This article is dedicated to Nicholas Alvarado (Pumpkin). Thank you for sharing your brilliant Light with all of us.
I found myself once again in the mountains of Santa Barbara surrounded by beautiful smiles and awakened eyes. Melodies of music permeate the air, accompanied by a fresh moist breeze with the occasional smell of Palo Santo or Nag Champa. A slight chill kept most people in warm outerwear as the forecast called for showers. It is the fifth year in Lucidity Festival’s six year story. Through all of my years of being human, and hundred’s of psychedelic experiences, I have discovered intention to be one of the greatest attribute’s of an action or an event. I have been to many festivals as a artist, as well as a spectator. I came to Lucidity this year to explore the meaning of the festival’s intention, as well as their plans for the future.
Southern California has been the home to many festivals throughout the years. Some have had so much success, it seems as though their intention had been lost, or perhaps their vision had changed. For a transformational festival to actually work, there seems to be a certain type of cosmic glue that keeps it all together, I like to call it love. However, money can influence the direction of a gathering. The love seems to be lost and it can feel like just another party. Once the enthogenic medicine takes effect, the transparency of everything around you becomes clear.
The six year story – a two part trilogy, was a concept conceived through a lucid dream by producer Jonah Haas. He collaborated with the event’s art curator Luke Holden to refine the vision. The dream came after the festival’s first year, and has been held annually since 2012 at Live Oak Campground.
“The original intention was to create an arts community locally for Santa Barbara. We had an open community meeting and did a brainstorm session. We asked what are the values in which you want to create an event together” Jonah explained. Through that, they organized the information and came into their Seven Core Values.
He continued, “The heart of the intention behind Lucidity is to really advance those seven core values” which include, Personal Growth & Healing, Awake & Aware Consciousness, Participation & Immersion in the Artistic Process, Social & Environmental Responsibility, Family Fun & Creative Play, Communal Reciprocity, & Transparency.
Overall, I would say they did a good job at staying true to their core values. This year, it seemed to focus more on the workshops and community. Their music lineup was very different compared to the years past. They had combined their Live Stage and Electronic Stage into one Main Stage, providing different types of music for the different nights. However, this change may have effected ticket sales. As of Friday there were still 100 tickets left for sale, whereas in the years past they had sold out before the event even started. Another variable is that there were many more collaborators (comped tickets), which provided less available tickets to sell. A collaborator is anyone who is participating with Lucidity, this could mean doing a workshop, providing art, creating an environment or art installation. A real challenge where intention and production meet head to head.
The question on everyone’s mind is what will happen when the six year story is compete? I asked some attendees and there seemed to be some rumors going around – “I heard they are trying to take it internationally, to spread awareness of sustainability all over the world” – (i.e. Lucidity Australia, or different parts of the country) Another said, “I heard they are looking to get sponsorship to build a more permanent sustainable land.”
When I sat down with Jonah on the Friday (the first day of the event) and asked him the rumors and what happens after the six year story.
He said “All of these rumors are possibilities, we are open to what wants to happen” One possibility, is to stay in Live Oak and start a new trilogy, another option is to move to a new venue, another option is to find land where there may be an event once a year – but not a permanent festival ground. It would be more of a grounded community with occasional events.
As he explained, “As much as we try to keep it (the festival) sustainable, it isn’t.” They seem to be looking at the bigger picture of their own carbon footprint and direction.
“We want to shift our focus,” Jonah explains, looking to invoke “truly transformational educational experiences that have a positive impact on the planet” through things like their Lucid University Course Week (4 day intensive of workshops on the festival grounds prior to the event). So less focus on the party and more focus on the education of things like permaculture, arts & healing.
There seems to be a bit more diversity and family at this event than others I’ve attended. They have different camps with different types of music after hours, (Lover’s Nest, Healing Sanctuary, Goddess Grove, Tricksters Playground, Nomads Nook & Family Camp) When we strolled through the family camp, I felt like I was in a whole different world with a mini stage set up for the kids, seeing the next generation emerging with a unique environment to experience.
Yet, there is always a dark side to psychedelic environments. Both Saturday and Sunday night there were some sort of freak-out-moments where police were involved. It seemed to me that the festival’s staff did a good job handling the situations. However, incidences like these do not depend 100% on the festival. This responsibility relies on the participants and their intention in the medicine they decide to take. The festival creates the container and it’s up to us on how we interact with the environment.
The counterculture is alive and well. The illuminated smiles, warm hugs and open hearts are truly the cosmic glue which binds us all together, allowing authenticity and creativity to shine in the darkest of corners. The world needs us, yet we need structure and intention to move forward. Where are we going and what exactly are we doing with all of it is to be determined, and really… it’s up to all of us to decide. Our Story is to be continued…