Festival of the Month: The Bubble

The Bubble Festival in Malta is a week-long festival of contemporary art and music, celebrating the magical essence of life with a special focus on positive awareness-raising events. The motivation behind the festival is to create awareness of the community, the environment and the arts in a fun and festive way. Put on by not-for-profit organisation The Bubble, the festival, which began as a much smaller one-day event, has now been going for eight years. Organisers Duncan Fenech and Matthew Buttigieg have hit many milestones along the way, organically expanding it to the week-long camping experience it is today, but the idea has always been the same: to give back. They work on private projects throughout the year and then spend a couple of months working on The Bubble Festival, with all profits going to a number of different causes. Over the past eight years, they have donated over €50,000 to different causes.

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Duncan and Matthew set out with the aim of making the festival one of Malta’s most positive festival experiences, with Duncan stating that “The Bubble is a festival of awareness with nothing but good intentions. We decided that for the concept to work in its truest form, all profits should be donated to good causes.”  This year, the beneficiary projects include The Youth Hub in St. Lucia Malta, The Jose Depiro Kabataan Orchestra in the Philippines, The Gaia Foundation, Majjistral Park & Get Trashed Malta amongst others. Matthew claims they are motivated by the energy among volunteers and that they feed off each others’ drive. Then there’s the motivation to raise more money than last year, which is quite a challenge, but also a lot of fun as the festival grows. In 2015 they raised €8,000; 2016 €10,000; 2017 €28,500; and this year they hope to raise even more. They also organise a small event called The Bubble Gives Back at the beginning of the year, where they hand out the money that’s been raised.

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The 8th edition of the festival will take place on the majestic Golden Bay Headland on the grounds of the Gaia Foundation, close to Ghajn Tuffieha. There is a beautiful art garden and a peace grove among many other things to explore. Throughout the week, you can enjoy live and electronic music, ranging from Swing, to Disco, to Jazz. As well as this, there will be stand up comedy, theatre performances, nature walks and a series of events and workshops that tackle issues facing the environment and conservation.

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Matthew described the bay as “a wonderful location” and went on to express his excitement about sharing it with so many other people, some of whom have never been there before. “Many appreciate the natural beauty and the stunning sunsets and continue to visit the location long after the festival is finished. The aim of The Bubble festival is all about getting you out of your daily routine, to step out of your “bubble”, and the stunning location catalyses that experience for our visitors, especially those who camp and live on site for the week.”

This year, The Bubble Festival is being held from September 17th to 23rd. Get your tickets from the festival’s official website from as little as €25.

 

For more articles on my favourite festivals, visit the Festival of the Month section on my website.


Written by: Milly Day
Photos: www.facebook.com/thebubblemalta

Interview: Audio Farm Festival

The Audio Farm crew, who are well-known for their legendary electronic nights in Manchester and North Wales, are a non-profit, non-corporate organisation. Their new festival is a far cry from the money-hungry festivals that seem to dominate the UK’s festival scene, with all the money from ticket sales going to The Green Paw Project, a charity that works to save the lives of helpless animals in third world countries- if that’s not reason enough to go, I don’t know what is…

I caught up with Ste Chesters, one of seven directors of Audio Farm Festival, to find out more.

For those who haven’t been to Audio Farm Festival, could you briefly describe the experience?

Audio Farm Festival is a wealth of experiences, stimulating all the human senses and opening the portals to a world of possibilities in an explosion of imagination. It provides a safe space to expand your skillsets with progressive workshops and talks, where talented and knowledgeable healers offer alternative treatments to rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul through holistic disciplines, massage, guided meditation, gong baths, yoga and shamanic journeys.

How and when did the festival first come about?

The Audio Farm collective started from a small rig called Jumpleague that put on raves in North Wales. Then, in 2009, we all moved to Manchester and in to the infamous house at 148 Wellington Road. Audio Farm was born with our first event featuring Jon Carter and Hybrid, and the second was Greg Wilson’s return to Manchester with A guy called Gerald. We ran monthly events and, in 2013, we went to friend’s 30th birthday on a site called The Workhouse, a local festival site we had partied at over the years. At that moment, we decided to put on a festival on a date that was just five weeks away! We curated and set up the festival in five weeks and over 500 people attended. Since then, we have put on a festival each year.

What kind of music can we expect to hear?

