Envision This - Costa Rica's Woodstock

Arts & Culture

The main stage was constructed with materials found on the beach or forest nearby.

Envision Festival 2012 took place in Uvita, Costa Rica from March 1st to 4th. It's one of the biggest entries on the Costa Rica events calendar, with big name bands such as Beats Antique and Lucent Dossier Experience in attendance. This year’s event attracted an impressive crowd of partygoers and yoga enthusiasts, mainly from the USA.b the sun, the stars and the company of creative people from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Fire spinning, permaculture and yoga were among the popular themes of workshops offered during the day-time. The night was reserved for partying - many festivalgoers put off sleep until the festival was over. 

One of the most impressive things about the festival was the architecture. The main stage was constructed with materials found on the beach or forest nearby, masterfully put together to create an eye grabbing setting for any band to play on. At night the stage came to life with bright lights and stellar performances. Every evening before sunset, a mass group yoga session (200 people) was conducted by an instructor and everyone was welcome to join in a series of poses including salutations to the sun and the moon. Envision is a children-friendly event, many enjoyed the ‘root down’ area, running around in circles and playing with the colourful lights.

Envision FestivalEnvision FestivalThe main stageThe main stageEnvision FestivalEnvision FestivalEnvision Fest - Night timeEnvision Fest - Night time

While the goal was to provide an environment for creativity to flow and people to dance, when organizing an event like this, “you can’t please everyone,” says Justin, a member of the 10 person Envision organizing team. There were some hiccups to speak of, the main one being the dismantling of the bridge access to the beach by local authorities. Putting an end to one of the main attractions- the beach. Some locals were miffed at not being invited to play at Envision: “We need to maintain the integrity of the show we put on,” says Justin. Having said that, he downplayed the business aspect of Envision, “We aren’t focused on making money, for us this is partially inspired by a sound stage we put together at Burning Man.” To be fair, nobody really seemed to be checking wristbands, anyone with a creative excuse to get in for free could do so, including yours truly.

All in all, it was a fun-loving festival for hippies with money looking for a mind-expanding experience, vegan food and all night electronic music. Prices were on par with those in the USA, not those of Costa Rica. Seven dollar mixed drinks and five dollar beers left me with the same feeling I get after going to a hockey game in Canada; sad and ripped off. I perused some paintings and found most of them to have price tags in the $750-$1000 range. Needless to say, this is not a festival for a penniless Woodstock free loader; it was for the well to do.

Envision Fest 2012 lived up to the hype and will likely happen around the same time next year, venue to be determined.  

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The Envision siteThe Envision siteEnvision FestivalEnvision Festival