REVIEW: Dancing in a whole new world – Earth Frequency Festival 2016 wrap up

Picture yourself in a dream like state, your senses start to tingle and as you wander joyfully through a festival site. The ancient smell of Palo Santo surrounds the atmosphere while the cosmic sounds of various different stages pulsate across the earth in the distance, in front of you hundreds of pixies dance around giggling, caressing and playfully fawning over one another as you take a bite of a complimentary piece of fresh halva from a kind gentleman in traditional Greek dress. You take a sip of a cooling iced chai and make your way towards a free massage…. No this is no dream, this is just a glimpse of the magic and bliss that is Earth Frequency Festival.

In its 11th year this festival is not like your average music or arts festivals, there is not a single trace of rubbish to be seen, no security or police controlling or ushering people, they are present but simply smiling and observing their surroundings like anyone else, there are continuous free workshops on various kinds of meditation, permaculture, natural medicine, various men’s, women’s and children’s group sessions, Indigenous storytelling, sound healing and well as daily free morning yoga classes. There’s a captivating family area with movies, arts, music and countless free kids activities, a healing space that offers every kind of massage under the sun, visual and sonic stimulation everywhere you go including live renowned visionary artists scattered across the grounds creating as the festival goes on. There’s a smorgasbord of affordable, tasty and nourishing food and the long list of internationally recognised live and electronic music acts, stage settings and lighting that will transport you to another dimension, side shows of the world’s finest performers and world renowned presenters, healers and artists, as well as thousands of children, teens, men and women of all ages, lifestyles and backgrounds all contributing to a phenomenal space which is transformed from festival grounds to strong and supportive community like no other.

It would almost be impossible to describe the expression, joy, community, love and educational experience that Earth Frequency Festival offers, it is one of those experiences that needs to be felt to be understood and is one that each attendee will take with them once they leave.

Some of the festival highlights were of course the opening ceremony which featured performances from the Noonuccal Yillburraba Dancers as well as Deya Dova and Tenzin Choegyal. The return of crowd favourite Australian producer Kalya Scintilla and EFF first timer Eve Olution who last year were unable to perform due to visa troubles were also highlights, withdigital dance master Opiuo ruling the party on Saturday night.

Queensland’s own Oka, Kingfisha and of course socially conscious Blue King Brown entertained enormous crowds, Spoonbill, Staunch, Lubdub, Stickybuds, Dakini, Unity Roots, Felicity Lawless, One Tasty Morsel, Birrang Miil and Cheshire adding to the handful of names worth mentioning as across the board every dance floor was full to the brim and the love was well and truly felt within every set.

Organisers had for many months dealt with an onslaught of challenges via local residents and the council which meant an 11.00pm curfew was put on the music but the team at EFF are just as much creative as they are dedicated and put on three surprise D’s in a remarkable silent disco which had hundreds enjoying themselves without making a peep long into the morning on Sunday night.

This had to be a personal favourite as I decided to get a good night’s sleep on Saturday and chose to party on Sunday night and was happier than a kid in a candy store when we accidentally stumbled upon this bustling dance floor. Safe to say we made the most of this surprise silent disco and made some deep connections while making the most of the last hours of the last night of the festival.

A strong focus for EFF has always been family, and the emphasis is felt as you walk around the site – you can literally feel you are a part of a great big inspiring family.

The Family Realm as it is titled is constantly filled with smiling children, as a hoard of volunteers and family members help look after and entertain with arts and crafts activities, performances, workshops and movies.

Throughout the festival children ride bikes, play games and make believe, dance around in sound blocking headphones, have mud fights, play instruments, paint with the artists and climb on the various installations around the place, the environment not only stimulating to adults and young people but to children as people of all ages explore their childlike self and are encouraged to feel liberated, comfortable and safe.

This liberation is felt as within the crowd you notice people dressed up in the most fantastical and at times minimal of outfits, it almost feels as though you may have imagined such a scene, the beauty, individuality and compassion of all those who attended is really awe inspiring and is something that festival curator Paul Abad and his team are no doubt proud of.

There really is no simple way to describe how amazing this year’s festival was, having participated twice before something was very different and special about this year’s EFF and knowing the pressure that was felt by Paul and his hard working team in the lead up to this years festival, the dedication to positively contributing to the music and arts scene was certainly evident.

The entire EFF team truly deserve an enormous round of applause for putting on a festival that is so much more than music, punters and alcohol.

Their sense of community radiates across all stages and corners of the site all weekend long.

Not only did they put on a five star event but each guest was treated with five star service, with no shortage of warm showers and clean toilets as well as cold filtered drinking water and other services that were attended to all hours of the day and night.

It was what I would call a luxury festival experience, with many more perks and positive surprises than anyone could have imagined.

The closing ceremony featured a collective tuning-in meditation, a very special moment with the tingling energy of everyone around, with Paul then giving a heart-filled teary-eyed thank you which he could hardly finish before the entire crowd erupted in a huge standing ovation of whistles, applause, vocal sounds and drumming in honour of Paul’s dedication to the EFF community.

That wasn’t the end of it as the custodians gave a thank you and offered gratitude for the festival and its community. Following that a huge and very welcome surprise was the Earth oven feast also been prepared by elders – what a way to finish off what was already an unforgettable journey.

To all the artists, contributors, the hundreds of willing helpful volunteers, the immense number of staff, ground managers, musicians, dancers, entertainers, stallholders, food vendors, healers, massage therapists, speakers, presenters, the pixies, the mud covered dancers, the children, their parents, the goddesses and the warriors, the first timers, the veterans, the elders and crones, the community members, the behind the scenes gurus, the creatives, the hard working and the hard partying, to every single person who showed up and let go and surrendered to the community that was Earth Frequency, THANK YOU.

It was an honour to dance, walk and play with you all, and of course I will take with me every spontaneous group hug, smile, experience and emotion.

Earth Frequency 2016 you will always walk with me.

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