How Conscious Festivals Can Heal The Collective

July 7, 2022

When I heard about a conscious music festival in the middle of Poland, I was intrigued. Coming back to my homeland is always a bittersweet experience. I see a lot of beauty, a lot of healing and caring in the people of this land. Poland is still famously conservative, with some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe. Yet, I have been hearing over the years how the spiritual scene in Poland is rapidly growing. A lot of conscious events are happening all over the country. It inspired me to check it out. After all, a conscious festival in your homeland gives a beautiful glimpse of the spiritual health of the land. I gathered my friends from four different countries and together we dove into the experience. Here’s my outtake at how attending conscious festivals can contribute to the healing of the collective.

Festival grounds

1. No substance abuse 

One of the first things that drew me to check out a conscious festival, was information about the no-alcohol policy. One thing that always takes away from enjoying live music at festivals is the use (and abuse) of substances. Having a sober experience connecting to an artist is much more profound. We can also connect with people around us in a meaningful way. It changes the narrative around partying, dancing, and celebrating. It brings you closer to your centre, rather than giving it an escape route. No alcohol means people can celebrate more consciously, consuming music, food and the presence of other people in a different way. It also means you can wake up early to join a morning Asana practice instead of curing a hangover.

2. Multi-generational experience

Conscious festivals are truly meant to be enjoyed by all ages. Since the celebration is not focused on all-night drinking and raving, a lot of people come with toddlers and teenagers. To see people of all ages celebrate together was not only beautiful but also natural. The elders were respected and honoured. It brought me back to the feeling of living in a tribe. With a lot of music events being extremely ageist, this experience was beautiful and healing. People of all ages could play their unique part in the collective. Adults, kids and elders joined together in a celebration of life. We all took an exhale breath, reminded that we’re all just at different stages in our journeys.

3. Healing of the land and its people

To me, one of the most profound takeaways from experiencing a conscious festival in Poland was the fact that it was created by the people of this land and on this land. Poland has a tumultuous history and a lot of pain that we still carry from years of wars, oppression, communism and conservative politics. The festival and the Polish people who created it and attended it made me see the other side of it. It felt like we were doing healing work for the generations after us. Healing traumas passed on by this land. Being able to speak lovingly to people of my land and see how much beauty and compassion we can pour, left a profound feeling that this is healing the land. Every country, every land has its traumas and by being a part of a collective awakening we’re contributing to the healing of the deep wounds.

Conscious festival

4. Healing power of workshops 

A huge part of the festival apart from the live music experiences were workshops. The number of different subjects and interests was vast enough to make everyone able to find something for them. And it was healing. My namesake, Ula, whom I met during the breathing workshop told me she goes to a conscious festival every year, and each time what she learns and discovers outdoes a year’s worth of therapy. A three hours singing circle experience guided by Uria Tsur opened me in ways that I couldn’t have imagined. My friends were equally moved. We couldn’t have pinpointed what was it about this collective healing experience that made it so profound. But it did. Maybe it was being a part of a group of people willing to do the work, show up and walk the festival grounds with hearts wide open. 

5. Care for the planet

A festival created with consciousness can heal us in many ways. Conscious festivals heal our relationship with our inner selves, with each other and with the planet. All attendees and artists were asked to bring their reusable utensils and bowls and all food sold at the festival were vegan). A lot of the food vendors created food locally and organically sourced from their gardens. There was recycling on the premises and solar panels to charge electronics and supplied drinking water to reduce plastic. There was no garbage left out, and no volunteers that had to work overnight to clean up our mess. We can rethink how to party consciously, reducing our waste and impact on the planet.

6. A feeling of community

Thanks to the size and the vibe of the festival it was easy for us to feel like we were one big community. After a while, people who I passed around the food stalls or in the fields were familiar. We all would smile at each other, with our hearts wide open from the days of healing workshops and dance celebrations. Holding hands with strangers, singing together or hugging felt less intimidating when we were encouraged and guided by teachers and artists to keep looking deep into the other, to see a part of ourselves. Our community was big, with people of all nationalities, ages and backgrounds and we made a conscious effort to create a safe space for all of it.  

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Photo: Ula Czumaj

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Ula Czumaj
Ula was born on the verge of summer, and that must have predestined her to always balance between places, ideas, and hobbies. Having been living a nomadic life for the last five years, she’s been infusing with different tastes, lives, cultures, languages and cuisines and lets that ooze in her writing. A lifelong yoga student, who loves sharing her passion as a teacher. Originally from Mazury, Poland, she shares her time between Canada and Europe. She can be easily bribed with a cup of genmaicha or cat snuggles.

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