Lucidity Festival in Santa Barbara kicked off the West Coast festival season with an incredible gathering of people, art and energy. Though it boasted some of the best acts in the scene, including Birds of Paradise, Russ Liquid, Govinda, Phutureprimitive, Heyoka and Random Rab, the community of attendees stood out as the main highlight amid all the great performances. It was the stuff that wasn’t in the program that made it so magical, all the side stages and renegade sound systems, art installations and surreal environments, the atmosphere of celebration and positivity, of acceptance and love. Everyone just GOT IT there, and it made for a refreshing and exciting vibe. NorCal and SoCal came together for a meeting of the best of both worlds; people traveled from all over to re-connect with each other and dive back into the scene that unites us, reminding us of who we are and what is possible when we put our minds together.
Each person brought something unique and valuable to the party that they’d been cultivating in the off-season. Music, aerial performances, fire spinning skills, costumes, artwork, crafts, dance moves, and excitement that had built up for months converged on a weekend charged with the anticipation of one of the most epic festival seasons yet. In its first year, the event impressed all who went and far surpassed expectations. The Lucidity crew is already brewing the next adventure of many more to come!
Rain Phutureprimitve closing it out on the Main Stage:
Scuzzy, one of our favorite underground producers, on the Boogaloo Bus at Dr. Bronner’s Shower Camp:
From Caeli La:
In all the time I spent dreaming of the legendary West Coast festival scene, I never imagined my first experience would be dedicated to dreams come true. The intention of Lucidity Festival was incredibly focused, clear, and beautifully translated through the art, literature, workshops, music, installations, stages, and overall atmosphere co-created by its production team and revelers.
The message was “When we become lucid in our dreams, we realize ourselves as infinite potential, we let go of fear, and we are free to create that which we want to see in the world.” They offered many workshops to teach people how, such as “You Can Lucid Dream,” “Waking Up,” “How to Lucid Dream & Why it is Important,” “Navigating the Hypnagogic State,” “Astral Travel,” and a “Subliminal Phoenix Group Lucid Dreaming Experience” every night from 8pm-6am.
I found my way to the Dream Dome after my legs-turned-jellyfish could no longer dance after 6+ hours of being pounded by the sounds of Govinda, Random Rab, Phutureprimitive, and Nico Luminous. I curled up into a giant white beanbag and drifted off into the symphony of didgeridoos and Sanskrit mantras (how serendipitous it was that they happened to sing my favorites from the ancient Vedic ceremony, the Agnihotra). In a lull, somebody broke the silence by proclaiming “Hi, my name is J. Quest and this is my first time at Ascension Anonymous.” He went into a brilliant monologue that had the entire dome rippling with laughter, which progressed into a sort of laughter meditation, everyone bouncing off the sounds of each other to laugh more openly, fully and freely.
Although this experience was one of the most dream-like I’ve ever found myself in, it was not even the most psychedelic moment of all. That had to have been during Jonah Kai & Shamanic Sound Ceremony‘s set, in which the Durian Sex Cult, a group of stunningly gorgeous women, pranced around with genuinely forbidden fruit (banished from certain hotels and public transportation in southeast Asia due to its overwhelming smell). Revered as the “King of Fruits,” it’s said to stimulate your sex drive and feelings of happiness, which I can attest to be 100% true. One bite and I felt amaaaazing. Partly due to the stunningly beautiful people from Switzerland we were dancing with, partly because the music was so damn good, but I can say for sure that the durian had an absolute, powerful effect.
A few hours later, still caught up in the whirlwind of the Lucid Stage, I rested my jelly legs on the art car hosting the festival’s production team, equipped with a giant flame shooter and hammock swing that rocked people back and forth, up and over the crowd. I watched two of the happiest, prettiest girls in the world swirl on the swing until it was taken down- replaced with a long piece of fabric that was soon adorned by the sexiest creature I have ever seen, Ms. Krystaal Rain.
