Preview | Symbiosis Gathering 2013

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This coming weekend B. Getz will attend and cover this year’s Symbiosis Gathering for JamBase. He spoke with some of the performers and the event’s producer about what attendees can expect.

The Symbiosis Gathering 2013 will be held at the beautiful Woodward Reserve in Oakdale, CA (a mere two hours outside of San Francisco) from September 19 -23, featuring headliners STS9, Shpongle, OTT, Emancipator, Random Rab and over a hundred other artists making for an staggering, international music menu. With four main stages, a spectacular crystal-clear lake (in which you can swim!), magnificent sunrise and sunset views from lakeside dance-floors, cirque theater and comedy, mind-blowing art installations, Symbiosis 2013 is going to be a mind-boggling, monumental event for our times.

The five-day camping festival features a massive array of talent, with main stages and smaller ones like the acoustic “Living Room,” providing a veritable buffet of live and electronic music, global and galactic bass, from progressive house to the dirtiest trap and glitch, gypsy, sacred, world fusion and so much more. Waste Busters will be onsite to assist with recycling, moop, and sustainable living practices. The Symbiosis Gathering 2013 magically coincides with the Harvest Full Moon, the Autumnal Equinox and the International Day of Peace.

The event’s producer, Kevin KoChen, shared some thoughts with us about the upcoming Symbiosis:

“The essential component was to take Symbiosis new again. It was amazing last year especially with the solar eclipse. Yet last year in 2012, people were wondering or waiting on the possible end of world or some ‘phase shift.’ Since that’s come and gone, now we know there no silver bullet that is going to ‘save us’ from ecological catastrophe. This year we take action, and start to solve the problems we are facing. That’s what the essential five day permaculture course before our event is focused on. It includes fifty people including twenty-two from outside the US. We are excited to inspire people with practical applications of solutions. We also will swim all day and dance all night!

This year in Oakdale, CA we are more comfortable and so close to San Francisco. Very few festivals can you swim all day-it is ideal! The significant amount of natural beauty is amazing, we looked at twelve venues, and this is most friendly regarding accessibility, public safety, and input from the county.

As for curating music, we are glad to be moving Post-dubstep! We like to select artists on the edge; DJs, producers, and bands on their ascension, or well-established within our community. We’re excited to host STS9, who some of us have known for years as well as bringing in the most international lineup for a festival of our size anywhere in the US.

Joining STS9 and Shpongle will be musical artists such as Poliça, Mount Kimbie,Emancipator, Hudson Mohawke (DJ Set), IAMAMIWHOAMI (1st US appearance),Saul Williams, Popof, Brodinski, GAUDI, Random Rab, OTT, Bluetech, Nahko & Medicine for the People and Rising Appalachia.

[Photo by Galen Oakes, courtesy of Karin Conn Public Relations]

“Symbiosis is a west coast legend. Truly, this is the event that most of my friends consider “our” festival. No other festival has really focused so much on quality world-class electronic music from all genres,” Symbiosis 2013 performer Random Rab tells JamBase. “One thing people can expect is a really comfortable and welcoming vibe. This is not a major corporate festival just trying to make money. It’s all about the people and making sure everyone is happy.”

Random Rab has plenty planned for his Symbiosis performance, “I am doing a live sunrise set. I’ll be joined with Cedar Miller and we have an assortment of instruments. I do all the mixing live on a packed 18 channel board plus 10 tracks of software. I don’t really know what to expect beyond that except that I’m sure it will be out of this world to see all the amazing friends who will be there.”

Outside of the music, there is a five day permaculture course that precedes the festival, and workshops associated with it throughout the event, including the one of a kind “Psychedelic Friendship Bingo.” Lose yourself within theatre and dance performances, as well as extraordinary music -from the Edwardian Ball Roadshow on Sunday night. Symbiosis presents a slew of artistically-inclined workshops including Slam Poetry with none other than the astonishing Saul Williams, as well as a plethora of different yoga sessions and the aptly-monitored Kidzbiosis (dedicated to the children at the event).

Justin Katz of San Francisco theatrical music ensemble Rosin Coven, who along with Vau de Vire Society have collaborated and co-hosted the Edwardian Ball since 2005, has much to say about the event, “The Edwardian Ball event has grown into a festival in its own right. It began as dual theme-celebration of art and stories by Edward Gorey, a prolific author and illustrator. He’s known for his drawings in black and white pen ink, and also as a beloved author. It resonated with our band Rosin Coven, who is performing at Symbiosis.” Katz goes on to explain, “Our name is a play on his name, called Edwardian Ball, a reference also to Edwardian times the 1900s, turn-of-the-century. It’s a fun historic place to dress up and create characters! Over time we have merged ideas of art and literature festival with historic re-creation, and we opened it up to variety of art, circus arts, theatre, visual, music and dance, and beyond! What began as little fest with one band, over the years has grown into a multi-day multi-city art-fest with people coming from all over the world. ”

Festivalgoers are encouraged to participate in the Edwardian Ball Roadshow, Katz lays it out “It is deeply immersed, a creative participation experience; people work on costumes and characters year round. At Symbiosis, we are taking a self-contained world of Edwardian Ball -think of an image of an exploding gypsy caravan suitcase-and Boom! the Edwardian Ball Roadshow spills out for four hours! No matter where you have been, you will step into a whole new world… where clowns roll out the croquet garden, the statue garden comes to life, the big top lights illuminate, and the show begins!” Katz concludes.

[Photo by Piotr Wojnarski, courtesy of Karin Conn Public Relations]

Symbiosis Gathering 2013 is an amalgamation of art, music, transformational learning and sustainable living integrated into an unparalleled extravaganza of fun beneath the starry skies.

Words By: B. Getz