Everything from House, Techno, DnB and Psytrance, to the live bands on the home drum, to Gypsy Folk, Tribal and Funk. We also have The Nest, where you can enjoy 14 hours of acoustic live music a day right opposite a lake. One stage is a double tipi, home of Afro Sounds, including our Reggae Sunday, which will be hosted by my North Wales collectives. Headliners of the festival include Carl Craig, Kevin Saunderson, Cari Lekebusch, XDB and Jerome Hill.


And what else is on on offer, besides the music?

We will have a healing area for replenishing the mind, body and soul. Housed in yurts and tipis, our healers offer vast alternative remedies such as Reiki, Gong Baths, Shamanic Practices and Massage for groups and individuals. Then there is the Tent of Symmetry, beneath which you’ll find tools to expand your mind, revitalise your soul and realign your body’s chakras. With a full range of therapeutic workshops including Kundalini Yoga, Guided Meditation and Cacao Ceremonies, this is the place to experience practices from ancient cultures from all over the world. We also have the Speakers Keep. This little nook of the festival is where you’ll be able to listen to and partake in fascinating talks, debates and lectures, with subjects ranging from Animal Welfare, Philosophy and Physics, right the way through to Consciousness Expansion.

Besides this, we offer a Children’s Area, Performer’s Corner, Fire Zone, Jamming Area, and plenty more!

What, in your opinion, makes Audio Farm stand out from other festivals?

We are non-corporate organisation curated for love, not money, and Audio Farm Festival is a transformational festival, which focuses on healing, wellbeing, spreading positive vibes and inspiring people. We are also a 100% vegan festival and all our profits go to charity. All this, along with good quality music from across the globe, is what I believe makes us special.

Over the past few decades, other UK festivals have changed from free-thinking and love-fuelled events to corporate businesses. Sadly, over 45% of festivals in the UK are now owned by a handful of corporate companies with one objective: making money. These corporations see festivals as a way getting rich, whereas Audio Farm has, and always will, stand up against these corporations. We will continue to run our events for charity, and curate them for love, rather than selling out to these corporate companies that are trying to monopolise our beloved UK festival scene.

Who or what has been your greatest influence?

The Audio Farm Collective are all seasoned festival-goers and over the years, we have been inspired by many of these festivals, namely Boom in Portugal. We got inspired to create a transformational festival like Boom and we aim to inspire others in the same way.

Can you tell me a little more about The Green Paw Project?

The Green Paw Project is aiming to raise £30,000 to build an animal wildlife sanctuary in Malawi to help rescue and rehabilitate wildlife, such as leopards and antelopes, and aid in the fight against poaching animals through frontline work in the National Parks. With funds raised from previous Audio Farm events and festivals, Green Paw’s project ‘Mission Malawi’ will kick off in October with a free veterinary clinic and Rabies campaign for locals of Malawi, which is project managed by the Audio Farm team, founders of the charity. As 100% of Audio Farm Festival Ltd’s shares are also owned by the Green Paw Project, the ticket money goes towards event costs and the remainder is given to fund the vital work of the charity. This is all on top of the donations that have previously been generated from past events and festivals, which amounts to an incredible £14,756.

Any last words?

“In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.” ONE LOVE, ONE TRIBE x

For more interviews with festival organisers, follow my series “Tell me about your festival” on Medium.

Composed by: Milly Day
Photos: www.onetribefestival.org

Festival of the month: Own Spirit

With an adventurous spirit and a similar vibe to Boom, Own Spirit, which is held in Aragon in the north of Spain, has one main aim: to enrich the Spanish Psytrance scene. It first took place in 2015 after a series of smaller parties and gatherings held amongst a group of friends named “Own Style”, all of whom are avid music producers. Having discovered Psytrance at a random party, the idea of a festival combining this type of music with alternative therapies came about spontaneously, together with the name “Own Spirit”.

The Psytrance scene is prominent in the north of Spain, so it’s not surprising that Own Spirit attracts an international crowd, with visitors from more than 30 different countries attending last year. Paola Chirico, the Project Manager, and the festival’s director, Francesco Ibáñez, describe the festival as “welcoming, transformative, inspiring and fun.” During the first years, the team managed to develop a concept that included a healing area, family activities, a market and a circus, to name a few features. So whether you want to sweat away in a temazcal, practice yoga, watch a circus performance, or just dance 24/7, you’ll find your place here. Paola added “We like to use the word multidisciplinary festival. You can take what you want out of it.”

