Symbiosis Gathering was beautiful and magical. The art was incredible, the stages were built and designed perfectly, and the people were wonderfully weird. I went into this festival knowing only a few artists on the lineup, but the experience was well worth it!
Entering the festival, make sure you have enough gas because we waited about 4 hours in a car line on the way in. Luckily, we were able to stay in the comfort of my car unlike
Pemberton… I never realized the value of car camping until I bought a pass and didn’t have to lug all my shit from my car to my camping spot. Truly a blessing. Unfortunately, we didn’t have an EZ-up this time, so we couldn’t get super creative with our camp set up. However, our neighbors made up for it. They all brought lights, flags, tapestries, candles, and any other decor to make their campsite more lively and unique. All of them were so kind and offered glitter, paint, food, and anything else they had to gift. Not to mention, they helped me jump my car. It isn’t a camping festival unless your car dies on the way out, right?
Swimbiosis was surrounded by people baring it all, colorful swimsuits, and funky floaties scattered throughout the water. Some of the artists that played at this stage were Shiba San, Ekali, and all the members of Desert Hearts. The DJ booth was centered between two huge speakers that blasted music 360° so you could hear the beats from any angle. Two large beach umbrella sculptures set the scene, and there were plenty of shady places to hide from the sun and water to cool off in. Sunscreen, swimsuits, and sandals were staples when dancing around the Swimbiosis stage.
If you wanted to dance barefoot or swim around without being bombarded by pizza shaped and pink swan floaties, the Juke Lagoon was the stage to be at. The ground was covered in turf, and there were two houses built to climb up on for a better view. Most of the area was shaded because of the tree-like tarp suspended above. 2 Melo (pictured above) killed it by mixing electronic music with hip hop as well as dropping some Jackson 5 to really get the party started. I felt as if most of my time was spent at this particular stage.
The biggest stage at Symbiosis was the Fringe. The Fringe was incredibly displayed with vibrant copper and silver tones that reflected the sun perfectly. RL Grime performed at this stage and he absolutely murdered it, along with Gramatik, Santigold, and many others. The bridge built above the water going into the Fringe got cramped up pretty fast but it didn’t stop the high five train that ensued as you walked past.
Silk Road was a smaller, more intimate stage that was covered with carpets resembling Aladdin’s and silky tarps hanging from the sky above. We tended to stop here for a little R&R during the festival to recuperate before going back in the hot sun. The artists we were able to catch were more mellow than the DJ’s at the other stages.
We caught some wild performances at Family Circus, which you could infer by the name what it looked like. There were aerial ropes hanging from the ceilings with acrobats beautifully entangled through them spinning and twirling.
Dirtybird’s Claude Vonstroke performed at the Grotto. As I said before, I didn’t know much of the lineup so I can’t really list the artists I listened to, but there were many of different edm genres that you couldn’t help but move to.
My absolute favorite part of Symbiosis was the art. From the sculptures that stood high into the sky to the psychedelic pieces being live painted in front of my eyes, the talent produced from these artists was extraordinary. One thing that I have never experienced at any other festival was the 30 minute moving art show by Android Jones. From the outside, it appeared as a giant white dome. I couldn’t even explain how amazing it was. Jaw dropping. Magnetizing. Unreal. Well worth the money spent at the festival. There were so many other art pieces to look at, climb on, and interact with. Check out the video below for a sneak peek inside the dome.
Overall, the festival was absolutely incredible. The only negative parts worth mentioning was the amount of dust I inhaled, the clusterfuck of a line to fill up water, and the fact that I lost my disposable camera. I thought I was dirtiest after Lightning in a Bottle, but I may have topped myself at Symbiosis. Although, the thick layer of dirt on my body did make me look substantially tanner. Lol.
This was the final year Symbiosis will be at the Woodward Reservoir in California. It will be taking place in Oregon during the lunar eclipse next year under the new name ‘Oregon Eclipse.’ Now that would be an experience, let me tell ya!