Festival time with a twist

The face of festivals has changed – it’s time for 21st century party animals to get their conscious rave on
Festival time with a twist
July 10, 2016   |    Laura Martin

When was the last time you had an evangelical moment – a buzzing, synapse-firing euphoria – on the dancefloor? If the answer is ‘um… ?’, it might be time to explore a new way of partying.

Right now, there’s a movement which believes people need to connect to the music, each other and the wider cosmos to feel these natural highs again. Now is apparently the time to start ‘conscious raving’.

One person at the forefront of this scene is Kim Booth, a music promoter and PR who has worked in dance music for 16 years. ‘About six years ago I didn’t like the direction the dance music world was taking. To me, it was too unconscious and too focused on the material, rather than the music,’ she says. ‘I think a conscious rave is about having a willingness to explore.’

Kim will be hosting a series of conscious rave events in Ibiza in September, with DJs playing sets alongside yoga sessions.


The original festival dedicated to self-expression was Burning Man – the annual gathering that now takes place in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. There are over 5½ square miles of desert – a blank canvas attended by tens of thousands of active participants, who take their own art installations and create a vibrant city.

Connecting at a deeper level with your fellow revellers and surroundings, may allow you to achieve that elusive higher state of consciousness. And far from the muck and grime of years gone by, festivals have had a luxury makeover. These days, Burning Man-goers are building plush camps and arriving by private jet, while even those at Glastonbury can indulge in a blow-dry bar and bed down in a comfy yurt – but it all adds to your wellbeing.

Sociologist Dr Karenza Moore sees a correlation between this new school of celebration and the stresses of living in today’s fast-paced society. ‘While full-on hedonism in nightlife still exists, people are under a lot more pressure. I feel this wellbeing as part of club culture could be a way of coping with that.’



52_Festival obonjan

In Croatia, a formerly derelict island has been developed for conscious raving. The idyllic Obonjan hosts a five-week long, creative programme of music, intellectual talks, art and health, 6km from the mainland, across the Adriatic Sea from Šibenik.

Stay in a furnished, air-conditioned bell tent with proper beds (sleeps three) for £59 a night. The price includes access to watch the live bands and DJs, talks, cinema, art and performances, and join in with interactive sessions, daily group yoga classes and meditation. Other activities include dance, tarot readings and reiki. Stay for a week or stay for the summer! 28 July-6 September, obonjan-island.com


52_Festival WayOutWest

Enjoy earth-friendly vibes in Sweden. Way Out West is now in its ninth year, but in 2012, the organisers decided the whole site would go meat free. And, in 2015, it went milk free.

This year’s forward-thinking event – featuring Morrissey, Sia, Massive Attack, Grace Jones, Stormzy among others – encourages festival goers to become more conscious still, with the site aiming to become carbon neutral. The organisers say: ‘Basically, it’s about everyday humanism, caring for our earth, the animals and our fellow humans, treating them with respect. It is just common sense and it feels good.’

Since its inception in 2007, Way Out West is one of the most respected festivals in Scandinavia. It takes rock, pop, urban and electro stars and hosts them all in an intimate setting.

A regular weekend ticket is £196, (£169for 13-17 year-olds).Camping is forbidden, but hotel info can be found on the website. 11-13 August, wayoutwest.se


52_Festival Festival6

Set in Portmeirion, a stunning north Welsh coastal village, the festival mixes up party sessions from Hot Chip, Róisín Murphy, Bastille and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Highlights include a torchlight parade, beach boxing workshops and soundtracked swimming sessions. 1-4 September, festivalnumber6.com



Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire. One of the original and best festivals to balance relaxation and revelry. Headliners The Flaming Lips, Crystal Fighters and Jackmaster play alongside talks about the revolutions, records and rebels of the Sixties, detox-to-retox yoga sessions, plus skinny dipping, for those really at one with themselves. 4-7 August, wildernessfestival.com


52_Festival Bestival

Isle of Wight. When Major Lazer, Richie Hawtin and Eats Everything are done on stage, you’ll want to take a breather at the Slow Motion area. Browse the Sunday Best Cardboard Record shop, have a detoxing kombucha or a restorative yoga class. ‘Refuel mind and body for the next adventure,’ says Bestival boss, Rob Da Bank. 8-11 September, bestival.net


Sign up below to receive emails from BALANCE with news, trending stories, exclusive offers, competitions and more.

View Privacy Policy