The Envision Festival is back for it’s eighth year in a row, this February 21nd-26th in Uvita, Costa Rica, nestled in the Rancho La Merced National Wildlife Refuge, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from popular beaches such as Playa Hermosa on the country’s Pacific coast. The area is known for it’s extreme biodiversity, with species of reptiles, insects, mammals, and exotic birds. With eight “pillars” of focus: permaculture, spirituality, movement, art, music, community, health, and eco building, the Envision Festival provides something for everyone, hosting a broad spectrum of ideas. Not only is the experience noteworthy for the content, but single-use goods and plastics are banned, and every goody you’ll be salivating over will be organic and locally grown, so you can rest at ease knowing your 5-day festival fun won’t be leaving a massive mark on the ecosystem. Envision takes its consciousness to a level that is unheard of in most (if any) other festivals worldwide, by also locally sourcing natural materials to build the structures that artfully make up the “village”. Let’s go through the eight pillars one by one to see what exactly makes this festival standout from the crowd.
“Waterfalls. Elixir Bar. Apothecary. Permaculture. Herbal Medicine. Wild Monkeys & More.”
Permaculture: like it was already stated, structures are made from locally sourced materials, the scrumptious food you’ll be eating is locally grown and organic, and single-use goods and plastics are banned. It’s a Leave No Trace event, and uses compostable toilets, which saved 28,800 gallons (1.6gal/flush x 3 times/day x 6k people) of water per day in comparison to typical toilets in the US and Canada – these numbers are from 2015 and have improved in the past three years as well. In an effort to offset carbon emissions gathered from the journey of overseas visitors, the festival has partnered with Association Community Carbon Trees Costa Rica (ACCT), to give donations from funds raised towards maintaining trees of a diverse tropical selection. Again using 2015’s numbers, “an average round trip to and from the United States of 4,110 miles, each person would need to offset 2,240 pounds of carbon dioxide to completely offset their trip. Envision donations to ACCT in 2015 were enough to account for the planting and maintaining of 154 trees, which equates to 154 tons of carbon sequestered.”
Spirituality: the 5-day get-together tries to foster a feeling of inner harmony, and in the Healing Sanctuary you can find expert healers dealing with energy work, sound healing, and spiritual channelling. The Red Temple Movement also makes an appearance, known as a gathering of women to celebrate the mysteries of the divine feminine. So, sorry men, but you’ll have to find a yoga class instead, maybe the “Reclaiming the Masculine and Primal Flow” one?
Movement: Speaking of yoga, classes are held everyday, and to be honest as much of a music festival Envision is, it’s just as much a world class yoga festival. This year you can find Carson Calhoun, Cuchira, Kenny Graham, Gina Caputo, Andrew Sealy, Steph Gongora, Erin Kelly, Robin Martin, AubryMarie, Max & Liz, and many other renowned teachers in the worlds of yoga and dance. “Acroyoga 101”, “Epic Fusion: Pilates Mat + Vinyasa Yoga”, “Temple Body Arts: The Dance of Tantra”, “Invert Yo Self: Mini Handstand Workshop and Authentic Movements & Primal Artistry In Motion” are among the classes you can try your hand at.
Art: large art installations, live painting, and galleries are planned but the visual artist lineup has yet to be announced. What has been announced? Theater, aerials, fire, exotic dance and clownery, so really what more could you ask for? Seattle’s Acrobatic Conundrum, the Fractal Tribe, CirqueSanity, and Bijoulette are amongst the performers/groups scheduled.
Music: The full lineup was announced at the beginning of the month, with international DJs and producers, Xavier Rudd, TroyBoi, Clozee, Bob Moses, Thriftworks, DJ Tennis, Audio Fly, Chaim, Behrouz, Monolink, and The Russ Liquid Test. Latin American artists are heavily represented with Costa Ricans, Santos y Zurdo and Patterns, Argentina’s Chancha Via Circuito, and Chile’s Matanza. In a statement to the press, Josh Wendel, the co-founder and music director said, “We really wanted to bring in best in breed artists from every corner of the globe. But we also wanted to create a platform for some of the best emerging talent in Costa Rica and its neighbors. In addition to being our most intentional lineup yet, the artists we’ve got coming for Envision 2018 are both world famous and driven to achieve the same impact we want to make in the world. Through language and culture we’re united by the dream we share, and that just makes the experience of coming together on the same dancefloor so much more special.” Mike Love (no, not The Beach Boy, but the reggae singer), Desert Dwellers, Tara Brooks, Invisible People, and Manic Focus are also set to perform. You can find all artists on the lineup poster below.
Community: Local residents are employed for certain jobs at the festival and paid fair labor wages, as well as there’s reduced ticket prices for citizens of Central American countries which not only encourages less emissions-impact from international transport, it supports the education of locals in matters of permaculture, yoga, and health. Workshops and lectures are held in the community nearby on permaculture and environmental consciousness, along with activities such as planting gardens and mural painting with school children, prior to the festival. Non-profit organizations supported by Envision are: (the aforementioned) Association Community Carbon Trees, Buenaventura Costa Rica, Natural Leaders, and the Lisa Wendel Memorial Life Foundation among others.
Health: putting aside the fact that all Envision-cuisine is organic and locally grown, they festival offers a Free Herbal Clinic as an alternative to western medicine (allopathic) first aid. Of course visitors have the option to choose allopathic treatment over eastern herbal medicinal care, but with the unique option of being treated for your scrapes and bruises in a simpler and more environmentally/physically conscious way, why wouldn’t you choose the latter? The Free Herbal Clinic is headed by 7Song, a renown clinical herbalist, who’s even scheduled to give a lecture this year. The Village Witches Educational Series sees respected individuals speaking on “traditional and alternative healing practices fused with environmentalism and pagan spirituality,” so you can take home some knowledge to better the health of yourself and your loved ones.
Eco Building: as stated above (I’ll just keep stating it for as long as this article goes, don’t you worry), structures are made from locally sourced natural materials. Mainly bamboo, which is stored for future years or resold on the market, joints are saved and turned into cups, and internodes are used to construct bowls.
It’s a bit short notice, but tickets are still available in certain price ranges, and if all else fails: put this inventive festival on your calendar for next year. Oh, and did I mention surfing?
*All statistics are taken from the Envision Festival website. Any errors are the author’s own.