By Jeet-Kei Leung
Each generation, since the Second World War ended with the detonation of atomic bombs on cities full of human beings, has produced its own cultural movement to find a way of being in the world beyond the apparent madness and brutality.
Our emerging generation appears to have found its natural home in the new breed of Transformational Festivals currently blossoming on the west coast of North America and spreading across the continent and internationally.
'The Bloom: A Journey Through Transformational Festivals' is a new webseries that vividly documents this emerging culture. After building anticipation over a year of filming with two powerful trailers (The Bloom's series preview received 9,000 views in its first 24 hours including almost 5,000 combined facebook likes), The Bloom series launched its first episode to a profound reception last month at over 35 screening events internationally and online at www.thebloom.tv.
The Bloom is a uniquely ground-breaking series which explores a dozen themes that comprise the "alchemical formula" for the transformational experiences these festivals are facilitating. Rather than a chronological travelogue, the series illuminates these themes over the course of 4 episodes by offering the most poignant moments and stories from over 2 dozen festivals filmed around the world in 2012-13 and interviews with a large array of producers, participants, artists and luminaries.
The 12 themes explored by the series are: Inspiration, Connection & Healing (ep 1), Co-Creation, Participation & Modelling (ep 2), Mythos, Ritual & The Sacred (ep 3) and Gender Alchemy, Re-Indigenization & Re-Inhabiting The Village (ep 4).
While Transformational Festivals are certainly not entirely new--influenced as they are by many prior lineages from Woodstock onwards--they represent the most conscious and evolutionary development of a Rave Culture, which birthed almost 25 years ago.
Transformational Festivals build around the core ritual of Ecstatic Dance provided by Electronic Dance Music (EDM) to incorporate a potent movement of Visionary Art & Performance, workshop curriculums of New Paradigm education, direct honoring of The Sacred, and the integration of a vast array of artisans in a thriving Social Economy.
These co-creative and participatory environments are producing immersive realities which--instead of being defined by opposition or resistance--are inclusive spaces for practicing a holistic, new world. They are infused and spilling over with vibrancy and inspiration and their model is one based on the actualization of individual and collaborative potential, where love, connection and healing are values by which everyone abides with ease and familiarity.
After being immersed in a political activist paradigm for a decade (starting in my mid-teens), I quickly came to recognize the same spirit of social change in a burgeoning intentional dance culture in the late-90s. 15 years later, my belief in this emerging culture continues to deepen as I've witnessed its growing maturity while I've been offering my contributions as an intentional event organizer, community builder, musical artist, facilitator and presenter.
My TEDx talk on Transformational Festivals in 2010 was considered a break-through by participants in the culture for providing an intellectually lucid understanding of these often mercurial phenomena. Now with The Bloom series, I am taking this expression to an entirely new level by combining forces with an incredible team of videographers and editors to showcase this emerging culture through film, the medium of our time.
We are at a historical moment that is demanding that we develop a unified planetary consciousness in order to survive the crises we are enmeshed in. This moment calls for an evolved culture that can reflect all the potential that is being revealed and can take us beyond the limited identities which have separated us from each other in our past.
Transformational Festivals are one very significant development towards this consciousness and culture. Here it is not important what your clothes look like or what age you are. Indeed, there is a freedom to dress up (or not) and to express a range of aspects of who we are. It is a place where we can go to rejuvenate the core of ourselves and our humanity before we return to do our service in the greater world. It is a place where cultures and generations are gathering to heal age-old wounds, play in the joyful nature of our beings and to celebrate the birthing of a new humanity.
As the Director, Producer, Writer & Host of The Bloom Series, Jeet-Kei has emerged as a potent and articulate spokesperson for Transformational Festival culture. His TedX talk received acclaim for being the first to offer a clear elucidation of the subject in terms both authentic to participants of the culture and understandable to those outside it. Jeet-Kei brings 15 years of immersion in transformational festivals as a musical artist, event organizer, presenter and community builder.
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This article appears in:
2013 Catalyst - Issue 7