Feature Photo: Eric Allen Photo
Making the trek to a foreign country for a music festival is always a massive undertaking, and never fails to be quite an experience. Flying into a place you’ve never been before to attend an event you’ve never been to comes with a mixed bag of feelings. There’s nerves, excitement, intrigue, and so much more. Our first trip to Envision Festival in Costa Rica was truly so much more than we had ever expected – in the best way possible.
Discovering An Exceedingly Creative Event
Taking over a small coastal town named Uvita, Envision was an incredible undertaking with drastically more people, activities, art, food, vendors, and music than I thought we’d see. The venue itself seemed to never end; every time you walked down a new path, there was another hammock, stage, wall of art, or endless sea of festivalgoer tents. The space was the perfect mixture of deep in the jungle and smack dab in the middle of the beach. From dancing under huge bamboo trees to swimming in the Pacific Ocean with endless greenery in the background, Envision offered an experience that continued to surprise and delight.
There was something for everyone of all ages and walks of life at Envision. The crowd was immensely diverse, with young children and families to young adults, older ravers and everything in between. Yoga sessions woke you up on the right side of the bed (or tent) every morning. The beach was filled with fire dancers, music lovers, food vendors and a cultural hub of life and love. Workshops put on by thought leaders brought together all walks of life to discuss saving the environment, loving ourselves, and appreciating what the world has to offer. It was a never-ending playground of growth and exploration.
A Musical Paradise: The Weekend of Beats
The production value of this event was beyond impressive, with four impeccably decorated, intensely detailed stages playing music of all genres each night. The Luna Stage served up a heavy dose of bass music and a nonstop showcase of aerialists, fire dancers, breakdancers and so much more. The Lapa Stage gave house and techno lovers a haven for the weekend. The Village Stage showcased artists with acoustic guitars, live bands and beautiful voices, and the Sol Stage brought jam bands and electronic artist to the forefront of the showcase. Every stage was built with beautiful decorations that fit the jungle vibe, intermittently mixed with endless lights, lasers and visuals that complemented their setup nicely. Each trip to a new stage came with a new surprise, a new show, and stunning sound systems to bring the beats of so many talented artists to live.
And, of course, the music. It goes without saying that this lineup brought some heavy-hitters to the jungle, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t impressed by each and every artist I was able to see. I’d find myself locked at a stage for hours, captivated by the tales each artist told through their sound, and intrigued by the larger storyline weaved together by each set as the night went on.
Some notable highlights included Tycho’s DJ set at the Luna stage, Unders at Lapa, and the always lovely sunrise set from Lee Burridge on Friday. Saturday brought an upbeat, percussion-heavy, lively set from Nicola Cruz followed by an endearingly deep, tribal set by Sabo at the Lapa stage, and some of the best sets I’ve seen at a festival yet came forward on Sunday night: a bass-heavy dose of Clozee, minimally beautiful sounds from John Aquiviva, a breathtaking journey by Viken Arman and a late night techno endeavor from Costa Rican local Oneiro.
I walked away from Envision wanting more, wishing it was longer, and regretting not spending every waking moment in every place – if only we could be on the dancefloor, in a yoga session, and on the beach at the same time. I find it rare to feel this way with festivals anymore – so unexpectedly, happily surprised with the experience. The world was truly alive and filled with so much excitement at this event. I look forward to watching this festival continue to grow.
Until next year, Costa Rica!