Review & Photos | Symbiosis Gathering 2013 | California

Words by: B. Getz

Images by: Kauai Ric and JMH Mixed Media

Videography by: Lost In Sound

Symbiosis Gathering :: 9.19.13 - 9.23.13 :: Woodward Reservoir :: Oakdale, CA

Now in its eighth year, Symbiosis Gathering was a living, breathing dragon of pagan synergy, an event filled with spiritual confluence and an electronic-sonic paradise — a rigorous program featuring dozens of the best intergalactic yodas in EDM, yoga and sustainability practices. This was a transformational festival, and despite some disorganized infrastructure, the event broke new ground for what can be created in this type of community gathering.

[Photo by JMH Mixed Media]

Symbiosis boasted four workshop stages by day, classes from mycology to mysticism, yoga to making yogurt, and organic farming to improv comedy performances. One may have gotten lost in the workshops all weekend and felt fulfilled. Another crucial component is the variety of different visual art on display. Symbiosis is a music, ART and conscious lifestyle event. Per square footage, they had more art than any other festival in the U.S. besides a certain event in the Black Rock desert. It is also a festival that strived, with the help of WasteBusters, Inc. to leave the grounds that host to this year’s event (Woodward Reservoir, Oakdale, Ca.) in better condition that when Symbiosis first gathered there.

Symbiosis is based around the Bay Area, a vibrant community of artists, builders and magicians that test the bounds of what is possible to create at a five-day event. Art comes from people and places, in the spirit of random acts of creativity and selfless expression. This review will focus on the plethora of monumental music on the stacked lineup cards. Rest assured many of the festival’s best performers may not be featured in this article; we could only be in one place at a time, and also did our best to take in the countless activities (like swimming and Yoga!) that were plentiful about Symbiosis. The following is one writer’s verbal account of the best of the symbiotic best in sonic exploration of the realms of intelligent dance music and crunkalogic science.

"Symbiosis is an art project. We have no corporate sponsors, incredible workshops, art, yoga, dance, organic food, ceremony, healers, and masseuses. We are a full spectrum experience." - producer Kevin KoChen

Dub Kirtan All-stars, led by Freq Nasty and David Starfire with special guests J Brave of the Luminaries, Srikalogy and Caitanya, set it off proper on Thursday night at The Cove stage set lakeside, dripping in bamboo and psychedelia. The Kirtanic enchantment within “Hari Krishna” sent people into a mystical procession of Zen aerobics, while “Sita Ram” captivated and enchanted, a mid-tempo dub- ridah and mesmerizing pulsation filled with bombastic drums and soundsystem rudebwoy swagger. Tracks from dreamlike EP Subsonic Devotion were recreated with live chanting and vocals drenched in a lathering of bass buoyancy. Later, emcee collaborators hailing from Brooklyn drove the carpet ride decidedly to the streets, and the New York chants met the Yoga of bass. Kirtan channeled its inner b-boy from the corner of Paul’s Boutique and a new style.

[Photo by Kauai Ric]


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