Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rainbow Serpent: Inner Reflections

By Kathleen

 I have so much to say about how awesome rainbow Serpent was it’s difficult to choose what to write about. The great music? The beautiful art? The scale of the festival? What about the open hearted generosity of the attendees or how Australia simply keeps getting cooler?

While all that deserves attention and likes to be talked about there’s more that made this weekend amazing.

Let me back up…Some time ago a fellow traveler in Nepal told us about a festival called the Rainbow Serpent, I didn’t really even need to ask what it was about I wanted to go so when we arrived in Oz I Googled it. Wonder of wonders it was happening during our projected stay and still had tickets available. Downside was that they were way out of our budget. The early bird tickets were almost $100 cheaper but the early registration had closed out months ago. Oh well, better luck next time. Or was it?

Over Christmas we stayed with our friend in Sydney, her house happened to be housing a German couple who were also backpacking around, they were leaving Australia because of some visa issues and happened to have a pair of early bird tickets to Rainbow Festival which they kindly sold to us(Thanks guys!). So voila we drove through the gate last Thursday.

The Rainbow Serpent Festival, for all of you who are too lazy to click on the link, or for those who need further clarification is one of the biggest  psy-trance festivals in Australia. In it’s 15th year it has become one of the best known Melbourne centered festies and this year brought 20,000 people to it. It is in many ways Australia’s Burning Man.

We spent four days meeting new friends( our super generous neighbors), dancing like crazy people for four days straight, hanging out amongst wonderful art installations and people watching the diverse and colorful attendees. It was like a little bit of home and that proved to be an interesting challenge.

For the first two days I was overwhelmed by homesickness, I missed my friends  (who are avid festival goers) I missed their talent and their vibe and their ethics. Nothing and nobody seemed as cool as the people I already knew and I was feeling cynical and low. I was looking at the festival and thinking “ bellydancers, firespinners, lights, art, whatever… seen it a million times…. These people come to a festival to visit my life”

Then it hit me, these people come to festival to visit my life! My life is freaking amazing.

I have totally taken for granted the awesome-ness in my life.

I have been so blessed to know, meet and become friends with such extraordinary people. People who don’t just go to festivals to party but who go for the sense of connection and community that festivals bring.

What’s better they don’t just enjoy the community at the festival they have made that energy their life. In doing so they have created a better world, a world that has stronger communities, access to art and music and not mere concern for the environment but active participation in helping it.

These people have opened store, written music, painted art, taught students and made beautiful and wonderful contributions to the world, and especially to my world. You guys rock!

With that simple shift in perspective the whole festival changed. These weren’t just doppelgangers of my friends creating copies of my community, these people were my community, a community that has stretched around the globe, that I have found in every country I have visited, and yet is still interconnected and interwoven.

It is a community of visionaries, of artists, of friends who believe that the world would be a better place if we were all just a bit nicer. I was home.

Here’s some photos of the art, the shows and the people that made Rainbow Serpent Festival a tour-de-force of celebration, dance and light.

Art in the making.

Ott at the Main Stage

This butterfly was actually animated. At night it glowed, it's eyes lite up and it reacted to people.

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