Arc of real evolution

Purposeful Partying – meaning and positive gathering

This wonderful article is from rupert faust, one of the grounded festival initiators. permaculture gatherings for Shifting the paradigm from ‘leave no trace’ to ‘leaving a positive trace’.

Copied from the wonderful grounded blog – stories, where im volunteering and connecting with the wonderful people for the planet

“we create symbiotic partnerships with all stakeholders and move to different sites each year to spread the perma-party action around. There is a whole lot of land in this country that needs a whole lot of love from people being on it and caring for it… it can be ridiculously hard work so that is why we make it our mission for it to be fun and enjoyable!”

We are being called to step up to evolve for the new paradigm – or depending on how you want to look at it – we are being called to step back, slow down and integrate the old ways of ancient wisdom in a modern context.

What is it that truly brings people together in celebration? Escapism or Connection? Destruction or Regeneration?

Parties for parties sake just won’t cut it anymore. Our mother earth is calling for more love and effort to be directed back into regenerating every piece of land upon which we stand – this is our response-ability, and while it may seem altruistic, it is purely a selfish endeavour as our very survival as a species depends on it. People are evolving from consumerist punters into productive participants that wish to grow and be of service to the land and their community. They want a deeper, richer and dare I say, transformative experience. They want to feel more connected to country, community and culture. They want to be part of something meaningful and contribute to creating a better world.

community gatherings that leave a positive trace across the environmental, social and cultural landscape. Festivals of the future will give people a more meaningful reason to celebrate, a purpose to party. Whether they are consciously aware of it or not; future festivals will proactively embrace the ethics and principles of permaculture – thinking tools for an era of change.

Who is on the leading edge of this cultural evolutionary leap? If we look back to Rogers’ ‘diffusion of innovations’ bell curve, then we can look to the small percentage of innovators and early adopters who are already showing us what the future of festival culture in Australia looks like.

Woodford Folk Festival is in a league of it’s own – the largest folk festival in the southern hemisphere and the largest gathering of musicians and artists in Australia. They were, (according to inside sources) the pioneers of the multi-day camping event in Australia way back in the 80’s.

Environmentally, Woodford has been cultivating a long term, all inclusive vision that not only makes it sustainable, but regenerative. Their 500 year plan, while pretty vague, lays a solid foundation of values and direction for all who engage with the festival. When they purchased an old run-down cattle farm to establish their permanent home, Woodfordia, they immediately began shaping their dream festival site and regenerating it into a cultural parkland dedicated to the arts, humanities and folklore. Soon after that ‘The Planting’ began in 1997.

From their website: Through The Planting, we created an event that contributes to worldwide consciousness emerging in communities everywhere—an endeavour to heal a planet damaged by the ravages of our industrial practices in the past and which sadly, still continue today. The programme, constructed to blend both the cultural expression and nurturing of our environment, both critical to the human experience and our planet’s health, is intended to encourage this symbiosis.

Socially, Woodford is a great example of embracing the traditional custodians and wider community, it’s a core value of theirs. Apart from the immense diversity in their official program, they have prominent politicians attending the festival every year (Bob Hawke was a regular) and over the years has been economically supported by every level of government. When the festival got slammed with the 2011 floods after a few years of poor ticket sales, they struck a deal with the local council to sell the land and lease it back at an affordable rate to secure the future of the festival for generations to come – an excellent example of resilience, adaptation, creative business and community integration.

Based on these observations Woodford is clearly an innovator when it comes to the trends around festivals. Ready to ride the (or define?) the next shift, they recently started their Artisans Camp that happens just before The Planting. A program of distinctive masterclasses designed to give participants the opportunity to upskill in a wide range of artistic and artisan areas such as comedy, circus, silversmithing, natural building and songwriting.

Woodford, whilst far from perfect, is a great example of the future of festival culture as they have been innovators from the start and are doing it now. They have strong partnerships with the local mob, they are actively improving and regenerating the land they are on, they have embraced and integrated just about every part of community and created a thriving culture that offers more than just a celebration.

Earth Frequency Festival & Island Vibe Festival
I’ve classed these two together for a few reasons, they are nearly sister events. They are both located in South East QLD, they both started in 2006, they are both of a similar size and each event shares resources and presents music/stages at the other. While the music and festival industry can be quite cut-throat and competitive, especially in the southern states, these two events are the fruits of a small but world-class collaborative community of conscious creatives that has emerged in the region over the last 20 years.

To expand their program and cultivate a deeper environmental and community connection both events have partnered with Grounded to offer a ‘Permaculture Retreat’ in the days leading up to the festival. These retreats are designed to allow a small group of participants to drop deeper into the story of themselves, the land we live on, the community we are a part of and the culture we are creating. Known to be transformational for the participants that attend, the retreats work thanks to a synchronistic alignment of values between all stakeholders giving back to the local community partners through project based education.

I initiated these retreats as I whole-heartedly believe them to be a fundamental part of the evolution of festival culture. The directors of these events do too, that’s why we do it.

Environmentally both events have been pushing to get their waste down to zero, first moving to full compostable cutlery and crockery and then seeking to remove single use plastic water bottles even before Green Music Australia initiated their industry campaign which has now gone global. Island Vibe has taken it one step further with it’s ‘Righteous Reusables’ initiative ditching the compostable plates in favour of a mobile wash station, with Earth Frequency sure to embrace the shift.

Earth Frequency was founded as a small tree planting doof, and now with its new permanent home at Ivory’s Rock that shares the same values, Grounded has brought this positive action back as a feature of the weekend festival.

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