Party promotes mindful self-indulgence and growth

Dania Meza, Staff Writer

Everyone needs to go to a transformational festival at least once as they are a positive impact to your overall well being.


No, Coachella doesn’t count.


Going to a mainstream music festival generally follows a similar format; travel to venue, watch the musicians, enjoy the show, repeat a couple days and go home. It is a passive act except for the next few months when the attendees overload their social media with #takemeback posts.


But what about bringing some of those “good vibes” back with you? Not just a photo or merchandise purchased from a concert or rave but intangible lessons from a transformational event.


As an avid music lover, I’ve attended countless events over the past 10 years. From local backyard shows, raves in convention centers, and clubbing in Spain. There is just nothing quite like the experiences I’ve had at these events and what I’ve learned.


The term “transformational festival” was first coined in 2010 in a Vancouver TEDx Talk by documentary filmmaker Jeet Kei Leung to describe the “remarkable cultural phenomenon” that occurs at these festivals, a display of counter-culture debauchery.


Generally, these events are held in remote locations such mountains, deserts, forests or near a lake. Those in attendance must campout and for many it’s the first time doing so.

These gatherings have an informal “code of conduct” such as the 10 principles of Burning Man; radical inclusion, gifting, decommodification, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation and immediacy.


Many people attend events as a way to escape and take a break from school but the learning doesn’t have to stop there. Festivals like Lightning in a Bottle host workshops where people can learn skills taught by other attendees brought from the “default world.”


Over time, groups of people can create theme camps to share their gifts which can be physical and tangible while other skills manifest through actions such as compassion, empathy, and acceptance. The intents are mindful to align and benefit the greater good.


When everyone is conscious and reliant on themselves first and foremost, it allows people to relate with others in authentic ways. These collective efforts are reflected when walking the festival grounds where new friends are met and greeted with high fives and smiles.


The acronym PLUR, stands for peace, love, respect and unity. It was a phrase that embodied early rave culture but is not practiced as much at today’s events, where attendees are less conscious of those around them and perform acts such as headbanging againt rails that can be of harm to themselves and others.


Instead, at transformational festivals, PLUR isn’t spread by trading “kandi,” plastic beaded bracelets that create “MOOP” or matter out of place but through building community.


These events have a leave no trace (LNT) mentality that promotes sustainability and inclusion which are reflective of CSUSM’s own efforts made throughout centers and programs on campus.


All are welcomed and judgements diminish as people unite on the dancefloors in sparkly outfits that are a reflection of the radiance we all have inside. Freedom with creative expression is appreciated and the connections can transcend into our everyday lives.


Saying hello to strangers and lending a helping hand to a neighbor are often lost acts in adulthood and rarely seen on campus, as most stay within their groups or focused on their phone.


Having experienced a festival of this nature has allowed me to not only become a better student but better citizen overall. These events provided a place to be challenged, have fun and promote self-growth.


Unlike other events where music takes the main stage, the spectacle of the party derives from the active participation of all involved. From the art created, food shared and connections made, it takes the knowledge from everyone and can be be brought home to be continued and exercised by all.

So next time you’re seeking a fun, new and mindful experience, consider expanding your comfort zone and transform at a festival and create that positive change anywhere you go.


It’s more than just the music and art, it’s the meaning you make of it.