Deep in the jungle, along the mountain-crested beaches of Uvita, Costa Rica is a goldmine of a festival. For it's ninth consecutive year, Envision Fest unfolds in a majestic space for expression, interaction, and healing for international electronic music lovers. From the well-rounded production and intricate stage designs to the diversely stacked lineup, this event consistently sets the standard for transformative destination festivals.
When the factors of a festival fall gracefully into place, backed by intention and positivity, like-minded festival goers are manifested from all corners of the world. Austria, Australia, Canada, California, Costa Rica, Colorado, and Germany are just a few of the places I met people from at Envision. Aside from the alphabet soup of diversity, this wasn't Ibiza! Envision was still a nitty-gritty camping festival in the jungle. And, if I'm being brutally honest, it was not an easy one to camp at due to the high humidity, constant sunshine, and unrelenting heat. However, these conditions only united us to support each other. Whether that support came in the form of sharing water, a sweaty-but-genuine hug, a conversation about general well-being and mindset, or simply a smile to a passerby, there wasn't a lack of festie love and care at Envision.
A primary factor I appreciated at this rugged destination fest were the plethora of healing spaces. Outside of the medic tent, there was a herbal first-aid tent, Village Witches, the Zendo lounge, the Red Tent, and yoga and meditation structures. I've never felt so comfortable utilizing these spaces as well. In fact, several of the people I spoke with at the festival mentioned having to recover from exhaustion or dehydration and didn't hesitate to utilize these resources. Another aspect I think Envision is doing right is maintaining the Zendo lounge. This volunteer-based project is a space demonstrating the merits of psychedelic harm reduction programs in real world situations, without straining the resources of law enforcement or the mental well-being of the person.
Between dancing all night into sunrise to non-stop jungle house or downtempo tribal melodies, I had to take a break to attend a few workshops and yoga classes. In the Red Tent, I attended workshops called “Orgasms for Health” and “Mirroring the Mother”, both from feminine-empowering speakers that enlightened me with some pretty far-out, yet real and healing concepts. The Village Witches & Elixir Bar were another healing segment of Envision that I enjoyed. At the Elixir bar, I tried a concoction of cacao and medicinal mushrooms that gave me a surge of energy and clarity when dancing levels started to dwindle. Meditative workshops help rejuvenate my mind as well. I attended workshops called Astral Connection and Conscious Cock. The Conscious Cock workshop discussed consent i.e. how to ask for what you want, how to communicate if you don't want something, etc. This might have seemed obvious however, its a real conundrum in our current society. After the consent speech, we put it into practice! I remember it ended with me (25yo woman) being “big spoon” to three burly dudes all attempting to tickle a man who claimed to not be ticklish. Of course, only after asking if we could try and him giving us the green light.
Aside from the extra-curricular festival activities, the hand-curated lineup and carefully crafted production exceeded my expectations. The Lapa stage, closest to the beach, featured artists that played underground tribal and jungle sounds, mostly repetitive 4×4 deep house music. Artists that I caught on this stage included Javier Portilla, Melissa O, Lee Burridge, Saqi, and Sabo to name a few. Meanwhile, The Luna stage was hands down my favorite and I had a difficult time stepping away to explore other sets. This earth-inspired stage took approximately three months to build and the visuals and performers accompanying the talented producers were mind-blowing. Drawing me in without release were producers such as Clozee, Esseks, Random Ram, Grouch, Tycho, Detox Unit, Nicola Cruz, An-Ten-Nae, and so much more! Several times I caught myself mesmerized just standing still, mouth agape watching the assortment of fire performers, aerialists, and other-worldly dancers. Furthermore, the performers were backed by psychedelic morphing, 3D-mapped visuals and a stellar lazer light show. Over at the Sol Stage, I got down to Too Many Zoos, Griz, Grouch In, and the Floozies. Too Many Zoos were a highlight with their energetic horns and parading amongst the crowd.
Undoubtedly I was expecting Envision to be a unique festival, but the level of production at this Costa Rican locale needs to be experienced to even begin to grasp. If meeting people from all over the world, dancing on the beach to drum circles at sunset, and joining the cicadas in their sunrise song to class-act producers sounds like a good time to you, you're in for a treat at Envision. Don't just take my word for it either, take a leap of faith and attend this transformative, healing, and mesmerizing festival. You won't regret it. See you there in 2020!