After three years of light and change, Own Spirit has been given a new home, surrounded by nature and a crystal clear lake. The birthplace of most of the crew is very close to this location and Francesco had previously organised some smaller gatherings in the area, along with his tribe – this is actually where everything started. The new location has been a major change for the festival.

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This year, the organisers felt obliged to change the festival dates as well, after discovering an eagle was making his nest on the site around the time the festival was usually held. The way in which the crowd reacted to this news gave them the strength to sustain this change, a personal highlight for the entire crew. Naturally, there have been several other challenges, such as building absolutely everything from scratch and designing the festival as a zero impact event, but sheer persistence on their part has thankfully kept Own Spirit alive.

This year, you’ll be able to catch the likes of Merkaba, Kalya Scintilla, Estas Tonne, Outsiders, Vertical mode, Djantrix and Earthling playing at Own Spirit, to name a few. For more information, visit the festival’s official website.

Written by: Milly Day
Photos: Benedetta Broggi

Interview: Agnieszka Górka of Goadupa

Located in the Bieszczady Mountains in Poland, Goadupa is still fairly unknown, yet the organisers describe it as “a festival so wonderful that it takes your breath away from the very first day”. With the festival seeing its 8th year in July, I decided to speak to Agnieszka Górka, the PR and Marketing Manager, to find out just what it is that makes Goadupa so special.

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Can you tell me how Goadupa first came about?

It was the initiative of the Egodrop crew, who used to organise Psychedelic Trance parties in underground Krakowian clubs and one day thought, why not organise an open air event? Egodrop parties have become quite popular, so 2010 was the perfect year to start thinking about something bigger. We found the lovely Bedkowska Valley with Sokolica, the tallest rock in the Jura Krakowsko-Częstochowska region, with multiple eye- catching rocks including the famous Dupa Słonia (literally translates as “The Elephant’s Ass”) and Iglica (“The Needle”). It is surrounded by meadows, forests, rocks and there’s a waterfall just a few steps away – the perfect place for such an initiative. So, together with Brandysówka, a household for visitors in the middle of the forest, the Egodrop crew organised the first open air called Goadupa, the name being a play on words between Goa Trance and Dupa Słonia rock, a natural wall we used as our main stage back then. The first edtion gathered around 300 people and was a 24h party. Now, Goadupa is a festival for thousands, lasts 4 days and offers much more than just music. In 2015, we decided to move Goadupa to its current location in the Bieszczady Mountains, as the festival had grown so big.

What do you believe makes it special?

The place, Bieszczady Mountains, the wildest, most magical land in Poland. From the Main Stage, you get a panoramic view of the mountains, whilst the Zen Canyon stage, complete with blankets and hammocks, is located near the forest canyon. We also have very good news for those who want to attend the festival with their kids – this year, we are particularly focused on the needs of parents and their offspring. For years, Goadupa has provided a special Kids Area in the forest, where childhood education practitioners organise original workshops and games for children. This time, we’re going a step further in creating a special zone for families in a shaded spot, providing a space to have meals and play with their children, or simply to meet with other families. Additionally, we are preparing designated showers and toilets for children and their parents.

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I gather from the name that the music will be mostly Goa Trance, is that correct? What other styles of music can we expect to hear?

The name is confusing for foreign people because as I mentioned before, it is a wordplay. Goa music is actually only a very small part of what we offer in terms of the music; this year, we’re preparing four stages showcasing different music, each with an amazing line up. The main stage is the Psychedelic Trance stage, where you’ll hear all kinds of Psytrance including Progressive, Full On, Goa, Dark Trance and Hi Tek. On our second stage, the Chill & Groove, you’ll find ethnic and chilled sounds, interwoven with Techno and bouncier rhythms and our third stage, Zen Canyon, gives festivalgoers the chance to sink deep into the sounds of mature Electronica. The fourth stage is a huge surprise for all fans of the event, something which has never before been tried by organisers of similar festivals in Poland. Goadupa is the first festival to offer its audience a venue: Life Stage. This stage is exclusively dedicated to instrumental music. You will get a chance to enjoy psychedelic sounds of Stoner Rock, Jazz and Hip Hop. So as you can see, there is a great deal of variety and Goa Trance is just a small percentage of the music on offer.

