Recap & Photos | Envision Festival | Costa Rica

Images by: Jill Ashley
Words by: B. Getz
Videos by: Elana Meta, Fabian Productions and deleFOCO
Audio by: LostInSound

Envision Festival :: 2.20.14 -2.23.14 :: Rancho La Merced :: Uvita, Costa Rica

Check out B. Getz’s recap beneath Jill’s gallery!

Deep in an imposing, grandiose jungle in Uvita, Costa Rica, 3500 ambassadors of love and truth trekked from across the globe and gathered for Envision Festival’s fourth annual celebration. Art took center stage, and sewed the common thread, as a plethora of creativity swelled from this carnival of unpredictable and astonishing; all broadcast live and direct through Funktion One soundsystems. Envisionaries came together as a global, evolving, progressive, and inspired psychedelic tribe; the entire escapade was nothing short of life affirming.

By day, we immersed an abundance of workshops that focused on meditation, spirituality, interpersonal communication, sustainability and individualism through art. Visionary artists, like the astounding Autumn Skye, were painting everything and everywhere. Many surfed a quality wave on the picturesque beach just steps away, and hundreds congregated there for sunsets every day. Envision offered a variety of yoga practices and movement art, like Envision co-founder Sofia Thom of Danyasa, and the Sonic Butterfly experience with Andrea Brooks. The strong undercurrent of sustainability and permaculture ran throughout the festival’s consciousness, discussed with proficient leaders like Envision co-founder Stephen Books and David “The Polish Ambassador” Sugalski. Each evening music stages would host different dance troupes like Costa Rica fire krewe Pyro Danza or the Metamorphosis Ballet. The Flash Mob that took place during Elana Meta’s “Breaking Waves” hip-hop dance workshop is already the stuff of legend.

Amidst the mass possibilities of artistic, cultural and inventive forms of expression that can be found at Envision Festival, the heartbeat is the music. Despite being pegged as an electronic music festival, the event boasts a veritable smorgasbord of progressive artists that runs the gamut from acoustic to electronic, reggae to folk, dark to bright and all points between. An ebb and flow from stage to stage, from within the tent cities, bazaars and tea rooms, exquisite beaches and bamboo temples. But if sacred-bass progressive electronic dance marathons are your thing, how about Boruca-mask inspired stage with dragon DJ pit that breathes fire?

It’s tremendously difficult to reel off musical highlights in a recap like this, however a handful of artists really gleamed in jungle glow. Thursday, things kicked off on the Lotus Stage with divergent sets from Los Angeles’s Geno Cochino and Far East-tinged bhangra crunk from WALA. Living Light opened the Luna Stage with magnificent soundscapes lush in atmospherics. The staggeringly talented Plantrae entered new sonic realms of empathy, by way of violin melodies drenched in wobbling bass. Kaminanda provided his patented tribal kung fu, a kaleidoscope of consciousness through sacred bass gymnastics.

Friday, The Human Experience’s unique and sensual tones brought the sun down at the Lotus Stage, before Nahko and Medicine for the People’s acoustic communion of souls. Nahko Bear electrified the hearts and minds of Envisionaries of all stripes and styles with several mammoth appearances. Another fixture of the festival, The Polish Ambassador, did more than just move the Luna Stage dancefloor, he downright engulfed Envision en fuego! With the help of Ayla Nereo (who performed a Wildlight set as well as solo) and visuals professor Liminus; Jumpsuits were representing rather diplomatically in the jungle! Kayla Scintilla’s stimulating and expansive trek through the dawn of a new day was a divine journey deep in the annals of soulful bass music.

Saturday at the Sol Stage, a seven-hour chunk saw an eclectic and inspiring run of artists bless the Envision massive. The histrionics began with SF hip-hop collective The Fugineers, before the majestic and royal Rising Appalachia riveted the now jubilant audience. Next up was the masterful reggae vibes of Rootz Underground, before a two-hour opus from one of the festival’s newest additions, Papadosio. The Ohio band profoundly connected with the Envision vibrations. Immediately following this run was another, very different but equally stimulating progression on the Luna Stage. PhuturePrimitive, Tipper and Andreilien all delivered impassioned sets of original electronic music, the avant garde was on display, mixing within the mouth of a Boruca dragon. As the sun rose, the inimitable Random Rab led a proverbial séance; the crowd rejoiced in a gigantic group hug and pronounced Zen aerobics.

Sunday, we held our breath til just after dusk for Soul Visions, an otherworldly collaboration between Rising Appalachia and The Human Experience. Beyond the “Dirty Filthy South”, it felt like we were mainlining secrets to a sensual and spiritual universe. A relentless session of deep house and tech high-steppin’ was helmed by the lovely Kilma Temple, before David Block’s alter ego Cat’s Pajamas absolutely destroyed the Lotus Stage massive with psychedelic, minimalist, shamanic house. Australia’s WhiteBear moved the goalposts for this post-dubstep era, a frightening and enveloping stomp through bass netherworlds.

Sunrise with Tipper at the Luna Stage served as closing ceremony, and yet another one-of-a-kind jungle journey. The British legend unveiled a different style, definitively downtempo; a unique synthesis of classical and electronic dreamscapes, seamlessly scratched into the intoxicating environs. It was a fitting sonic tribute to a gathering that defied the odds and the Envisionaries that soar in the face of Babylon.

From where I danced, the focused mission was clear: to honor the people, their collective inspiration, consciousness and the spirit of collaboration at the core of Envision. We rallied around a common understanding, based on the most basic and endearing tenets of humankind: community and togetherness -a state of being that knows no barriers, artistic, linguistic nor cultural.

Pura Vida!

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