Festival life with my 5-year-old
Now, before I go on, I must say that this particular week long festival was not a music festival. It was more like a transformational (spiritual/hippie) festival or gathering with communal meals, workshops, dance parties and it was kid-friendly. In fact, there was a Family Camp, full of alumni who finally surrendered to the child-rearing phase of life.
There was music and full-on nudity; the standard transformational festival oddities like eye gazing circles and bizarre costumes; and yes, probably a lot of psychedelic drugs. There was also art ~ everywhere; creative expression and a beautiful mash-up of non-conformists. No, we did not see people doing or smoking drugs ever and no, we did not witness anything terribly inappropriate.
Most important, there was community, friendship, acceptance and non-judgement.
We camped in a tent, in a wi-fi free forest for the week, among other families whose children had names like Valor, Shanti, Ocean and Sky. We nature bathed in the grass during the day while the kids played shoeless in the dirt and strolled through the forest, among the creative, themed tent areas in the evenings. We ate vegan food (what else?) and drank spring water, danced to psytrance and swam (bathed) in a pond.
Yes our ‘family’ experience was quite different from what might be considered a typical festival experience.
Overall though, it was a wonderful educational experience for us all. I learned the kids are completely unphased by transgender nudity but more confused by transgender playmates. They learned about stereotypes and equality. I learned that a week without Wifi is liberating; they learned how to play outside, without toys, for days on end.
My tent mate was a girlfriend with her child who had never camped or even glamped, and even she was transformed by the simplicity and connectedness.
Transformational Festivals (AKA Counterculture Festival or Spiritual Lovefest or Intentional, Eco, Conscious, One Love Community Gatherings)
In this time of newly formed human consciousness and the need for connection, transformational festivals are becoming much more popular. This particular event was intimate at less than 2000 campers, but some like Burning Man draw 70,000 into the desert. Many others in North American, Costa Rica and Australia host up to 10,000 people plus who take part in these multi-participatory, evolutionary jaunts.
Intrigued even a little? There are now festivals happening all over this easterly part of North America (it seems they been doing this awhile in the West). Do a Google search for something that remotely appeals to you. Chances are, there will be families there and if willing and open, you will find a warm welcome.
For me, I’m certainly a convert and am already looking forward to another summer in the forest.