Guest Writer: Megan A. Neault
Every year, it’s the same. Every year, after the summer sun waves its final goodbye to the festival season and gives way to the excitement of the next; I gather up my precious experiences, give them a tight hug before letting them go, so that next summer, I can do the same.
I never really knew why I started coming to electronic/psy-trance music festivals, but once I started, the urge to continue to be a part of this – what can only be described as magic – was not only a part of my life, but a piece of my being.
I started attending these festivals as an 18-year-old living in Canada in a world shaded in black and white. Whether the attendance to my first Shambhala was a rebellious one or an act of true curiosity and wonder – I will never know. What I do know, however, is that it shook the very bedrock in which all my previous knowledge stood firm. This world rocketed vibrancy into my dull, colorless world. It gave me choices, it gave me pathways, it gave me opportunities to form my own opinions, my own beliefs and most importantly – my own sense of freedom.
Nervousness stirred with excitement and unending questions led the way to my first festival, and this tradition has not stopped. It in fact, has been a source of fuel as I journey through life, breathing in its opportunities for growth and knowledge. My first Shambhala changed my life, and every festival after that has been a constant refreshing splash of chroma, a reminder of the beauty of contrast, of perspectives and acceptance. Luckily enough, the sparkle and the frequency of these festivals don’t stop after a week-long submersion in a pop-up community. Its enchantment spreads its roots deep enough, that you can carry it with you back into your everyday realm.
Now I’m sure you have some blaring questions, or maybe you don’t – but I’ll explain my take on why and how these festivals have become such an integral part of my being and why I make a humble suggestion of giving them a try for yourself.
Let’s first address the “how” – how these festivals create such magic and movement within me and every other person whom I’ve shared the experience with.
If I were a doctor, a festival is the medicine I would prescribe because it is place that allows for self-expression in a non-judgmental environment. It is a space in which one can release themselves from social constructions, from expectations and the rules of everyday society. It is a place to feel yourself for the first time and share that beautiful soul to the rest of the world. Each gathering provides a foundation based on love and acceptance. Each festival is a representation of love and respect, not only for thyself, but for every piece in which the whole is made. These communities, these tribal villages provide an opening to existence at its most basic form. Love.
Whether it is through a joint consciousness, a joint understanding of this basicness or because each and every one of us is striving for acceptance or simply the tribal frequencies beating through our being, I do not know. What I do know, is that these festivals are a unique blend of openness, growth, acceptance and spirit, which not only improves the self, but in that self-improvement provides empowerment to be part of positive changes in the world. I think at this point – the answer to “why” is self-explanatory, but just to emphasize why these festivals are unlike the rest, I’ll address the “why” too.
Surely enough, if you read about these types of festivals on the net, the word ‘drugs’ usually is mentioned somewhere along the lines. ‘New Age Hippies and Their Drugs’ may read across your screen in some black and white telling of what to expect at these festivals. Though drugs are everywhere – from the medicine cabinet in your home to the CEO office in downtown New York, these festivals can be given a negative cold shoulder by those who with their prisms locked in their pockets.
Dig deeper, reach into your pocket and put the prism to your eyes. What you will see is the children playing freely with their imagination. You will see families, you will see how beautiful every single person is – through the natural, naked bodies to the creatively coloured ones. . Feel the grass between your toes – don’t worry, you won’t step on glass. At these festivals, a general sense of care for the environment is upheld. No cigarette butts laying everywhere, no garbage discarded at a whim. The treatment of the environment is also reflected in the treatment of one another. Why I suggest these festivals over any other, is, in a nutshell, because of this. We are one.
Fast Forward – I’m 25 now, living in Europe and recently returned from two festivals: Ozora in Hungary and Lost Theory in Croatia. And though I have been around the festival block, each time I return to these lands of wonder, I find more of myself. From the city of Ozora to the country town of Lost Theory, I have discovered and uncovered a deeper connection to the whole that surrounds me. From the in to the out and the out to the in. I breathe.
So, if you find yourself wandering, looking for some traction on some muddy road, give a psy-trance festival a look. Whatever fears or worries holding you back are welcomed there and without a doubt, transformed into your greatest accomplishments. There is a reason these psy-trance festivals have been given the gracious title of ‘tranceformational’.