The 2012 festival season came full circle at Lunacy this Halloween. Kicking off this important summer back in April was Lucidity festival on the same grounds. Co-producers of Lucidity and the sole producers of Lunacy Festival, Synaptic Productions of Santa Barbara put themselves on the map this year in a big way. Gathered under the full moon and stars of Halloween weekend, they brought us another weekend of transcendence through ecstatic revelry.
A convergence of festival culture and the artistic community, Lunacy united diverse avenues of the performing and perceptive arts. In every far reach of the campground there was electronic/live music, singers, dancers, teachers, speakers, healers, digital artists, and live painters to engage all six of your senses. The idea of things coming “full circle” revealed itself as one of the most prominent themes many of us experienced over the weekend. In keeping with this theme, one of the major art installations brought to the festival was the “Peace Wall” done by Abram Santa Cruz. The wall was built to represent the phoenix bird which is the ultimate symbol in the cycle of rebirth and death. Within the circumference of the peace wall, the Pheonix represented a catalyst to peace and acceptance.
Up the 101 and past the Channel Islands, I was away from the city at last. The inner monologue silenced as I settled into my calm natural state. I headed out to explore with friends and we stumbled upon Delevo on stage with Auditory Canvas at the Synaptic Stage. The Synaptic stage was readily equipped with Funktion 1’s, making it the go to place for everything bass. We sorted our way through until we eventually had covered the grounds. We had momentarily stopped in debate on where to go next until our ears were activated by the angelic vocals of The Rainbow Girls. The seductive harmony coming from the live music (Luna stage) made us curious to get a closer look. These “ladies” are rooted in a whiskey drinking, folk tradition but bring a touch feminine grace, being careful not to over-exaggerate.
After snapping a few photos, we backtracked to the Synaptic stage to start the weekend off with Evan Sugarpill. As always Sugarpill delivered, laying out the sexy glitched out tunes. Scheduled following Sugarpill was Andreilien (formerly Heyoka). I had seen Andreilien as Heyoka many times before but this was my first experience seeing him as his new alter ego. I was happily surprised when he threw in drum-step/drum n’ bass sequences, taking an unconventional step away from his usual spacey dub squish sound, while still remaining true to his alien nature. Possibly this incorporation was an extension of his newly dubbed name and a glimpse into the future of what we can expect out of his performance going into 2013.
The first night wrapped with VibeSquaD, who snapped the crowd out of the psychedelic spell Andreilien had cast and recharged our batteries with his lively and energetic presence. Once the music came to an end, we followed the flow down to the river bed to an after hours soundstage. The illusion of separation dissolved as we danced until the early hours.
In passing conversation I was advised toward a destination by the name of the Hooch House, told it was a must that I stop by and “spin the wheel.” Enticed by the name, we went off to find this late night hot spot. The house was fully equipped with a bar, stocked with good vibes and great company. The Hooch House was brought in by a group of Santa Barbara locals called Hightide.
In departure we encountered a piece brought to us by Erica Halpern out of Los Angeles. Inspired by ancient temples, this piece was called “Ancient Intelligence” and was designed to represent the place where technology meets organic intelligence.
I awoke with the sun Saturday morning to do a few stretches and make my rounds to a number of the wellness camps. Although Lunacy did not have the home base “Healing Dome” like Lucidity, there was still no shortage of sacred spaces to go relax, rejuvenate, and recalibrate. For magical elixirs the “Conscious Bartending” stand by Dr. Nick has become without a doubt one of my favorite spots to visit at festivals. Dr. Nick and his lovely lady Kiana Moon pour all of their love into serving us these uplifting tinctures. The conscious bar has traveled the festival circuit, offering natural flavored cocktails, herb and oil vaporization stations, specialized lotions, and supper food supplements to elevate the body, mind, and soul. Using medical grade oils, all of Dr. Nick’s products offer something to enhance your health and mental state. Simply put, the beverages have an added touch of natural splendor without causing any clouding or stupor… in fact, I attest to the increase in levels of awareness.
