Go ahead, call it the younger relative of Burning Man. Make your “dirty raver” jokes and tease the body-painted revelers. Snark away. That’s all well and good, but here’s the rub: The Symbiosis Gathering‘s attendees call it “adult-Disneyland” for a reason. Are you sure you’re not interested in an amusement park filled with scantily clad, wide eyed, rave-nymphs? Add in the mind-blowing lighting effects, and… there’s probably music? Must be music, right?
Here’s the even-cooler bit: All the people in attendance are keenly interested in self-improvement, global sustainability, and individual affirmation. They are passionate and involved. You might not buy what they’re selling, but they do walked their own talk.
This music, art, and consciousness gathering pops up in a different location every August, usually spanning four or five days. The organizers stress the word gathering rather than festival — Symbiosis is heavily dependent on community involvement and is more of a “collaborative experiment” than anything else. The programming is about as loose as the dress code — with a rotating cast of musicians and performance artists making appearances both on and off stage, while sculptures are crop up throughout the grounds and classes are held to teach yoga, sustainability, visionary art, permaculture, and Indigenous wisdom.
So, Burning Man’s even-hippier kid cousin? Seems like a fair assessment. (Though there’s no official relationship between the two)
Photographer Daniel Zetterstrom was at 2016’s gathering in Oakdale, CA to capture all of the Neverland-esque excitement. And even though the next Symbiosis isn’t for 11 months, after laying eyes on Zetterstrom’s images we’re already gearing up for the 2017 Oregon Eclipse set for August.