7 transcendental festivals out in the middle of nowhere

Christopher Hooton
Thursday 13 April 2017 17:18
Electric Festival in Michigan
Electric Festival in Michigan

Some festivals are about music; some are about food or culture; some are about just blowing off some steam built up at work or while studying. The holy grail though tends to be the ones aiming for a deeper experience, that reject the isolation of modern society and cherish togetherness.

They're easy to scoff at, but while cynics are sat at their desks mocking people trying to "find themselves", thousands are having legitimately moving and profound experiences that might actually make them reassess how they choose to live their everyday life.

Here we round up some global options when it comes to festivals you really have to commit to:

BOOM - Portugal

Taking place every two years beside a lake, BOOM celebrates the full moon with a psychedelic maelstrom of events encouraging people to converge and experience an alternative reality.

All styles of music can be found but the emphasis is on the electronic, along with talks, group meditation and film screenings.

It claims to be "an autonomous zone of cognitive liberty" and therefore is completely free from corporate sponsorship and logos.

Situated in the Rhodope Mountains, this festival is not interested in A-list line-ups but rather providing a means for escapism, with attendees revelling in the wildlife and fauna that covers the site and erecting stages, timber shacks and art installations out wood sustainably sourced from the surrounding forests.

Also, it throws a pool party for everyone the day after the festival ends.

Burning Man - Black Rock Desert

The mecca of transformational festivals. You already know the main details, so here's an anecdote that perfectly sums it up:

"[My friend] decided to wander out onto the playa one night for a little alone time. After a while of walking around in the dark she comes upon what looks like this portable toilet out in the middle of nowhere. She thinks to herself, "I could pee right now," walks over to the porta potty and opens the door. Only it's not a toilet. Instead there's a guy standing behind a wooden bar top with shelves of liquor behind him. He smiles at her and says, "Welcome to the smallest bar in the world, what you like?" After the initial shock wore off, she steps inside and orders a shot of whiskey. She stayed there for a while, had a couple of drinks, thanked the bartender and then walked back to her camp."AfrikaBurn - Tankwa Karoo

Electric Forest - Rothbury, Michigan

It's hard to think of a festival more picturesque than this one, which takes place in a dense forest that is lit with neon so as to give it an otherworldly look.

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The emphasis here is on art, with the tall trees being utilised to create some stunning installations and nooks, but there is also a packed DJ line-up each year and an enormous stage.

AfrikaBurn - Tankwa Karoo

This is not so much a festival as a temporary city.

With community building, decommodification, creativity, self-reliance and radical self-expression as its core values, AfrikaBurn is a vast in scale, week-long experience involving a ton of performances.

This year's theme is simply 'play'.

Envision - Costa Rica

If the lush rainforest of Uvita isn't enough for you, at sunset the tropical beach of Playa Hermosa opens at this festival, which is all about exploring our fundamental connection with nature.

Art, spirituality, yoga, music, dance, performance, education and sustainability are the cornerstones of Envision, which is filled with temples and healing sanctuaries.

Finally, we come to the appropriately named Nowhere.

Surrounded by rocky mountains in the scorched Spanish desert, this festival is so intense it's website comes with not only a survival guide but an 'emotional survival guide'.

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