’s with the name BASS COAST; having the initials of the land and environment we are deeply connected to. The love of electronic music, community, and creative innovation in all forms, is at the core of the experience we are passionate about providing. The rich culture that surrounds our music is a creative community of artists, scientists, designers, yogi’s, environmentalists, freedom fighters, business minds, intellectuals, party-goers, poets and dancers. We believe the Bass Coast community is a supportive environment where we hope to inspire each participant to find deeper layers of themselves. Festival location is Merritt, BC.
BOOM Festival (returns July 22-29, 2021)
Located in Portugal, BOOM is not a festival only, it is a state of mind. The Boom mirror the changes that evolve in the universe by developing a unique experience that includes enjoying nature, neo-tribalism, some of the best contemporary music, mind-stimulating lectures by global activists, and inspiration of the finest art and performing arts. The idea is to create a space in this time continuum in which people from across the world can converge to experience an alternative reality – thus inspiring us to collectively channel the universal truth.
Cascadia (no 2021 dates announced)
Cascadia Festival (formerly Photosynthesis) is a Multimedia Arts and Music Festival epically located in Granite Falls, WA. Our goal is to create an Arts and Music Festival where people from all walks in life, and all tastes in music are welcome and feel at home. We seek a sustainable community, fueled by inspiration, creativity, intimacy and ingenuity. We hope to provide a platform where everyone can learn, share, participate, create and grow. We know how strong we are together, and we wish to use that strength to cultivate unconditional love, compassion, acceptance, community and creativity. We wish to expose the beauty in all things and all dreams. Together we create intent from desire, deed from intent, and destiny from deed.
OZORA (returns August 2-8th, 2021)
Reaching out into the deepest realms of your imagination and displaying, sharing that glorious, that grotesque, that unparalleled treasure you find within is one of the pillars of the Ozora experience. The experience of a parallel existence created by our diversely colored dreams and visions of the same pure unblemished space, paradise on earth, our fairy tale. A universe of openness, togetherness, where we can evolve towards becoming one with cosmic energies, with nature, with consciousness, with wholeness through dance, trance, creation, invention, transformation and peace. A playground where we learn to share and care, to express and connect, to create and heal, to unify and beautify the world around us and in us. Festival location is in Hungary.
Beloved (returns in 2021)
Through the ages, we have called upon the One for Whom we yearn in countless ways, through myriad names. The term “The Beloved” embraces all of these names and forms of the Divine, affirming their Unity. Beloved is also a 4 day camping, art, and music festival on the Oregon Coast. We intend to present sacred music to help eradicate the illusion of separation from each other, from the earth and from The Beloved. We believe that the presentation of diverse expressions of sacred music at a single venue demonstrates their common Origin and our shared relationship as a global community of contemporary devotees. Through spiritual practices, we listen to the Divine communicate in the language of the Divine; through art and music, we express to humanity in the language of humanity. Each tradition communicates the Mystery and Love of the Divine in the language of a people, place and time. The current emergence of electronic dance music is for millions the language of their people, place and time.
Inshala (no 2021 dates announced)
Inshala is a transformational festival, held in the great outdoors of Southern Alberta, Canada. Inshala is a co-created gathering of people from many communities. People come from near and far to share their insights, talents and passions with each other. The Conference offers a variety of experiences from Speakers, to Movement Workshops, and Art Explorations; held within a chill space named The Desa.
This is a Multi-Generational event where all ages are welcome. Through collaborations and co-existing at Inshala, may we truly inspire each other to live our dreams awake.
Motion Notion (no dates since 2019)
>Motion Notion Festival is an exploration of electronic music, art, nature, and the infinite in the heart of Rocky Mountains near Golden BC, Canada. Motion Notion has always been something off the beaten path and a thing of discovery and amazement for all. Welcome to freedom and growth! ‘MOTION NOTION’ is a meaningful name chosen with intention. It should be understood as, ‘The Movement Idea’, or ‘Movement Is Existence’. The concept that the flux of the universe is the essence of Being and that every human, planet, solar system, and galaxy must maintain continuous flux to exist.
“Experiencing music and art in nature helps people to feel the essence of Humanity, the Earth, and the Universe… One sacred rhythm beats within all people and throughout space and time- this primal pulse is what I endeavor to understand and why I continue to create the Motion Notion Festival.” -James Katalyst (Festival founder)
Psy-Fi – Guardians of Gaia (returns in 2022)
Hosted at Leeuwarden, Netherlands, Psy-Fi festival is about a lot more than music. It’s about connecting people from all over the world. No matter gender, race, religion or color we come together as one. We offer extensive learning programs on our sacred island covering topics such as Psychedelics, Psychology, society, religion, permaculture, sustainability, ancient cultures, Shamanism and dance. It offers the experience of 5 days and 4 nights of Psychedelic culture: 6 beaches, 5 stages, 2 islands, and swim lakes.
