Could festivals pave the way to a more advanced society?

Festivals have been around as long as the human desire to celebrate and depart from daily demands. Since 1268 Venice has thrown Carnevale 40 days before lent. Since everyone’s masked there’s an opportunity to forget societal position and for once a year intermingle with those typically separated by class division. I imagine the bourgeois had as much fun as the popper.

What would Woodstock be like today? Here’s a clip of Jimi to remind you of the tone. When politics where the tenor of discussion bridging all backgrounds and ages, it’s no wonder a gathering like Woodstock has the potential to change the way social norms are configured. With 3 days, 32 acts and 500,000 people it was debauchery at its best. There’s nothing three days of laughter and liberation can’t cure. I understand all of the repercussions a poorly planned event can cause, but that’s another blog.

Although the word Summerfest doesn’t come up in spell check, it is well-known especially in the Southern and Midwest states, and is officially Guinness World Records largest music festival in the world. Lasting 11 days, and with 11 stages you have to be prepared to feel like an ant, so wear sneakers to this one! Summerfest was inspired by Oktoberfest in Germany, as we know the Europeans like to party. The main stage has been honored by folks like The Doors in ’72, and recently heavy hitters Stevie Wonder and Destiny’s Child.. Cool Music Network hosted the Rock Stage this year in ’09 and brought the first DVD On Demand production. You can take the festival home with you, and keep the experience forever, and can even watch clips for free here. The event is set on 75 acres in Milwaulkee’s downtown river side, so you have a very urban experience. You’re able to take a shower before you head down and you’ll still find folks in t-shirts and jeans.

Do you know about Bread & Puppet in Vermont? It’s a politically radical puppet theater. You’ll see performance art at it’s best, telling stories like only costume will allow. What’s awesome about B & P is the mask works with your personal ideology of universal character, you can begin to see yourself in 15 foot tall warriors of education, you can be part of something larger, a main thread in all festivals.

Today festivals are changing the way we interact as a society. Think of Burning Man and the social shifts in economy with all goods being traded, no cash is exchanged. Costume is a theme again as everyone expresses themselves as the art. The man made city is built upon the ideology of taking care of one another. This article on Social Cooperation is simply amazing.. Self as City and City as Self.

Festivals have historically been a place to let loose, and celebrate with dance, laughter, and be totally free. What does that do to the dude we share a cubicle with when we re-enter our daily lives? As the collective becomes more aware each and every person we will be in a place where we can lift our state of consciousness, and become more joyous always.

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Megan Marini is a video artist and social media/creative manifestra working in Denver with those who align themselves with a collective harmony. She consults with Cool Music Network and helps support their wicked mission of bringing the music back to the people.

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One Response to “Could festivals pave the way to a more advanced society?”

  1. Thanks for mentioning my lecture on how every individual is a collective (and vice versa) – here are clips from the same presentation in convenient video format:

    “Self As City, City As Self”

    I definitely believe festivals, as liminal “Temporary Autonomous Zones” where ordinary rules are suspended and creative social organization is encouraged (if the festival gets it right), offer us an amazing opportunity to experiment with new cultural designs as well. The Dalai Lama himself said as much when asked, “What can people anywhere do to promote world peace?” He thought for a moment and answered, grinning, “…More festivals.”

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