Besides the music, what does Goadupa offer?

The organisers take care of the spiritual development zone and guests will have the chance to participate in all sorts of spiritual workshops, personal development courses, massages and classes, such as yoga and juggling. It is also worth mentioning the rich programme of lectures, film screenings, talks on spiritual development, health and ecology… the Healing & Workshops Zone offers everything that a human being trying to break free from his or her daily routine could dream of. As always, it’s a diverse programme, and everyone will be able to find something to suit their tastes.

Can you describe the setting of the festival?

In the past it was a Mecca for hippies, artists, and lost wanderers whereas today, this setting is home to some of the most ‘cult’ locations in Poland – a must to visit, if only once in your lifetime, as a more colourful, joyful, and beautiful spot than the Bieszczady whirling in a shamanic dance at Goadupa is hard to come by.

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What type of people come to Goadupa?

Goadupa caters to those looking to break away from their day-to-day existence for a few days and enter a world where needs of the heart and soul are priorities. We all want to stop in our footsteps for a moment, lose ourselves in the beauty of the moment and experience something extraordinary together with friends and family. It is difficult to experience the world this way in mundane daily life, with all of its duties and obligations, and be here and now. We invite all open-minded people looking for an alternative lifestyle to experience the magic. Young, old and families all are more than welcome.

I read that you can only purchase tickets at the festival itself – what are the reasons behind this decision?

Actually, we have online sales as well! You can buy your ticket here.

For more interviews with festival organisers, follow my series “Tell me about your festival” on Medium.

Composed by: Milly Day
Photos by: Wojciech Drabek’Styropian’

Festival of the month: Forest Star

Forest Star is a magical gathering in Urla Forest in Sweden, which embraces togetherness and claims to be all about the love and unity of the people. Indeed, it has been described by visitors as “the most loving festival that has taken place” over the Swedish summer and Emma Vilda, one of the organisers, told me that for her, Forest Star is about learning from the past and remembering the sacred ways of living, finding a way to heal and grow in the modern world, so that people can help one another create a better world with more love.

The festival first came about when, after years of travelling, Emma realised she longed to find her roots and create a life with a deeper meaning. Back in 2009, around a bush fire in Australia, a vision appeared to her of returning to her home in the north of Sweden to her family’s land, where she would gather the tribes and bring back the roots of the land to them. She envisioned a place in the nature where people could meet and share the magic of life in a safe environment, heal and grow together.

Not long after the first gathering in 2010, Emma made new friends and connections and, together with some of them, she studied old ways of living, including traditional songs and ceremonies, which they wanted to bring back to life. Shortly after, their crew, Urla Tribe, started to be shaped. Now, this tribe come together every year in June to celebrate the summer solstice. They dress the midsummer pole, a symbol of both male and female energy, with flowers and encourage festivalgoers to dance around it as a celebration of life.

Besides this, there are daily yoga and meditation classes, workshops, a handicraft market and plenty of delicious food on offer. There is also a children’s section which includes theatre performances, face painting and a playground in the forest. On the Saturday night, women from Urla Tribe perform a sacred dance on the main stage, undoubtedly one of the highlights.

Emma claims that Forest Star would probably be long gone if it wasn’t for her stubbornness and a very few strong souls supporting them with unconditional love; everyone involved in the festival is fundamental in making it happen year after year. “I think our visitors can feel that we are doing this from our hearts and it’s important for us that every visitor has a beautiful time”, she added. “The festival site is a blessing to us all.”

Forest Star takes place from June 21 – 24. Click here to purchase your ticket.

 

Written by: Milly Day
Photos: www.foreststar.se

Interview: Anton Shoom of Yaga Gathering

Yaga Gathering is a 4-day alternative lifestyle festival with a focus on the arts, held in the open woods in the Varėna District of southern Lithuania. This year, it is expected that artists from over 20 countries will participate at the gathering. Besides the vast number of art projects and exhibitions, you’ll find live and electronic music, handicrafts, holistic therapy and wellness activities. I spoke to Anton Shoom, one of the organisers, to find out more.

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Am I right in thinking Yaga has been going since 2003? How has it changed over the years?


