In 2013 I attended Symbiosis Gathering and had the worst time; no, not because of the festival. I was going through some personal hardships throughout my whole experience. Even though Symbiosis is where all shit came to a head, I don’t think I could have been anywhere else at that moment in my life. Symbiosis helped me work through my difficult experience as I could easily distract myself with art, music, community, yoga, and culture; I am so grateful that Symbiosis was the comfort in my time of hurt.
Fast-forward two years later and I was excited to attend Symbiosis for their 10 year anniversary; I had a feeling that it was going to be the cherry on top of my festival season and they truly did not disappoint. Symbiosis might be a decompression from the Burn for many, but that definitely doesn’t mean that it’s a snooze-fest. Epic art installations placed around the grounds, numerous decorative stages both on land and in the water, a permaculture action hub, and countless other nooks and crannies filled with fun make this festival a playground that operates around the clock. One spot my friends and I found ourselves throughout the weekend was The Hub. This section of the festival served as a food-court-esque area where attendees could relax while they ate their meals, but could also watch hilarious comedy acts, satirical game shows, and karaoke. Sometimes there’s nothing better than resting your feet, indulging in a good meal, and laughing with your friends.
Friday night watching The Polish Ambassador at The Big Island was a musical highlight of my weekend. I generally don’t tend to migrate to Polish during a festival, the reason I am unsure of, but on Friday night a large group of friends and I danced around each other with face-stretching grins and it is a moment I will never forget. The lighthearted, happy, and melodic music from the man in the glittery onesie kick-started the festival weekend and proved that while seeing your favorite artist at a festival is cool, all it takes is one good set from any talented artist to bring everyone together in a united community.
The days were hot, sweaty and dust-covered, but there was a perfect remedy for that all and that was the reservoir. The majority of my days were spent floating around in an inner tube people watching and water-fighting with friends while music flooded from the Swimbiosis stage speakers. Another location that housed multiple wet bodies was the section of the reservoir located near The Grotto. A floating tree house with working water wheel and multiple water slides floated around as swimmers flocked to it to dance and play on; yet another art piece at Symbiosis that was wild and weird.
As always, the festival has come to an end and people are voicing their likes and dislikes, and while I could easily use this platform to discuss the miniscule things that I didn’t like, I am and will continue to be a fan, supporter, and lover of Symbiosis. This festival is one that I am continuously learning and growing from whether it comes out in tears, laughter, dance, or hugs. I’d be lying if I said that Symbiosis was one constant heartbeat of happiness, but one thing that I find most beautiful about this festival is that all of the good and all of the bad has helped me and so many others transform ourselves into better beings; because if you’re not being challenged, how are you growing? Until next time, Symbiosis. Thank you.