Over at the honeycomb shaped outpost, I meet up with some San Diego friends to support and shake to the noises of Joe Squama.When the sun became merciless, a few of us separated to chill out and get some drinks over near the Live Stage. Here the San Diego native hip-hop band Vokab Kompany was brought to my attention. Being originally from San Diego, I had heard all the hype and love Vokab’s music, yet the opportunity to see them live had not presented itself until this moment. Vokab’s sound is a mix of keyboard/synthesizers, drums, bass, saxophone, guitars, and violins, all of which accompanies the two lead singers and MC’s. They have scored airtime on San Diego’s 94.9 and are starting to appear at bigger venues and festivals. Vokab’s live shows often incorporate stilt walkers, burlesque dancers, clowns, hoola- hoopers, belly dancers, and guest musicians to tease and interact with the audience.
Once the sun went down Saturday, the night came alive, marking the time to enter the void. It seemed as if there was no hesitation for most in going down the rabbit hole from what was a chill, groovy afternoon to a mad world of vivacious, enchanted characters. When the night got a bit chaotic, refuge was found in the Art Gallery, where live painters worked to translate their reality into something tangible. Downtempo DJ’s and the glow of the bright lights created a light, intimate feel. Digital art and paintings all came alive through their careful layers, depth, dimensions, and fine detailing.
For me, Saturday night did not revolve so much around partying and dancing, but the necessary heart to heart moments we all need to grow. When the activity swirled around us, my best friend and I took a moment to truly “be here now” and appreciate still simplicity. We spoke most with our eyes as we sat across from one another, truly connecting for the longest I had with anyone in years. Through this communion, I let go of all expectations, all the things thought to be established and controlled, I let go of the security blanket that these beliefs facilitated. I gave up control and visions of perfectionism. I felt liberating freedom in this place of humble truth. In releasing the most dormant and stagnant parts of myself, I was able to break down the barriers of fear that tend to hold us back from flourishing into our divine potential. The door was opened to selfless expression and the unlimited source of creation. Through its manifestations we are pieced together and expand the horizons of possibility. Through the cycle of rebirth and death we perpetuate this unified creation.
We snapped back and bounced over to watch the breathtaking and stunning Mimi Page. Mimi Page is an upcoming singer/songwriter and producer in the electronic world who has worked alongside Bassnectar, R/D, Gladkill, Minnesota, and more! Mimi blends dreamy, ethereal soundscapes with soulful vocals we can all relate to. She is actively scoring independent films along with licensing original songs to film and television. It’s been a great year for Mimi, releasing her debut full length album Breathe Me In on UK label Hunter Records.
Time warped and before I knew it, it was Sunday, the night of the full moon. In my opinion, this was the best night for bass music. I met some friends from the Boogaloo Art car and spent the day with my pen and paper under the shade at the Luna Stage. Relaxing here I saw a fun live performance with Nico Luminous, Scuzzy, and ill-esha. On Sunday everyone stepped into their element, as artists and festival goers really embodied the emphasis Lunacy projected on artistic expression. An array of talents were displayed through musical ingenuity and cohesive collaboration. ill- esha had been making guest appearances with friends all day, appearing on stage again later in the day with Jobot. For the first time during a live set, Chris B rocked it out with his guitar, and Russ Liquid on his trumpet. ill-esha sang all throughout her set, dropping in a few new songs like “Dropbox.”
With the moon in full effect, everyone was rambunctious and ready to let loose. After spending hours at the Synaptic stage it was time to ramble on. Tracks could not be made without a necessary quick stop at the community piano. Here we found a few jokesters, sang out a few tunes, and shared a stomach-full of laughter. We ventured off for a change of pace to bring the weekend to an end with EOTO on the Main Stage. After EOTO, the weekend came to a close with a small musical gathering within the tea house – I meditated until the static chatter and sound of guitars drowned themselves out and I drifted off.
The innovators of Lunacy were dedicated to the creation of a platform where we could showcase artists of all types and mediums. Lunacy extended an invitation for all to let their inner madness and characters come alive, to take the mask off (or put it on) and come together in celebration. The connections made and lessons learned at Lunacy will continue to reverberate through our community. Through high intentions, the weekend brought an amazing end to the summer, making yet another landmark and unique memory.