Yes, Yaga dates back to 2003. At the time, it was called Shambala, but after three editions we changed the name to Yaga in 2007 (the festival didn’t go ahead in 2004).

What was the motivation behind starting this festival in the first place?

An idea to host an international psychedelic gathering was behind the initial efforts, plus a lack of alternatives both in the region and nationally.

What have been your highlights?

There have been so many many highlights over the years, it’s impossible to select just a few. With such a diverse programme, there are highlights in various different areas: music, visual arts and performances. Every year, there’s something we really look forward to.

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And what were your greatest challenges?

The greatest challenges were, and still are, to make changes; people get used to things and expect them to be the same each time. When you do make changes, they are often treated with skepticism.

How do you select the artists that play?

Primarily according to personal preferences. Every stage has a curator and they do most of the work, however we work closely with one another and discuss the overall direction of each stage.


What else is on offer, besides the music?

It’s things besides the music that are being focused on, not for the majority, but for a big part of the audience. Yaga has an extensive daytime programme and this year, we are going to focus on a particular theme: Shapeshifting, and we’ll include relevant workshops and lectures. There will be handpicked tattoo and fashion workshops, lectures by Shaltmira and much more.

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What makes Yaga special, in your opinion?

The mantra The Vibe is The Tribe sums it up quite well I suppose.

For more interviews with festival organisers, follow my series “Tell me about your festival” on Medium.

Composed by: Milly Day
Photos by: Paulius Burkšaitis

Interview: Horizon of Funny Moon

Underground Psy and arts gathering Funny Moon, which takes place in the countryside of the Czech Republic, acts a platform for upcoming DJs, live acts and all sorts of artists from around the globe to meet in the nature and share music, artwork and experiences with one another. The festival welcomes “all good-hearted people”, as well as children and dogs, into what they describe as their ‘cosmic mixed society’. I caught up with Horizon, the founder of Funny Moon, to find out more.

Firstly, why the name Funny Moon?

The name came from the Mayan calendar. At the beginning, the festival was called Cosmixed Society, just like my label, but I wanted to give it a different name. One day, a friend and I were talking, he called me a ‘funny moon’ and the name stuck. I wanted something that wasn’t too serious and would remind people to take it easy in life, without letting their egos control them too much. Come to Funny Moon and you’ll be funny soon…

How long has the festival been going now, and how did it begin?

It started in 2005 in Slovakia, before my son was born. In 2006, I decided to dedicate Funny Moon to my son, who turned one on the day of the festival. This was the first and only time the festival took place in Austria, and it was a truly legendary event.

What type of crowd does it tend to attract?

Freaks, fraggles, pixies and fairies, an amazing crowd of peace- and freedom-loving people, who know that sometimes less is a lot more. You find masses of unconscious sheep in a lot of places, where money is God, but real, deep conections are rare. Those who come to Funny Moon are people that are looking for a more earthy connection and want to meet others and build life experiences, or take a long, hard look in the mirror and rediscover their inner selves.

What would be your three main reasons for attending?

1. You want to visit a festival that you are free to enjoy without bothersome security, police or any bureaucrats trying to tell you where to go, how to look and what you should be doing at any given moment.

2. You want to be with your friends, meet more friends, and not have to pay outrageous amounts for these little necessities of life.

3. You’d like to bring your kids to a festival and camp with minimal noise so that they can sleep, and be around other kids and their parents.


What is the location like?

A huge place up on the side of a hill with a view stretching out across many kilometres, surrounded by forests, fields and the garden of a castle. You can actually see it for yourself in the 2016 Funny Moon aftermovie.

And the music?

A mixture of old and new performers, big names and unknown artists, who all share one thing in common: the Cosmixed Society seal of approval. The music can be fast or slow, but always underground, rather than commercial.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Don’t be shy to move your spine, represent and respect all mammals and other animals, people, aliens, illuminatis, demons, goblins, elves, fraggles and fairies, all beautiful manifestions of eternal being, whether you believe in gods or devils, the sun or moon, geometries or metrics. Take off your shoes, raise your hands and give thanks to the father in the skies.

For more interviews with festival organisers, follow my series “Tell me about your festival” on Medium.

