Envision Festival 2013 :: Paradise is Calling

Envision Festival 2013 :: Paradise is Calling

“This festival was created to initiate a “blast off for people to really tap into their potential, to transform, evolve, to grow, to become more aware”

~ Sofiah Thom, Coproducer of Envision Festival


The beach at Envision FestivalDominical is perched alongside the warm Pacific Ocean amidst lush green jungles of Costa Rica.  For six days out of the year, this quaint surf town now serves as the home to growing phenomena known as the Envision Festival. With a rich schedule of yoga & movement workshops, educational speakers, world-class musical acts, as well as incredible visual and performance art and installations, this offering of carefully curated experiences is intended to ignite personal transformation in an environment that encourages deep connections to nature.  The combination of entertainment and education is designed to encourage evolutionary relationships to oneself, one’s community (both immediate and global), and the environment.  With an emphasis on sustainability, practices that promote mindfulness and awareness, and music and art directed at unlocking the spiritual dimensions, this event is not to be missed.

While many friends are boarding planes, or perhaps already living the “Pura Vida” on one of the pre-Envision tours, I got a chance to catch up with co-founder Sofiah Thom via Skype.  As I sat in my LA apartment, allowing the blend of waves crashing, birds calling, and wind bristling the tops of palm trees to wash over me from Sofiah’s outdoor “office”, I was transported to Domincal. The sound emanating through the computer is enough to ease any human into a state of deep relaxation and gentle bliss.  It is easy to see why Sofiah, a self -described nomad, chose to put down roots in Costa Rica. She and her husband, Brendan Jaffer Thom who has been a resident of Costa Rica for 20 years, opened  Bamboo YogaPlay retreat center in 2007.  In 2010, they invited 200 friends and family down to the property for a three-day wedding festival.  As the fates would have it, their wedding serves as precursor to what would become Envision Festival.  Upon meeting Josh Wendel, local restaurant/bar owner and fellow ex-pat resident of Domincal, who introduced the couple to three dreamers from Colorado (Justin Brothers, Matt Siegel, and Jessica McStravick) the perfect team was coalesced.  Brendan’s extensive knowledge of how to get things done in Costa Rica, as well as his great relationships with the locals of Dominical, created the opportunity to bring the vision of a festival in paradise to life.

Now in it’s third installment, attendees can expect a world class line-up including headliners such as Beats Antique, Random Rab, Phuturprimitive, Emancipator, David Starfire, Desert Dwellers, Govinda, Love & Light, Gaudi, Kaminanda, Adam Shaikh, and many more.

Tea Lounge at Envision FestivalEmphasizing the movement of this culture to celebrate together in a way that goes beyond just partying, this event is loaded with activities that extend outside the sonic realms. This is evidenced by a focused educational component that has become a trademark of the producer’s intention.  This platform was created to initiate a “blast off for people to really tap into their potential, to transform, evolve, to grow, to become more aware”, Sofiah said.  This empowers individuals to access creative source, so as to envision and maximize personal potential and realize the intrinsic power to manifest the reality of dreams.  Some featured workshops include “Planetary Initiation” by Daniel Pinchbeck, “Embodied Leadership” by Jamaica Stevens,  “Making Psychedelics Medicine” by Brad Burge,  “Unified Field Theory” by Jamie Janover,  “Medicine Plant Walk & Talk” by Sarah Wu, “Permaculture and Community Design” by Stephen Brooks, and so much more.

Performance Art at Envision FestivalOther things to look forward to include an array of incredible installation art and areas by Bamboo DNA, Carey Thompson, Harlan Emil, Nature Dreamweaver, and others. The Tribe13 Art Gallery will be back again featuring Android Jones, Mark Henson, Autumn Sky, Amanda Sage and many more of your favorite visionary artists. Forty live painters will be busy creating all weekend, including headliners Alex & Allyson Grey, whom are also presenting a workshop called “Body & Soul Drawing Ritual”.  Fifty yoga and movement classes are scheduled, including lessons in acro-yoga, kundalini dance, and yoga in motion taught by Sofiah Thom herself.  Performance art includes a myriad of fire dancing, prop manipulation and aerials acrobatics.  The opening ceremony will feature the core team of Envision as well as the indigenous Boruca Indians.  Sofiah is also hosting a daily post-sunset ritual by powerful goddesses under the Earth Harp, which is returning again with Andrea Brook at the helm.  A kids zone includes scheduled activities, the healing sanctuary features body work and workshops. There will be a tea lounge and multiple food vendors featuring locally grown healthful meals.

Waterfall near Envision FestivalWhy Costa Rica? Sofiah understands the importance of travel as a means to stepping out of comfort zones and letting contact with new cultures reveal new realities. Traveling is fundamental to developing an expanded worldview and appreciation for life, and can greatly further personal development.  Some of the difficulties of journeying abroad are made easier by things like travel assistance, shuttles directly from San Jose International Airport, and the option to rent a tent, all offered by Envision.  Another unique aspect to this event is the plethora of adventure tours available, including ATV riding, encounters with dolphins and whales, scuba diving, surf lessons, kayaking, and canopy tours.  Why not take complete advantage of your invitation to Costa Rica?

With a stunning location, solid team, strong foundation, and a growing number of attendees it is clear that Envision Festival is here to stay.  The local community enjoys how much abundance is brought in, and what is given back to them.  Over the past few years, the producers have donated thousands to contribute towards local schools, the building of roads, and the construction of the police station.  Many take advantage of discounted prices for locals and attend the festival, and many volunteer in the project.

Between the expansion of Bamboo Yoga Play to include eco-accommodations in recycled shipping containers, the partnership with Stephen Brooks and Sarah Wu of Punte Mona Center for Sustainable Living and Education  (also located in Costa Rica), to Josh Wendel’s local restaurant and his eco-sanctuary Selva Armonia retreat in Uvita, a few miles south of Dominical, the producers of Envision Festival are doing much more than launching one stellar event a year. They are creating a hub in an oasis filled with natural energy, and inviting the world to experience their little slice of heaven.  All that is left to do is clasp our hands together in gratitude for this invitation.  Oh, and get on an airplane today!

I ended our conversation by asking Sofiah what advice she had for those seeking to turn their wildest fantasies into reality, and she offered this final piece of wisdom:

“Step into a place of surrender and trust that everything is divine and perfect. Allow yourself to become aligned with what brings you alive inside.”

Envision starts this Wednesday and will be live streaming at uStream thanks to LostinSound. We at SolPurpose are wishing all a safe and healthy transformative experience in Costa Rica!

Feature by Liana |  Photography by Zipporah  |  Curation by Josh Davis