Enjoy the unity of music and nature during your Costa Rica holidays
Uvita in Costa Rica is home to a festival with a difference, where music, yoga, veganism and sustainability come together in a beautiful remote setting. Writer David Garber visited Envision Festival earlier this year to soak up the atmosphere and discover why the event has become so popular with locals and tourists, and how it has helped the local community along the way.
When it comes to music festivals, most people focus on the star-studded musical line-up, regardless of where it is located. However, one festival in Costa Rica is successfully providing a diverse mix of acts and a picturesque setting, all while promoting sustainability and helping the local community. A great opportunity to enjoy your holidays in this country, isn't it?
Writer David Garber visited Envision Festival in Uvita in Costa Rica earlier this year to find out what all the hype was about. Set in the steamy jungle on a ranch that is a three-hour drive from Costa Rica’s capital San José, the festival site is nestled under tree canopies, and surrounded by green hills, and a beach that is only accessible during low tide.
Taking place in February every year, Envision showcases a wide range of music, from reggae and dubstep, to folk and world music, and the event hosts a variety of performances from dancers and acrobats.
The event has a strong focus on sustainability and look after the environment, and its strict policies mean that there is a ban on disposables, plastic and any non-biodegradable MOOP (matter out of place). All food waste is composted, and human waste is deposited down a hole that will eventually break down into the soil.
In the Village where people eat, there are multiple food vendors selling vegan and vegetarian cuisine, but rather than disposable plates and cups, there’s a rental system where people will return their plates and utensils after each use.
While some of the community are negative about the effects the festival has on the local youths due to the nudity and alleged drug-taking, one of the founders of the event, Justin Brothers, highlights the good that comes from it.
In the nearby tourist town of Uvita, a school has been rebuilt and developed into a youth centre with the help of the Casa Envision project, and the event also attracts more tourists to the town who go on to purchase local goods.
During the festival, topics that affect the local community are also highlighted by organisers on the stages, such as the importance of minimising waste and conserving water, and the use of toxic fungicides that are used on nearby banana plantations to stop fruit from bruising, but the chemicals easily enter the soil and rivers, and sea in the local area.
With plenty to do for all ages, there’s a Witches' Healing Sanctuary, yoga sessions, workshops led by health and conservation experts, a children’s village, and places where festival-goers can just sit and relax in hammocks. Even the musical acts get involved in different ways while they’re on stage. David Barber writes in his article:
“Oakland rapper and DJ Lafa Taylor interrupted his music to guide a massive crowd-breathing exercise, and Colorado-based bluegrass group Elephant Revival talked about the importance of cleaning the ocean before performing a song about the issue.”
At night, the site turns into a very lively party scene with multiple stages, fires shows, lasers, drumming, chanting, spiritual ceremonies and dancing. The jungle heat may well be unbearable, but the essence of the festival is nothing but good. Partygoers hug and trade gifts, and wellbeing is at the forefront.
Considering Costa Rica’s native manta is Pura Vida (pure life), Envision festival represents this and encompasses the purity of nature, mankind and music throughout the colourful four-day event.
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