Symbiosis Gathering: Not your Average Transformative Fest
23 Jul 2015

The Author

Profile photo of Jessica Dugan
>>>Dream Chaser Activist * Live Music Enthusiast * Cannabis Industry Expert *Sparkle Spreader * Mindfulness Teacher * Yogi Artist with a Mermaid Soul <<<



Symbiosis Gathering ’12 | Photo by Jessica Dugan

Festival line-ups don’t stand out to me like they did when I was 21; they don’t recruit me the way Rothbury ‘09 demanded my presence.  Now 27- and reporting on fest culture for a 6th year- I wonder if I’m just changing or if, in fact, festival line-ups are overlapping and too commonly duplicating productions with limited diversity. In a time when the latter seems more true, Symbiosis Gathering calls me to participate in what appears to be shaping into the transformational gathering of the year, Symbiosis Gathering’s 10 Year Re:Union.

I first encountered Symbiosis Events in West Virginia, at All Good, in 2009. Covered in paint and glitter, I can still hear the conversation happening about baby wipes as my eyes met a promotional poster for that year’s event – Symbiosis’ then fourth gathering. Enamored by its location in Yosemite and its invigorating line up- including performances from Les Claypool, CoCo Rosie & Bassnectar– I ripped that poster off the porta-potty it decorated and took it home with me.  Cherishing the idea of making it to California for that festival that poster serves as a fond memory today; a memory of where I hoped I’d arrive and that I actually did.


While I didn’t make it to the ‘09 gathering,  I indeed made it to the 2012 eclipse gathering at Pyramid Lake with Little Dragon, James Blake, Tipper and Claude VonStroke.

“To be a part of this experience, with such a motivated collective, was to burn with passion, just like the solar flares that sizzled around our black moon that day.” – SBL ’12 coverage

You can read more about that epic- EPIC- solo journey I took that year here.

Papadosio's Anthony Thogmartin and Georgia Beasely scope the eclipse  at Pyramid Lake in 2012

Papadosio’s Anthony Thogmartin and Georgia Beasely scope the eclipse at Pyramid Lake in 2012 | Photo by Jessica Dugan

Like the majestic setting granted to us that year at Pyramid Lake, Symbiosis continues to take their festival settings seriously.

“Symbiosis Gathering has established its reputation and built its ethos on an unmatched combination of cutting edge talent and a stunning natural location. Held near the border of Yosemite National Park, the vibe is set with Woodward Reservoir’s sandy beaches and lakeside stages, built around a naturally occurring 5-pointed peninsula. Attendees can literally swim between stages to catch headliners. The fusing of cutting edge music and potent workshops in a beautiful environment means Symbiosis is one of those few festivals that can legitimately claim to offer a potent multifaceted experience.” – Symbiosis Gathering

Maintaining its individuality, this year’s event is stacked with diversity in education, self-realization and psychedelic play (our favorite kind!).


In addition to the ‘09 & ‘12 artists mentioned above, honorary musicians from previous events include Sound Tribe Sector 9, Amon Tobin, Lotus, Bluetech and Tipper.   This year’s dynamic line up includes performances from Nicolas Jaar, Four Tet and the mastermind behind Shpongle itself, Mr. Raja Ram.  Various booty-shaking genres covered at this year’s event include electronica fusion, downtempo, bass, house, minimal techno, progtrance and world beats.

View this year’s full lineup here.

Sector 9 @ Symbiosis in 2013

YouTube Preview Image


If you festival Symbiosis right, you’ll collect not only some of the best music sets of your life, but also an empowering education too. This year’s presenters take on a whole new persona with influential discussions from leaders like investigative journalist, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!  We, at Sparkleberry Lane, our strong promoters of democracy and have looked up to Amy when understanding the potential of a successful democracy. Amy inspired us to join in on the Occupy movements and continues to keep us centered knowing that- WE THE PEOPLE – have the ability to come together and make positive changes in our world. Amy’s appearance at Symbiosis may be one of the first of it’s kind as we have yet to encounter her name on a festival line up like this before.


Amy Goodman giving Keynote @ the 2013 National Conference for Media Reform  Photo by Tony Webster

“She is also the first journalist to receive the Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ for “developing an innovative model of truly independent grassroots political journalism that brings to millions of people the alternative voices that are often excluded by the mainstream media.” – Democracy Now!

In addition to Amy’s talk, festival attendees will hear from accurate astrologer Rob Brezsny. Rob’s weekly horoscopes are a must read if you have yet to discover them. His predictions are written with reference to stories, film, artwork and other writings. Rob’s horoscopes tend to be freakishly on point and reinforce truth behind astrology.

Claire Thompson and Freq Nasty will offer their Yoga of Bass workshop. In this workshop participants will come to understand the epiphanies found on the dance floor in relation to yogic philosophy. The term “musical highway” will also be defined in this not to be missed workshop,  a great one for ecstatic dancers.  Participants will also explore low bass sound waves and varying BPMs.