She climbed up with the dexterity of a ninja and proceeded to draw the entire crowd’s attention into stunned silence. We were awestruck. She gave the best aerial performance I have ever been blessed to witness, and it didn’t hurt that her entire being oozed SHAKTI- the sacred feminine force of empowerment. I have never been so completely turned on, activated, and inspired in my life. She wore a nude bodysuit under a black lace onesie- and I can’t even begin to describe the epic proportions of this woman’s frame.
It was a real treat to watch her perform, and I applaud Lucidity for the emphasis placed on powerful feminine energy; through the performers, art, and musical stylings from female musicians Wala, Mama Crow, Audiafauna, Alyra Rose and Femke Weidema of Akara, comprising the most gender balanced lineup I have ever seen, in a scene most often male-dominated.
And then there was the magnificent Earth Harp, invented by composer William Close, made of long strings that stretched from the main stage to the soundboard that he played with his hands. It was a very unique and beautiful experience..
No matter where I went, I kept ending up in the art gallery- like a magnetic vortex where veritable Star Trek characters were lounging, beyond human, poring over the work of many of the West Coast’s best visual artists. I was actually shocked into stillness and time-bending reverence by a few of the pieces; the kind of artwork that changes your life just by receiving its brilliance; images I will never forget. I can say this to be true about many moments at Lucidity. The impact it had on me was deeply spiritual, wildly transformative, and utterly inspiring. Thank you, Lucidity, for bringing together the best in the West. I can’t wait for next year!
From Drift Dodgers:
I missed most of the music for the first time in years (sorry there aren’t more videos), but this time it wasn’t because I was busy getting high somewhere. It was because there was so much else going on, and I was immersed in meeting new people and learning new things. I received the most powerful spiritual healing of my life, completely by accident without seeking it, from a 19 year old girl who had never considered herself a healer, or tried connective or energy healing techniques before The Dream Dome.
After talking a bit and laying together in that space, and then a more private one, she intuitively picked up on my anxieties and fixations, on my powerful, even desperate need to connect. She naturally tapped in to my very vibration and gave me the gift of her pure, innocent energy, purging me of massive amounts of anxiety and pain that had built up from years of isolation from the One energy and longing for its nourishment.
Simply by connecting completely with me eye to eye, looking deep into my soul with compassion and acceptance, and having the courage and willingness to stay with me through the darkest, scariest anger and depravity in there, she saw all the way through it and we together rediscovered the person I am deep inside. It was shocking how far I’d gotten from it, how much my intention and stance towards the scene and the world had shifted after many years of feeling jaded, disappointed, exploited and unappreciated. I realized I was starting to become what I’d always condemned, a contemptuous user, a marauding, anonymous outsider taking advantage of those less powerful or experienced. That’s so much the norm in regular society, it seems so essential for survival, that it had crept into my ideals, values, and essence.
She literally scanned my entire being on behalf of the community. It felt as if the collective consciousness of the group embodied her and was deciding whether to accept me or not. Her face changed as I lay in her lap looking up at it – her left eye grew wide and her right extremely focused, scouring me for information like a hunting owl. A lot of things came out, and I was confessing things I’ve never told anyone and realizing that she knew more than I could explain. I am sure that if she hadn’t discovered my pure intentions and true heart at the bottom of all my bullshit that the entire interaction, and my whole experience of the festival, would have gone very differently. But she was determined to get there, and put up with bouts of resistance.
This tribe self-regulates and evolves lagging members like myself in this way; it was very clear I wasn’t just speaking with the young girl I’d met anymore. “You are from the East Coast,” she said, “and your male testosterone is overwhelming. People can smell it from far away and it makes them uncomfortable. This place is not about who is more powerful than who, you need to let that go. It is not about what you can get, sex or resources, it is about giving to and loving each other. Its a whole different frequency and intention, and we can tell by looking in your eyes that is not why you came here.”