Burning Man (VIRTUAL BLACK ROCK CITY – no 2021 dates yet)
Burning Man is an annual event and a thriving year-round culture. The event takes place the week leading up to and including Labor Day, in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. The Burning Man organization (Black Rock City LLC) creates the infrastructure of Black Rock City, wherein attendees (or “participants”) dedicate themselves to the spirit of community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. They depart one week later, leaving no trace. What started out as a small event on San Francisco’s Baker Beach and then migrated to the Black Rock Desert has now morphed into a vibrant global year-round culture of like-minded individuals who seek to live their lives in a more meaningful, powerful and self-expressed way.
Resonance Festival (September 16-19, 2021)
The law of Resonance provides the answers as to how the law of attraction operates and creates the events, conditions and circumstances in your life. A gathering of like minded, motivated, music loving individuals.
Festival location is Slippery Rock, PA.
Patagonia 2020 Festival (no 2021 or future dates announced)
Global Eclipse is comprised of event producers, artists, and creators from all over the world. The core of the group is Symbiosis who have produced Symbiosis Gathering in California since 2005, an annular eclipse gathering in Nevada in 2012, co-produced the Total Solar Eclipse in north Queensland, Australia in 2012, and Oregon Eclipse in 2017.
The 2017 event brought together 12 festivals from around the world in a collaboration to celebrate a solar eclipse. The 2020 event will change the game again.
Art Outside (no 2021 or future dates announced)
Art Outside is a unique three day festival combining visual and interactive art, performance, film, as well as a wide range of music bridging genres, from bluegrass to experimental, hip-hop to dance music. Art Outside started with the idea to bring art out of the gallery and into a unique setting where different forms of art can connect and be enjoyed by all. The festival takes place at Apache Pass in Rockdale, Texas. This site features hundreds of acres of grassy camping areas and lush pecan trees scattered throughout.
Every year, artists from all over the world bring their works and their presence to Art Outside. From dancers to painters to new media makers – Art Outside is teeming with creativity of all forms. You are sure to meet some of the most talented and amazing artists here.
For a list of festivals, including Flow Arts and fire dancing, please visit Festival Fire. Festival Fire is a blog & website that offers Festival news, calendars, early ticket dates, photos, videos, and fashion.
Check out Everfest, your guide to the world’s best festivals, curated by hospitality guru Chip Conley and his team of travel experts. We’re starting a movement and invite you to become more culturally curious through the transformative territory of festivals. From celebrations of music, film and food to rituals of the sacred, silly and profane, step outside your comfort zone and reconnect with humanity.
Visit the Festivals Directory for a list of some of the world’s top festivals.
Showmigo (A fusion between FestEvo and RollRandom) provides music fans with a platform for meeting new friends with the same music taste. Whether you are into electronic, hip hop, reggae, or opera, Showmigo provides tools fans need to have their best experience before, during, and after the event.
Festival Earth also is also dedicated to helping you discover the world’s best festivals, parties and cultural events.Bringing you festivals like ACL, Ati-Atihan, Bonnaroo, Boom, Boryeong Mud, Bestival, Burning Man, Calgary Stampede, Cannes Film Festival, Camino de Santiago, Carnival, Cherry Blossom, Coachella, Download, Exit, Fringe, Fusion, Gay Pride Parade, Glastonbury, Global Gatherings, Grand Prix, Halloween, Harbin Ice, Harmony, Hogmanay, Holi, Iditarod, Il Palio, Inti Raymi, Jamcruise, Jazzfest, KaZantip, Kentucky Derby, Kumbh Mela, Mardi Gras, Masquerades, Melbourne Cup, Naadam, New Years Eve, Oktoberfest, Oxegen, Pinkpop, Primavera Sound, Provissirock, Rock am Ring, Roskilde, Running of the Bulls, Santacon, Sasquatch, Sonar, St Patricks, Street Parade, Sundance, Superbowl, Songkran Water, Splashy Fen, Sturgis, SXSW, Sziget, Thaipusam, UFO, Ultra, Voodoo, Wimbleton, White Nights and many more.
Ever since his 2011 Coachella experience, Tucker Gumber has made it his mission to unite the Festival Community and work together to improve festivals. Check out his documented festival experience via his site The Festival Guy. He’s also the creator of the FestEvo app, now called Showmigo, a mobile app & website created for users to connect with friends and festivals across the USA.
For a list of Transformational Festival survival guides, please see links below:
Envision Festival (Rancho La Merced, Uvita, Costa Rica)
Burning Man (Black Rock Desert, Nevada)
TEDxVancouver – Jeet Kei Leung – Transformational Festivals
At TEDxVancouver 2010, Jeet Kei Leung takes the crowd on a journey through the world and experiences of transformational festivals! Watch his TEDx talk here.