We also look forward to Abigail Hinds’ workshop on tracking the female moon cycle and her discussion on natural birth control along with chocolatier Brian Wallace’s presentation on the ethnobotanical roots of Cacao. Furthermore, we encourage everyone in our community to take advantage of Cameron Bowman AKA the Festival Lawyer’s  “Know your rights workshop for festival goers,”  which will prepare you to handle an encounter with police enforcement.

View full workshop lineup here.

Acro Yogis sure to be spotted at Symbiosis | Photo by Jessica Dugan from Pyramid Eclipse '12

Acro Yogis sure to be spotted at Symbiosis | Photo by Jessica Dugan from Pyramid Eclipse ’12


Symbiosis Gathering knows what it’s people need and for that they give us a rejuvenation station at their  Alchemy Village!

You’ll be able to spot  sparkleberries by the masses here,  a place that will host classes for all us wellness warriors throughout the weekend.  Stop by the village and explore a variety of yoga classes, dance classes, permaculture and nourishment classes- including ones on kombucha and aphrodisiacs.

Feeling the fest grunge?  For those of you lookin’ to get so fresh and so clean, clean,  Alchemy Village will provide showers at their gorgeous Wellness Oasis. Oasis indeed, this part of town also includes a Sauna (yes,  a Sauna!), massage and bodywork, sound healing and acupuncture.

To self-care bliss we go! Onward and upward everyberry. 


Symbiosis Gathering will offer three expanded courses -in Permaculture,  Yoga and Visionary Art- to those attendees looking to move a little deeper into a learning experience cultivated specifically for our conscious festival community.  These courses are ticketed separately and include three home-cooked local organic meals a day within the creatively nurturing atmosphere of the Woodward Reservation Regional Park. Tickets for the Elemental Alchemy courses are 695$ each and include a festival experience pass along with an early day arrival pass.

Elemental Alchemy Video Trailer

Permaculture Immersive:

The day when all front lawns are gardens and rainwater harvesting is the normal is becoming closer and closer. Symbiosis Gathering will offer a course on Permaculture helping to push us further towards that arrival.

“The Permaculture Intensive Course will feature a balance of instruction and hands-on activities; each of the five days will be based upon a primal element: fire, earth, air, and water. Topics will include permaculture principles, basics, advances on methods and techniques, community building, and ancestral arts as well as hands-on natural building activities such as fire making, horno cob ovens, mapping and design, hosted by an all-star cast of inspiring teachers and guest speakers.” – Symbiosis Gathering

Learn more here.

Yoga Immersive:

Participants stretch together at Symbiosis '12 | Photo by Jessica Dugan

Participants stretch together at Symbiosis ’12 | Photo by Jessica Dugan

A multi-disciplinary yoga series is offered for our beloved Yogis at this gathering. Whether you need to silence your mind through meditation, cleanse your energy with pranayama breathing or stretch into your body for the best dance moves you’ll be making, Symbiosis Gathering’s Yoga Immersive has got all of your Yoga desires covered. Yoga brings forth mental clarity, balance, strength and flexibility all of which are ingredients to help you integrate a restorative element into your festival experience.

Learn more here.

Visionary Art Immersive:

Visionary art pioneers  Andorid Jones, Kris Davidson and Simone Star – to name just a few- come together to offer you, the fellow artist, guidance into the world of transformative art.

This course will cover : Community Through Art, Personal Expression, Refining Your Creative Purpose, Honing Your Craft, The Business of Art, Elevating Your Game,  An opportunity to Network With The Pros, Creative Personal Development, Diversifying Your Skill Set, Skill Share, Creative Exploration, Inspiration Generation, Inspiration Mining, and Sacred Tattooing.

The gorgeous artwork of  Kris Davidson- an instructor for the Visionary Art Immersive

The gorgeous artwork of Kris Davidson- an instructor for the Visionary Art Immersive

Learn more here. 


If  the above offerings aren’t enough, you have the dough and you’re looking for a “next level” festival experience, you might consider glamping out at Symbiosis.  Ready Set Camp has limited space available, so,  be sure to jump on this luxurious option quickly if you lucky and you got dat C.R.E.A.M.

“Let us set up everything for you. Ready Set Camp will allow you to come and enjoy the festival without having to bring all your stuff.” – Symbiosis Gathering


Orgasmic music, empowering workshops, expanded courses in yoga, art and permaculture are what make Symbiosis a transformational gathering. The uniqueness lying within- and the intentions set behind- this event’s agenda, however, are what make this gathering- like the Symbiosis Gatherings of the past- another one not to be missed. Heavily recruited by the most eclectic line up of the summer, I hope to see you – transforming with the greater collective- at Symbiosis Gathering 2015.

Festival experience tickets and can be purchased here for $260 through August 16th. Be sure to get your ticket while they are still available.

We hope to see you there!


10 Year Re:Union |Photo by Symbiosis Events

Tony Webster’s Photo was used under the Creative Commons Law. To visit more of Tony’s work please visit his Flickr here.

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