Why Collaboration is Important to Enchanted Forest and the World
What makes a festival great?
While the music, art, venue, and educational offerings are important aspects, the key element comes from the people who help make the magic happen. The talents of many individuals with entirely different skill sets conjoining together to create a little temporary village is very powerful. Which is why co-creation is a cornerstone of Enchanted Forest Gathering. We invite our community to contribute to the Gathering in a variety of ways including live painting, performance, teaching, and greening. As a festival we value “multi-generational community participation” and believe it is essential to our success. EFG believes true collaboration is a symbiotic relationship that elevates both the community and the participants. New paths, perspectives, and experiences can be gained through working together. We want to spark “self-actualization through the process of sharing our gifts” in everyone who comes to Enchanted.
Organizations collaborate with festivals too, like Dancesafe which offers harm reduction services, as well as ear plugs, condoms, and water help keep attendees safe. The Zendo Project provides mental health services, for those experiencing emotional hardship during an event. Optimystic Media, is an co-op that helps festivals build media teams that produce high quality content from a network of reliable photographers writers and videographers effectively marshaling the content generating dreamers of the space towards communal goals shared in the festival community. Art collectives such as Branches, Further, and Tribe 13 display art from many creators under one roof, while members of The Union collaborate on individual canvasses at live events.
We’d like Enchanted not to be the ends to collaboration, but the ignition point. We invite you to take this collaborative spirit beyond the gates of our festival to the rest of the world! How can we collaborate bigger outside EFG? One example of festival collaboration is our sister event, Once Upon a Festival. This event brings together several production families including EFG, Desert Hearts, Lucidity, Envision, Raindance, Sacred Spaces, Nexus, and Hookah Dome. Each crew brings the best of what they do, making for some high quality and diverse programming.
Extending our boundaries even further, our community can even collaborate with the rest of the world. Burners without Borders is a grassroots organization that draws on the talented residents of the playa to solve issues across the world. Instead of just adding to landfill, after their event this year, Lucidity teamed up with the local Santa Barbara organization ExploreEcology/Art From Scrap for an Upcycling Awareness event. Leftover items were donated by the festival, and they held an event where people were encouraged to find a new purpose for them. The Polish Ambassador has become well known for hosting his Action Days where he and fans will visit a local garden or farm before or after one of his events. During action days attendees spend they day helping with projects and learning about permaculture.
Perhaps the next big step is to not just create these collaborative communities temporary, but to build permanent homes where we can all work, learn and play year round. One of the best known examples of this is Salmo River Ranch, home to Shambhala. For 10 months out of the year the 500 acre property exists as a working farm with livestock, gardens and hay fields. They have no corporate sponsorships and each stage is curated independently, resulting in one of the most eclectic lineups on the West Coast. There are many smaller examples of collaborative communities like this. There are lots of resources for those interested in being involved in such a situation. If you’re interested start by checking out, Reinbahiting the Village is a resource directory for specialists in all aspects of this idea to connect and collaborate. Activated Villages assists groups with finding communal properties to live out this dream.
Our world is full of people with differing backgrounds, opinions, and talents. Learning to co-inhabit the earth starts with small steps. There are many ways to participate even if you’re not an official EFG team member. Simply showing up and meeting a new friend, helping a lost person find their camp, or carpooling with a stranger adds to someone’s experience.
Photo by Cadencia