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3rd Annual Symbiosis Gathering – An Eco-Music Festival in the Sierra Foothills

The Third Annual Symbiosis Gathering, an arts, music, and conscious lifestyle event much like a mini Burning Man in the mountains, took place approximately 15 miles up a one-lane dirt road from the town of Angels Camp, California, from 20-24 September 2007. Getting there was a journey. The scenery was spectacular. And I had no idea what I was in for.

It did not really sink in until 4am Saturday morning as I was lying in our tent feeling the bass reverberate from the ground, that I had, in effect, signed up for 4 continuous days of deadly good music. From Thursday until Monday noon, outdoor live and electronic world grooves, downtempo, hip hop, breaks, psy and psybient trance took place on three stages nestled amidst foothill pines, manzanitas, and blue oak trees. In between, you could peruse full-scale art installations, listen to guest speakers, attend workshops, learn about comprehensive greening initiatives or relax in healing spaces.

Efforts to make Symbiosis a zero-waste, green event were commendable – given the festival’s distance from civilization.

Programs were printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper, using a wind-powered printer and non-toxic inks.

Vendors provided 100% organic food using re-usable dishes that were washed onsite, for a $1 refundable deposit. In addition, Symbiosis provided basic recycling and composting services, as well as biodiesel generators and fuel. Environmental education was made available through the Renewable Energy Showcase presented by the Sustainable Living Roadshow, and other performances.

My favorite eco-experience was taking a much enjoyed, $5 steaming hot low-impact shower courtesy of the creators of the “Purification Portal – an Integrated Water Experience.”

The lineup was stellar: Hallucinogen in Dub, Shpongle, Eat Static, Symbiotic Orchestra (feat. Steve Kimock, members of SCI, Zilla, the Glitch Mob, & Special Guests), Bassnectar, Bluetech, Chris de Luca vs. Phon.o, D-Nox & Beckers, Entheogenic, Flying Lotus, Kelpe, Lotus, Mala, Ott, Pnuma (live PA) , Rinkadink, PatchBay, Pedro, Solead, SOTEG, Spoonbill, Telefon Tel Aviv, Ticon, TranceZenDance, Triptych, Zilla, and more.

[tags]symbiosis, 3rd annual symbiosis gathering[/tags]

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  1. dave says:

    you guys need to go back to AVERY and remove youre trash to call this a green event. at least sort it so we can just haul it off for you. youve got a long way to go before you should be proud of youre achievments. to call this a burning man type event is B.S. freaks YES, fun YES, burning man NO! Pick up after youreselves!

  2. lorna says:

    Hi Dave,

    Yes, not everyone packed out their trash, and that is a poor reflection on many of the people who went to this event.

    The population of people at Symbiosis who also go to Burning Man is high, and many of the people involved in creating Symbiosis also contribute to creating Burning Man. Now, it would be great if Symbiosis had the cleanup crew that Burningman has, but Burning Man has been around longer, has a way bigger budget and far more manpower.

    As with many eco-minded events, Symbiosis fell short of being zero-waste, and environmentally sustainable, though the intention was there and effort was made.

    Burning Man is hardly carbon-neutral, now, is it? All the plastic water bottles, eating utensils, paper plates, disposable glow sticks, plus the fuel to haul stuff out there, and blow shit up with? Do you really think Burning Man volunteers manage to gather every single feather and sequin that falls upon the playa?

    I would say, Burning Man’s overall environmental impact is negative.

  3. alexandra says:

    I went to Symbiosis last year and I agree with you. I think the efforts that were made for it to be a green festival were noticeable. The reusing of dishes is something you don’t see very often. I came home and started to turn off my water while brushing my teeth, an unnoticed habit of mine since I was little – after reading facts about water useage and what I can change in my own life on a poster.
    I also found the festival very healing besides being fun. My Mom had died a few months earlier and one of the tantric workshops allowed me to connect to my spirituality again and to people.

    I hope to return again.

  4. Mrs Green says:

    Hi there :)
    I’m in the Uk and was really excited to read about this festival. Over here, so much waste is created by such events and, as you might have guessed from our website, reducing waste in every day life is my passion.

    What a shame though, to read about all the litter! There was clearly so much effort that went on at the festival to ensure its reduced carbon footprint and then debris was left to endanger wildlife and harm the environment.

    The issue that constantly confuses me is how do you get people to care? We can provide all the facilities and technology to make recycling etc viable, but it requires us to willingly take part in order for it to work – as you saw at the festival.

    If people won’t pick up after themselves, even after having a wonderful experience at a festival, then how do we heal that and help people to care again?

    Or do you think it’s something else that makes people leave litter?

    Anyway, thanks for the great read; it was heartening to hear of such a green event taking place :)

  5. telefon dinleme I also found the festival very healing besides being fun. My Mom had died a few months earlier and one of the tantric workshops allowed me to connect to my spirituality again and to people.