Composed by: Milly Day
Photos by: MagicM

Interview: Tudor C of Waha Festival

More than just a party, Waha Festival is an expression of existence, providing a space where you can really be yourself, expand your consciousness and join other likeminded souls. The nature, music, smiling faces and love felt by all are just some of the driving forces behind this this 5-day festival in Romania, where you are encouraged to come together and celebrate life in the most fun and creative way possible through learning, working together and helping one another. I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the festival’s organisers, Tudor C, who shared more details about the wonderful Waha.

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Firstly, what does “Waha” mean?

Waha initially came from Wahaha!, which we then shortened to Waha. It means different things in other languages, but in Romanian it refers to a state of mind.

When and why did it begin?

It began in 2012 as a dream to gather likeminded people who listen to different kinds of music in one beautiful place in the nature, so as to promote a way of life that is closer to nature and to one another, where we can learn to communicate and be together as one.

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What has been your personal highlight since starting out?

The experience you get through organising an event as broad as this can be easily compared to life itself, but my highlight would basically be the realisation that what is on the inside is reflected on the outside, therefore what you create gives a good insight in to how deep it all actually goes; when you feel good about what you created and when you witness other people having life-changing experiences as a result, you feel accomplished and know you’re on the right path.

What makes Waha unique?

One thing is the location itself, which is on top of a hill surrounded by forests and hills, a gentle, welcoming and friendly energy that everyone feels when they step inside. We integrate the structures we build from natural materials so that they blend into the environment, and we love land art and working with the materials we find all around, so everything is earthy and grounded, giving people that holistic Waha experience. The lack of phone signal is the cherry on top, allowing people to leave their online life behind and connect with each other.

I read that Waha “aims to be more than a party, but an expression of existence.” How do you encourage this?

We offer a creative environment in the middle of nature where people discover the simplicity of life and the joy of being together, dancing under the stars and sharing the present as a precious moment that needs to be cherished. We also offer all sorts of different activities, such as workshops, yoga, meditation and personal development practices, so people have a go on stuff they don’t usually do.

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What kind of music can we expect to hear?

The music range is quite wide, with five stages covering live music, jam sessions, Ambient, Experimental, Downbeat, World, Minimal Tech, Techno, Deep House, Electro, Progressive and Psytrance.

How do you go about selecting the artists?

We have a solid music and party background, so we try to select only meaningful, quality trippy music played by artists we respect. We want to offer people a deep musical journey, so we try to come each year with new stuff and artists we’ve always wished for to come and play, in order to create culture, rather than an industry.

How can people get involved in the festival?

We have a ‘collaborate’ section on our website, where you can find all sorts of forms to fill in depending on how you wish to be involved.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Come visit Transylvania!

For more interviews with festival organisers, follow my series “Tell me about your festival” on Medium.

Composed by: Milly Day
Photos by: wahafestival.ro

Interview: Victor Verstraelen of Mandala

Mandala describes itself as “a holiday and festival in one.” Now in its third year, it takes place in the beautiful Vakantiepark de Bergen Wanroij in the Netherlands, decorated by different “Tribes” and surrounded by forests full of hidden areas to discover. Here, the festival and camping are one and a tent can be placed almost anywhere. I caught up with Madala’s spokesman, Victor Verstraelen, who told me a little bit more about what the festival entails.

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Photo: Kim Balster

I heard that Mandala all began from a child’s drawing- could you tell me the full story?

That’s correct! Marcel Mingers is the founder of Extrema, a Dutch event promoter. When he was in Spain with his daughter Julia, then four years old, he saw her making a drawing – there was a lake, a forest, even parking places! When he asked her what the drawing was, she replied: “This is a festival named Mandala. Only for nice people, daddy and me.” Marcel decided there and then that the festival should one day become a reality. So in 2016, the real Mandala was born, just like the drawing.

How would you describe the feel of the festival?

Mandala is really laid back. The venue is quite big, so it’s never too crowded. And there really are ‘only nice people’, like Julia imagined. Camping and festival are one, so you can just roll out your tent and enjoy the parties, music, theatre and all forms of creativity. Also, Mandala aims to be as trash free as possible, so it’s really tidy. Everyone treats each other and the environment with lots of respect.

What makes Mandala unique, in your opinion?