This was true, and it had been preventing me from being fully welcomed by the West Coast and any social group. I also knew that it hadn’t always been the way I was, and that the proper intention she spoke of was at my core, it was the reason I’d devoted my life to this realm. The methods she recognized had become my strategy for attaining connection with the One, after losing my faith in it and feeling so cut off; essentially I was trying to trick the world into giving me what I wanted and needed, which in truth is available only by giving and loving in every interaction without expectation or agenda.
“I’ve been starving,” I wept, remembering all of the loneliness, isolation and despair that I had known, that so many in the modern world endure.
“You need to stay open,” she said. “No matter how many times you’re hurt, that is the only way to commune with what we all need. It will sustain you.” “Let it go,” she kept repeating, as waves of anxiety and emotion racked my body and she chanted Oms. It took hours, and I worried about missing the shows and not getting any footage and wasting her night, which I can never thank her enough for devoting to helping me. “There’s nothing that needs to be done NOW. Let that all go. These are the ways that have been destroying us. You need to let go and trust.” She gave me the gift of her energy and held me like a mother, and I was filled with a warmth and well-being I had long forgotten, finally at peace. I feel ten years younger, re-filled, re-connected, and thoroughly healed.
Many of my patterns and habits became clear to me, as well as their sources. My entire stance shifted, for the rest of the festival, and hopefully the rest of my life, and the results were mindblowing. I was suddenly more genuinely interested in and appreciative of people, relating to them instead of analyzing them for potential utility or dismissing them into a category. Others seemed to notice and were more engaged, less intimidated and more comfortable. Eager to put these new realizations and ways of being into practice, it was finally time to get some dancing done…
Gettin’ deep in the dome:
It was dawn, and Bird of Prey was coming on the side stage for a sweet surprise set that vindicated my missing Birds of Paradise the night before. I danced like a madman, even more uninhibited than usual, full of energy and joy. The dancing also changed. It was less full of swagger and aggression, less caught up in its own complexities and more inclusive towards others, trying to feel the music completely and celebrate. It was far from my best technical dancing, but felt shamanic at times; moving without thought, speaking without words- and several people showed love and joined in.
Sometimes it feels like I dance for the group, or for those that can’t or choose not to dance. When it looks cool it inspires others to try new ways of moving, and when it looks silly it makes us all realize that we shouldn’t care too much about what we look like, because we’re monkeys flopping around to beats for fun. It brings us together even when we just watch each other do it, because you get a feel for what it’s like to be another person, you inhabit their body for a moment, and it’s as if you are moving with them. Our movements give a new level of expression to the music, a physical manifestation of the emotions it conjures, and are a big part of the live experience. I may have frightened (or at least amused) Tyler Gibson, who was watching from a golf cart, as well as some others, with my intense interpretive flailings.
I don’t know if it was the way I was getting down or something else about my affect, but a man strode up to me purposefully and asked me spiritual advice out of the blue. He said he was trying to remember something he’d forgotten, to get back to it, but kept getting distracted and diverted, lost. I could see in his face that he’d been hurt many times and had hardened. His eyes told of a similar quest to mine, and a tormented consciousness of it. I didn’t know what to say, still processing it all – it was surprising that he thought I might have some insight into the matter after observing me from a distance.
I told him what had just happened in the Dream Dome and to try and seek someone who was in the place he was trying to get back to; that by simply connecting with someone like that, and opening up completely, one is able to heal. It didn’t feel satisfactory to either of us, as this written telling could never do the experience justice. This stuff is, by definition, impossible to put into words – it can sound so trite or cliche sometimes. I gave him a hug and asked him to stay open no matter what, but it was the things that weren’t said that morning that meant the most. He is a kindred spirit looking for the same things we all are. There were thousands there, which is why these places are so sacred and powerful. If it was just about a dance party in the mud, we might skip it, fun as those are. Lucidity reminded us that it’s about family, spiritual connection with other people and the universal growth and discovery. Those are the most important things in life, and why I am so passionate about these events and this community.
Photos by Michelle Grambeau, Mary Beth Koeth and David Pricco