Symbiosis Gathering 2013

symbiosis man

sign one

sunset crowd

hippie girl

headstand ufo

I drive away from Symbiosis Gathering at the Woodward Reservoir in California, enchanted by the warm and wonderful connections I made.  I ventured here alone, not quite sure what to expect, but I did hope for something wonderful and unexpected. After I pitched my tent along the water, an endless adventure of yoga, meditation, dance, and artwork ensued.


sunset venue

yoga pose

long walk

fire heart

Symbiosis is defined as an interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both; a mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups.  There isn’t a better definition that encompasses my magical experience that this event was able to create in such a short amount of time, simply because this festival is a gathering of people that have a similar interest of loving life, our planet, music, creativity, and the sustainability of everything in hopes to create happiness that is shared with one another by embracing our Mother Earth.

flute man

skateboard kid

april umbrella

redhead dred

The hypocrisy of these major events is a relevant topic because the earthly-principled standards of what these festivals dictate do not always jive with the generation of trash and consumerism that they digest.  However, this festival does provide a temporary environment for the “civilized” to live outside the normal commerce of civilized life.  One can feel that our society is uncivilized when you examine the big picture of mass-consumerism which feeds our addicted, gluttonous economy while bleeding our generous planet of her beautiful resources and polluting her in the process.  Freegans and their “anti-consumerist” ideologies proudly showed up at Symbiosis, digging for tasty vegan meals out of the trash.  Mother Earth loves Freegans.

freegan checks

freegan eating

freegans copy


At Symbiosis you can easily get involved in a deep discussion about understanding how sustainable beliefs and behaviors are in conflict, and that is why events like these are important and relevant even though there are many hurdles to overcome until ideals equate with real actions by the majority.  You can find eco-friendly, intelligent earth-lovers that are eager to converse about change.

chundra hands

black power

cute girl one

hanging out

The social conscious of the youth may be advancing towards understanding the consequences of consumption and how each individual has an unseeingly, substantial contribution to the cumulative effect of every problem and solution – if only we could come together and act on our unified understanding of this we could create no waste or at least manage it more efficiently to renew energy and sustain resources.  Festivals like Symbiosis and Burning Man are trying to make a difference, but at times there purpose is lost in the shuffle of a seemingly endless party.  Maybe there were answers found at the many available discussion groups and seminars at Symbiosis, if not, at least they tried and had a good time doing it.


crowd five

sunset colors

festival peeps

If you have a conversation with a festival waste-management employee, then you will see the disgusting problem that exists at most festivals from Bonarroo to Coachella to Burning Man.  It takes weeks on end for Bonarroo to clean up abandoned camp-sites and overflowing trash bins, and this problem is easier for them to solve because Bonarroo owns the land, allowing them to develop compost areas on site.

tent lights two


guy with tie


Unlike some festivals, Symbiosis Gathering is a festival on the move, which keeps a relatively small, dedicated following.  Fortunately, this magical gathering is still a relatively small festival, and the movement helps keep the network of peaceful, music-yoga-lovers and vegans re-uniting in a mellow setting without too much disturbance from a local community; small towns embrace this festival as it temporarily brings in a good amount of business and exposure to remote areas.

festival crowd 2

guys on tower two

scary people

tattoo folks

The energy was very pure for me at Symbiosis because it wasn’t overblown with 50,000 guests, and people were accessible as you could run into a new friend, time and time again, actually bringing people together for the full event instead of just one magical moment lost in time.  You will find “Burners” at Symbiosis Gathering most likely going through Burning Man de-tox, reminiscing about the crazy and beautiful artwork at Burning Man this year.

crowd close two


crowd distnace three

moon arm

people 2

The relaxing atmosphere at Symbiois Gathering was enhanced by the meditation and yoga centers which I truly needed; i was wonderfully seduced into more then one venue by harmonium chants that would lay me down to downward dog and long yoga sessions – one of the main reasons I felt comfortably alone.

yoga inside

downward dog


cool spot

Water is one of the most undervalued commodities on this planet and it is one of the most important draws for me to come to Symbiosis Gathering.  At Burning Man I find myself in swirling dust storms and I cannot dip into fresh water and swim from venue to venue, listening to music as I backstroke in the fresh water, and then dance next to uninhibited people after a long swim, pulsating my wet body to fresh rhythms with clean mud swirling between my toes.

water party

balance act

camp water

water dancer

This water-haven festival could be my temporary heaven on earth and this is why Symbiosis is so special to me as it will always be held on a waterfront area, allowing festival guests to naturally cleanse themselves in the buff and lay themselves on the grassy waterfront.  Although skinny-dipping is not allowed, it is still widely done with no bother.  I admit that I was naked in the water as well.  Why not?  Why should we be afraid to show our naked bodies when it is us in the most pure form.  Power to the naked.

nudes nudes

nudes two

naked hands

house car

I would begin my long swims just beyond where my tent was pitched along the waterfront. I swam around the festival entrance where security checks wristbands, feeling like a water-ninja, although I was swimming with an expensive wrist-band. It was a very lovely, long swim; I just put my head down, flopping my arms in the cool water until I reached the first venue area, The Cove, with the wolf statue nearby that was brought from Burning Man.  I got out, danced in the crowd, and warmed my body in the warm sun to sweet grooves.