The way it is built is very special in The Netherlands. Everything you see, feel, hear and experience is made by “Creators”, ie groups and individuals that make their dreams come true at Mandala. They can be creators of music, theatre, art, wellness, whatever! We (the organisation) try to connect these creators, so they can form areas called Tribes together. One Tribe might consist of a caterer, music collective, stage designer and decorator, for example. Tribes are like very small villages. All the creators sleep around their project. Visitors are welcome to join too. One more thing that makes Mandala special is that kids are also welcome, and we have our ‘Family Tribe’, where it’s a little quieter at night.

How can people become part of these Tribes?

We make announcements on our website and social channel with videos, so people can get a little taste of what to expect during the festival. Every year, we open registrations and anyone with an idea is welcome to register. We see if it fits Mandala and if so, it’s a go! Creators don’t get paid, but we ensure it does not cost them anything either. We’ll provide them with a budget and help wherever we can.

What genres of music can we expect to hear?

World music, pop, bands and electronic music like Psytrance, Techno and House. At the beach, there are singer-songwriters playing, and visitors are allowed to join in with them. We actually just released our live music lineup, which you can view on our Facebook page.

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Photo: Jasper-van-den-Ende

Could you describe the location?

Mandala is located in Wanroij, The Netherlands. It takes place at a Holiday Park with a beautiful lake, deep forests (great hidden parties!), beaches and green fields.

What does the future hold for Mandala?

This June, the third edition of Mandala will take place with a very special project called The Temple For Peace. We’ve got two visitors/Creators from New Zealand called Kiwi and John. Kiwi built the beautiful Temple of Transition at Burning Man 2011 and now he’s here to build the Temple for Peace, in the middle of the lake! We’ve already invested a lot ourselves, but for the last bit we’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign. There’s a beautiful story behind it and you can read it about it here.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Just the link to the video for our crowdfunding campaign, as we can always use a little helping hand 😉

 

For more interviews with festival organisers, follow my series “Tell me about your festival” on Medium.

Composed by: Milly Day
Feature photo: Nina Crebas

An Interview with Freekuency Festival

Freekuency Festival is a not-for-profit festival that takes place during spring in Portugal and works on a on a pay-as-you-like entry system. Born out of the free party movement, Freekuency has developed over the years into a spectacular 3-day event with a friendly-family atmosphere. I took the opportunity to catch up with one of the festival’s organisers to delve a little deeper.

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I like the idea of a pay-as-you-like entry system, but it is a big risk! Has the risk paid off thus far?

To have a donation on the gate was a financial risk and in the first few years we struggled to get the budget for the following festival. But as the ideology of the festival is not financially driven; we decided from day one to use a “pay what you want if you can” scheme. In recent years, festivalgoers have began to understand the ideology and thanks to their generosity, the budget for the festival always gets reached, with room for growth.

Describe the music and the crowd

The music is very diverse, with six areas crossing the spectrum of underground music. This creates a platform for many unknown arstists to perform on a high-quality sound system. The atmosphere at Freekuency Festival is truly amazing, as there is a unified understanding to what we are trying to create, with each and every person being a part of it.

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How do you go about selecting artists?

All the areas manage their own music and demos get sent well before the festival.
Artists can reach us over the Freekuency webpage. We don’t look for superstars as for us, it’s more about quality and the vibe.

I read that the artists, performers, crew and helpers work and play for no money whatsoever – what do you think motivates these people to participate in the festival?

Yes, what you have read is right. It’s hard to believe, but no one is getting paid! The organisers, DJs, artists, cooks, litter pickers and toilet cleaners are all in this together for the pure love of the festival. Making this work and setting a good example adds to the great atmosphere of the festival, where everybody plays an equal part.

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What has been your biggest challenge to date?

Keeping up with the infrastructure and the needs of people as the festival continues to grow each year.

How can people get involved in volunteering at Freekuency?

People can always get in touch upfront over the Freekuency webpage, come a day before the festival or lend a helping hand while it is happening. Workers always get drinks and warm meals from our kitchen.

What would you say are the main reasons for visiting?

People can experience soundsystem culture at its finest with a great atmosphere in a beautiful country.

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Is there anything else you would you like to tell people about Freekuency?

We can never thank all these people who make this festival happen enough – their time and devotion are what make it possible for us to grow and continue. Also, we’d like to thank the local people for their patience and tolerance, and the council for their help.

Find out more about this year’s Freekuency Festival via their official website.

For more interviews with festival organisers, follow my series “Tell me about your festival” on Medium.

Composed by: Milly Day