Flo Cannon is Head of Vibes in Noisily’s Mind Body Soul area, and here she asks our very own Festival Director Jenna Ansell why events such as ours are so important in the modern world.
Ancient Futures – NewEarth festival is about creating a space of co-creation in which a new culture can emerge that has the power to shift things towards a solution based future that is in service to the earth and each other. We recognise that ruling political, economic, social and legal systems were born in a different time, and these systems no longer fit with the needs of our current reality. We are in many ways in a time of individual and planetary crisis and we feel called to act by instigating a coming together to provide each other with tools we need to navigate change.
Gatherings have immense power to reveal alternative ways of being and doing. An alchemical environment is enabled through the play, celebration, nourishment, healing, learning and teaching that take place at festivals. We hope to ignite the spark in those who attend so they can in turn ignite the spark in others. We hope to nurture the sovereign creative expression within us all.
Ancient Futures is the guiding theme – this is about both remembering and honoring who we are, in connection with the land and each other, and about utilizing all the information, materials and technology we can access in order to evolve collective consciousness to the next stage.
What does the term “transformational festival” mean, both in a personally subjective and objective sense?
It feels like the trend of ‘transformational festivals’ springing up in places like west coast America over the last five years can be a bit of a meaningless label, simply because it is now applied as a marketing buzzword to a very diverse range of events and experiences.
I prefer to use the term ‘conscious gathering’. To me these are defined by a move away from a sole focus on escapism and hedonism in an experience centred around music and drinking alcohol or taking drugs, where the ticket buyer is an observer getting some kind of ‘service’, to a holistically orientated program that includes things such as talks and workshops, sustainability, art and healing modalities. At these gatherings people are participants or co-creators in the experience, and the intention is to explore the self in a deeper way, rather than to escape. The dance floor, play and freedom of expression are still paramount but the aim is more about connection, community and ‘being’ in a way that creates an individual and collective higher vibration.
How do you view the link between electronic music, dance culture, and ancient spirituality / ritualism?
The trance-dance is something that spans from ancient times when as Homo Sapiens we first began to express ourselves creatively in recognisable communities or tribes, through ritual and rites of passage. Entering into the trance of the music and dance on present day dance floors enables a true connection of mind, body and spirit within ourselves, and deeply connects us with those we are with, without any need for verbal communication. Something like the Dance Temple at Boom festival (Portugal) is a perfect example of this – 20,000 people dancing together in the same rhythm for hours on end.
What links electronic music, dance culture and ritualism is their ability to allow us to enter into a flow state – a state of ecstasy where action and awareness merge and our consciousness of our sense of self disappears. Ecstasy in Greek originally means to ‘stand to the side of something’ and when we enter on to a dance floor or into ceremony / ritual we cease to be what we think we are and move into a space of being and interconnectedness.
On a physiological level in ‘flow’ we move from a fast-moving beta wave of normal waking consciousness down to the far slower borderline between alpha and theta waves. During flow, the brain also releases large quantities of norepinephrine, dopamine, endorphins, anandamide, and serotonin. All are pleasure-inducing, performance-enhancing chemicals that facilitate creativity. This is why the ecstatic / conscious dance scene continues to grow – it taps into this ability to enter a powerful and ancient state with no need for any chemicals or alcohol. This is a great talk on flow states: https://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow
Why do you think it is that festivals are paying increasingly more attention to providing a complete festival experience, as Noisily does, including healing spaces and holistic wellbeing programming?
Life is a dialectic experience – there is a continual feedback system of sub-culture feeding into mainstream culture and becoming the norm. Festivals are hot-beds of culture creation – they are spaces outside of the status quo where new ideas and experiences can be tested and where creativity often has no bounds. Holistic wellbeing and providing spaces for healing being introduced at festivals a number of years ago is an example of this.
It was a logical progression for producers to move programming away from big headliners and primarily just music venues to a more nourishing experience, where nurturing the self through alternative healing modalities and redefining our relationship to nature could occur. Now well being and striving to be better versions of ourselves through learning and healing are part of everyday western culture.
Its part of a desire to have a party with an actual purpose and legacy.
Noisily and New Earth have begun a sparkling new relationship together! Please give your views on the importance of creating an international community of events, which encourage attendees to heighten their self-awareness alongside indulging in tempered hedonism?
Ancient Futures:NewEarth Festival are honoured to be in partnership with Noisily. It is our strong belief that competition is an old paradigm way of thinking and in order to thrive in the new earth it is instead about collaboration. One of the most unique things about the festival ‘industry’ is that it is in reality a global family; a sub-culture where the wildest things of our imagination are magic-ed into being through creative and dynamic people making it happen together. We share so much, from the fundamental ethics guiding our productions, to the musicians we book and the intentions we have for peoples experience at our gatherings.
Festivals have an incredible power to initiate positive change, and that power is magnified exponentially when forces are joined. Now more than ever we need to act in Common-Unity, strengthening and building bridges between spaces and places, honouring our Mother Earth.
From small things big things grow and as a collective we are able to influence and direct our communities in a sustainable way that promotes consciousness at all levels. Drawing upon key lessons merged between new and old ideologies both festivals look towards creatives and healers to further cast light on the diverse spectrum of life. The party element is at the centre of the experience – play, dance and fun are ultimate connectors with ourselves and with each other.
About our festival partners Noisily Festival