lake camping

bus distance

white guy

upside down

bike rig

The hill on the Cove proved to be a large gathering place and there was non-stop dancing on the bamboo towers.  Climbing up the towers gave me an amazing bird’s eye view of the craziness.

man on top wide

long hair


hanging peeps 2

guy hanging 2

guy hanging

After I got my fill of music at The Cove, I jumped back into the fresh reservoir and began swimming my next journey to the Empire of Love. It was a routine that felt so healthy, and when combined with Yoga and amazing vegan food at the Kiosks, I was energized with a very healthy weekend that gave me a high on good health and sobriety (well almost).  Another great aspect of Symbiosis Gathering is the great selection of vendors that provided a wide selection of food, including a great selection of vegan meals and earthy desserts to die for.

afro guy

food kiosks

food guy

good eats

I came to Symbiosis on a journey by myself not sure what I was looking for, but somehow it found me, immediate connections with positive people that were open to communicating.  Some would immediately greet me with a hug when meeting for the first time – a wonderful, warm first reception that Americans normally aren’t use to.  Most European cultures greet with a kiss, or two or three, on the cheek – much better then a handshake, well, at least for me!

kiss cheek two

two chicks

chicks and guy

smiling girl

umbrella sundancer

artist chick three

artist chick

Another great aspect of Symbiosis was the commerce that was allowed by artists.  Artists were selling their artwork, goods, clothing, and creative wares.

selling rings


girl look

store one

feather mohawk

red hat girl

store people

I also noticed at Symbiosis that there were musicians that would wander around with their instruments, hoping to meet another wandering, soulful musician with notes to share.   I witnessed this violin and trumpet player jamming not too far from the heavy beats of the Pantheon, feeding their impromptu jam-session.

violin trumpet

hippies hanging 2  hippie musicians

guitar player


I was ecstatic to see the band, Ecstatic Union, wandering barefoot past the food kiosks while jamming their songs, with their posse singing along.  Their girlfriends were handing out free copies of their latest Album titled Sundog while they walked along the field singing their songs.

hippie group

hippie group 2

The most welcoming group I met was the Hare Krishnas, and one in particular, Chandra, was so completely magnetic with positive energy; I was drawn into their circle of open arms and soothing chants.

chundra alive

chundra dancing

face paint two

face paint

Chandra would spend her time face-painting new friends and entertaining them with her exuberant and animated conversation that would have me smiling and laughing.  I spent a lot of time with the Krishnas, surrendering to their harmonium meditations in a relaxed state of bliss.

hari krishna

krishna guy

old lady

three eyes

purple hair


They gave me free cookies and taught me their prayers and beliefs.  I wandered away with beads and subconsciously feeling and hearing the transcendental vibration of my consciousness being revived by the love of my new Hare Krishna friends.  There chants remain inside me.  Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare…


dad bike

lady umbrella

umbrella girl

Symbisosis festival really lives up to it’s definition of interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both; a mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups – well, maybe it should be defined as an interaction of many different organisms living in close physical association.  I learned from some people that were really different then myself, but we came together vibrantly because we shared the common interest of loving the people very much that care for our planet and really live it in celebration.  The Hare Krishnas have contacted me again and I shared with them a blurp about my latest adventure, sailing away on the ocean to Alaska.  We will meet again and I will venture to Symbiosis again and again!  This love is to be continued.  Thank you Symbiosis Gathering.  No more words… just photography… here you go festival lovers…


sunset river


top view

lights yoga

sunset baby

crowd distance two

naked girl

guys on tower copy

man on top wide

sunset copy jedi boat

dancing umbrella

night rocking


girl walking

crowds food

pantheon copy

color thing

food stands

bingo copy

hangout car

angel wings

fire dancer


crowd close four

crowd close five

feet up

hanging peeps 2

hanging peeps

bud girl

cute girls 2

sleeping man

pantheon peeps

indian dude copy

flying woman

pantheon one

one bubble

flying bubbles


symbols close

sunset crowd four

sunset crowd three

couple sitting

hoop group

hoop guy

hippie dude

water hangout

cool guy


china man hat

funky stage

funky triangle

laying down guy

funky kid

hula hoop guy

hoop girl

woman umbrella

pantheon car

peeps  girl laughing two

jedi girl laughing

jedi party

bike hangout

pink glasses

moped guy

indian dude april smiling


yoga group

yoga chick


rainbow colors

girls looking




hippie smore

crowd sun3

crowds sun2

crowd sunset

trippy art

open cage

healing man


water party two

alone chick

hippie photo

hippie girl 2

wolf far

hippies 2



cool hair sunset

live music

sunset round

sunset entrance

cute girls2


bingo 2

hippies copy

pantheon side

weird styles 2

rasta headstand


red car

feather umbrella

musicians yoga

artist chick copy

prying jaws

cute girls

funny suit

lauren and friend

angel wings


crowd close two

fist pump

trippy art

sax player

pointing finger

baby crew

night rocking

cute girls 2

tattoo back

yoga area


indian dude


dancing house 2

dancing house

red car copy

dancing man

afro dance 2

afro dance

sign clouds

night sign



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