There is something infectious about the beginning of the festival season. Maybe it's the weather slowly warming up causing us to peel off layers of clothes to unveil sun-hungry skin. Or maybe it’s the plans we begin to formulate about far off exotic countries with names we can't even pronounce and events that rage until dawn. It must be something about driving up and down the coast of our sunny state on the far-out edge of the world, sea breezes whipping our hair and house music thumping from speakers. Whatever it is—this time of year is electric here on the best coast, and outdoor festivals are just beginning to bud in the most beautiful places.
Lucidity Festival took place for its second year in the hills outside of Santa Barbra this past weekend, and reminded everyone involved just how intimate our party community is quickly becoming. If before you had ever felt out of place and small against the vastness of the world, Lucidity was a powerful reminder that our generation's growing collective of artists and musicians is stronger than ever. The community of Lucidity built itself from the ground up, and existed on a plane in the furthest corner from reality.
Driving in through the shaded oak campground of Lake Cachuma, Lucidity festival at first appeared as a maze of art installations tucked away between camps of tents, RVs, colorfully painted busses and shade structures. Upon our arrival, they handed us cloth bandanas with what looked like ancient script depicting the designated roads, stages and campgrounds. Navigating the new community was intimidating at first—much like entering a new county with no general sense of direction. But it only further stirred our excitement for the journey—we were eager to lose ourselves in the experience.
Lucidity is the brain-child of multiple art, music and consciousness collectives from Santa Barbra county. They have come together for the past two years to create the transformational festival dedicated to positively advancing society through creativity and awareness. Every aspect of the festival from the electronic music, to the holistic healing workshops, to the alluring mermaids bathing themselves in a giant pool, brought a distinct creative component to the community, and there was never a dull moment because of it.
The art installations spanned across all mediums from live visual painting, to digital video projections, to interactive sound manipulations. Jeremiah Allen Welch, an established visual artist in the San Francisco community, explained why Lucidity's presentation of art is different than other festivals, "What's cool is it’s not just a music festival—it's pretty well balanced between music and art. I think they’re really trying to push the whole multi-media aspect by having lots of digital installations." He continued, "I’ve contributed an art installation and I’ve also been doing some live painting this weekend. The most recent piece of art I’ve made I mixed with digital by printing background pictures from NASA and painting on top of them. I’m enjoying meeting a lot of new artists and sharing the live experience of my work with people who wouldn’t otherwise see it through my network."
The glowing, twinkling and burning art installations transformed the extensive campground into somewhat of an alien landscape not unlike the playa at Burning Man. Lucidity provided a much more comfortable atmosphere, however, and included additions like a vendor village showcasing intricate hand-made merchandise and numerous food stands selling delicious organic, raw and vegan dishes. Throughout the weekend multiple yoga, dance, flow and healing workshops were held by instructors for free, and many attendees took time out of their busy party schedules to learn and practice.
We caught up with Leafy Green, a glass artist and DJ, to hear about his experience at Lucidity. “I’m heavily inspired by sacred geometry and the whole culture around it that is the festival scene here on the West Coast. It’s a big huge family that I feel blessed to be a part of. This year has been just as fantastic as last year. Lucidity has an incredible level of creativity sprouting from everyone I see, and everyone is contributing something even if it’s just through self-expression. This weekend I’m showing some new glassware that I’ve been making this winter as well." He went on, “I’m going to play some deep tech house this weekend on the Audiowaska stage. My main goal at Lucidity is to make people have a good time. Playing good funky music that makes people move is definitely important."
Invigorating sound from the multiple stages kept the crowd flowing through the festival like a living organism. The span of musical genres featured at Lucidity was inspiring for those who were looking to hear something other than the conventional thumps and wobbles of the party scene. Live and traditional music from far off cultures contributed to the balance of sounds heard around the festival, and each stage housed a dedicated audience of listeners at every given time. Lucidity featured four main stages and big-name artists like Zion I, Phutureprimitive, ill.Gates, Gladkill, Liberation Movement, Mikey Lion and more. There were many more renegade stages thumping music throughout the day and into the night—eventually leading into a silent disco in the earlier hours of the morning beneath the glowing limestone mountains.
Andrew, a Bay Area DJ favorite also known as The Pirate, told us about his experience playing on the main Lucid Stage. "My music style focuses on electronic interpretations of reggae, hip-hop and RnB. I'm inspired by people who play music that you wouldn't typically hear at a peak hour in the club but still make dancefloors explode. The crowd's reaction was awesome during my set. The moment I started with a crunky 808 tune—the dancefloor blew up! Lots of homies as well as new people were repping with balloons, champagne and smiles. My heart was just about bursting by the end!" When asked what made Lucidity stand out from other festivals he has played at he responded, "What I really appreciate about Lucidity is the balance. It's a nice mix of spirituality, consciousness, and health, along with general debauchery and raging. The festival presents a dichotomy that exists within myself and a lot of people I know as well. We eat well, treat the earth right, and have a spiritual side, but we also know how to let loose and be party monsters."
Lucidity festival was much more than simply an escape from the stressful routine of daily life, it was a sanctuary for positive and creative energy to resonate and grow. Every smiling face was that of a childhood friend, and every song a nostalgic soundtrack. Unlike other large-scale festivals of its kind, Lucidity seemed to emphasize that success isn’t about the amount of money or the size of the stage, but instead about the collective intention of the crowd. Above all else, Lucidity restored in us a much-needed sense of faith in our generation and our distinctive West Coast community. The festival reminded us all that California is unique from anywhere else in the world, yet cosmically familiar.
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