An entire summer without a music festival? Sorry, not going to happen. After working as a vendor at music festivals for two summers, I did not like the idea of missing out on those beautiful festy vibes for a whole year. So after a summer in Ketchikan, AK, Ciarra and I decided to head south for Symbiosis Gathering!
Symbiosis was held during the third weekend in September in Oakdale, CA. This was the last year it was going to be at this spot, so we made a little extra effort in making our way down to Central California. We united with some of our festival family and got a good dosage of that festival magic we’d been missing!
Symbiosis follows Burning Man in the festival lineup and so some of that magic definitely carries over. You could see it in art installations, decked out camps, and of course you’d hear someone mention The Burn probably every 15 minutes. Symbiosis is even described as a miniature burning man. I’ve never been to BM, myself. It’s just so big! It seems like such a big commitment. Of course, I still want to go and I will when the time is right. And then, I’ll finally understand. But these smaller music festivals, like Symbiosis, just have such a special place in my heart.
The visual playground for your festival experience was amazing! Every time we walked through Symbiosis, I saw something new that tickled my fancy. Interactive, geometric, massive, flame throwing, and light show installations were all over the place! My eyeballs couldn’t get enough.
When the people putting on the music festival considerate a massive art project, you know you’re in for a wild ride as a result of sincere passion.
In between so much music, like Rising Appalachia, Dirwire, Gramatik, Beats Antique, Ott, Desert Dwellers, FKJ, Claude Vonstroke, and so much more, there was so much to do! Festivals like this are my favorite. I still want to dance all day and all night. Believe me. But I’m also an observer. I love to sit and watch, whether it’s people, live art, a light show, whatever, I just love it.
Ciarra imitating one of my favorite pieces!
This woman is made entirely of driftwood. It was simple but one of my absolute favorite pieces at Symbiosis. It all just flowed so well, you couldn’t even tell what it was made of until you got close. I can’t remember the artist’s name though and can’t find it online. If anyone knows, leave a comment (:
The grounds were covered in inspiring art installations for the visual and for the soul. Frequenting the food vendors menus were organic ingredients (priced as such) and all sorts of yummy energy boosting beverages to substitute that morning after bloody mary. There was a good amount of recycling bins and plenty of volunteers wandering the festival at all times picking up garbage.
Oh, did I mentioned the entire festival is basically surrounded by water? And there was a stage area called Swimbiosis (if you didn’t guess, this was it) and it’s like the biggest pool party with awesome music and infinite floaties and rad people?
One thing that bugged me about this was that there were a lot of abandoned floaties, among other things, left behind in the water by festival goers. I didn’t bring any water toys and by Sunday morning when I went out to Swimbiosis with a couple friends who were also without floating devices, within 10 minutes, we had all acquired our own device because we realized they were just abandoned there. Which, at the time was super rad! But still, it’s a lot of clean up, and who knows what all lies underneath the surface now?
Just another reminder that when we have gatherings like this, we have to be extra aware of our footprint. These gatherings are usually held outside of towns in places without many people to avoid noise complains and to provide camping space. That means a lot of people existing in a small space that’s hardly used to seeing any people. What I’m saying is that it’s a whole hell lot of wear and tear! Be mindful.
Just little things here and there to remind you to be present. No there was not much for phone service, maybe just enough to send a text here and there to meet up with friends. But who cares. The festival gods always help you find your friends, am I right? (:
Some of my favorite ladies, reunited for a weekend of shenanigans! The girl with the sign is just killing it. No, none of us knew her until that moment. Job well dome though, my dear. And well, these are some of the best idiots I’ve ever known.
This is Piper. My alter ego. She gets funky. She has a short burgundy hair cut. She loves lipstick and glitter. Sometimes rocks large men’s overalls and sort of acts like a rag doll. And other times, she’s a caped goddess. Either way, she gets down. You’d like Piper.
What is it about festivals that I just can’t get enough of? There’s the art installations, the music of course, the family of friends who frequent them, and then there’s the ultimate acceptance. Do you, boo. Be whoever you want. Dress however you want. It’s understood that the characters that frequent these gatherings are part of what creates the entire vibe. It’s fucking magical, man.
Look out for next year! Symbiosis has joined forces with other festival groups from all over the world to bring us Oregon Eclipse! Weeee!