Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]

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Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]Bradford Watkins

With 2019’s festival circuit taking shape, we’re starting to see a shift in the landscape that largely began last year, where middle-of-the-pack festivals began to drop by the wayside. The events pool reached a point of dilution where there weren’t enough ticket buyers to go around, and this year, what remains are the established power players like Coachella and Lollapalooza and smaller, curated boutique experiences that rely on setting, intimacy, aesthetics, and talent to draw in a calculated crowd of a much more manageable scale. Envision Festival, now preparing for its ninth edition, takes place the heart of Costa Rica’s jungle paradise each year — and at a critical point in the aging process of a festival, amid an otherwise tenuous and unsustainable atmosphere stateside, Envision’s roots seem firmer than ever.

The key ingredient that differentiates Envision isn’t just a focus on sustainability and eco-friendliness — its the way in which Envision’s Co-founder and Production Director Josh Wendel and CEO Reuben Walker weave those characteristics into every granular aspect of the event. The attendee essentially gets to choose their own adventure. Ahead of Envision Festival’s ninth weekend, running from February 28 – March 3, Wendel and Walker sat down with Dancing Astronaut to delve into the how the brains and braun behind a continually growing and evolving boutique festival experience in Costa Rica manage to stand out in new ways each year.

“Envision is not about a specific concept. It is about you, the festival goer,” emphasizes Wendel. The Envision co-founder continues, “It is about you discovering what you ‘Envision;’ for your life, for your business, for health and making sure that you are following your own highest path. We implore our audience to come to Envision with an open mind and experience something new, whether it be music, performance, workshops, yoga, diet or just walking around nature barefoot.” 

Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]ManuelPinto.Sunset

“We aim to create an environment that sheds the ego and opens each person up to true connection and self discovery.”

The type of sustainable outlook that fuels Envision’s longevity hasn’t just been on a weekend-by-weekend basis once a year for the last decade. The thought process runs much deeper than that, and ultimately it only works as well as is does when paired with a genuine year-round care for the festival’s host community. Reuben Walker elaborates on Wendel’s thought, clarifying, “Sustainability is a process. It isn’t as if a festival is sustainable or not, It is a journey of figuring out what things can be done better and taking the steps to put those concepts into practice. Now, with a new operating baseline, the event can re-assess and identify even more conscious goals than before. It is a practice that is embodied in the Calling, or Mission Statement, of Envision: Awaken the self to a higher consciousness in alignment with the natural harmony.”

Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]Envision EricAllenPhoto Beach Sunset 35

It has been nearly a decade of trial and error, planning, and building a year-over-year effort to harmoniously provide a moment of breathtaking escapism to festival goers while also lifting up the community where the event takes place. Walker continues, “It sounds like this grand and massive challenge but really it is a slow and gradual process that requires taking one step at a time. Sometimes the strides aren’t as long as we like, but the important thing is to keep moving forward. Personally, I’m focused on supporting our internal team to be as synced up as possible so that they’re able to deliver an event that is as curated, minute-to-minute, as can be.” 

Walker speaks passionately about Envision’s inextricable tie to Uvita and how an event that draws an international crowd with the likes of GRiZ, Tycho, Lee Burridge and more, manages to bring such a concerted, localized effort to uplift its community. “We are constantly looking for ways to support the local community. [One] group we try and support each year are local farmers. We go directly to these hard working local people and submit very large orders that provide secured work for the next few months allowing for them to have the security of those large purchases and we benefit from having such well cared for food and happy relationships. We have a full roll out of beach clean ups up and down the coast which has become more important than ever as more trash is finding its way ashore,” says Walker. 

“We put a lot of attention into listening to the local community to understand how they want to be supported, not just rolling in with what we think is best for them.”

Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]Reuben Time Photo By Jess Bernstein

Other events are starting to place a heavier emphasis on the where, the how, and the why — so to speak. Creating a truly impactful event experience has outgrown the confines of a decent talent roster and carnival rides in a big open field, or worse, some parking lot. Wendel, who directs the annual four-day production, posits, “I am always the most excited to see how fast our dreams become a reality; from spreadsheets and pencil marks on paper, to elaborate fire breathing structures with world class sound. Every year amazes me more than the last, as we turn fantasies into reality.” Wendel and Walker can create this escapism for their attendees because ultimately, they’ve found the best way to rise above the noise, enveloping themselves in Costa Rican culture between iterations of Envision. “We have the unique advantage of being based in one of the most lush places in the world, with an abundance of natural resources. It’s easier to build a stage out of natural materials in Costa Rica, we don’t have to ship water in and we even have a wealth of food growing right on the land. Most other festivals don’t have that advantage.  That’s also why we live here. It makes it easy to speak about the message of sustainability, permaculture and natural building in a place where you can thrive in the natural environment.”

“It feels good to be a human in Costa Rica. It just feels right. Locals call it ‘Pura Vida’ and it’s one of the most important awakenings people have when they come here.”  Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]Josh And Jules Photo By Shaun Hunter 1

Fans want more, and festivals’ survival depends on intentional, thoughtful programming and ultimately its committal to safety and accountability. “I certainly hope that Envision can inspire other event producers to implement more sustainable practices and stick closer to their ethos and values. That is the beauty of when you view profitability not just in terms of financial, but environmental and social impacts as well. We are happy to share that wealth and are always looking to other like minded events for inspiration on how we can do our job better,” says Wendel. 

Now, that’s not to say that a lineup isn’t important to the average festival goer nowadays. It just means that the overall festival experience relies more heavily on atmosphere than it may have before. Wendel’s admiration for the programming side of the festival is clear in the way he talks about billing this year’s lineup — one of Envision’s most diverse, and ambitious billings to date. This year’s lineup includes some risks, and even potentially some unknown curveballs, according to Wendel. Envision’s 2019 lineup also places a special emphasis on Latin American sounds, representing the festival’s hosting region in with a blend of bass, techno, electro, and more. Wendel explains, “There are so many factors to consider when booking a lineup, but we always prioritize the experience.  It has to fit into the story that we are trying to tell. We obviously consider headliners that turn heads but the most exciting [thing] to me is how we introduce new artists or sounds to an audience that doesn’t know them. There are a lot of different styles of music that we bring, including a lot of genres that are relatively unknown. The fun part is how do we present them to our audience.” 

Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]JessBernstein.Luna .TroyBoi Envision2018 JBPhoto150 Copy

This year’s billing includes acts like CloZee, The Floozies, Electric Mantis, Bedouin, and more. Walker, the festival’s CEO gushes, “Many of these artists are coming to Envision for their first time and seeing these favorites of mine out here in the jungle is going to be a highlight of my year.” Bottom line, in terms of event programming the pair seem to genuinely view the festival’s music offerings as merely the vehicle for human interaction on the beaches of Uvita. Walker expresses,

“Festivals have far greater potential as cultural cultivators than we’re currently seeing and as events continue to explore these frontiers we’ll find that we’ve only just begun to benefit from these celebrations of art, creativity, and the human spirit.” 

Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]386 Envision EricAllenPhoto Luna

As the final weeks of preparation begin ahead of Envision’s early spring kickoff and fans plot their returns to Uvita come early March, Walker and Wendel are primed for what they believe will be Envision’s most vibrant and impactful iteration yet. When asked for a word of advice to the incoming festival goer this year, each responded in kind with messages of open mindedness and compassion. “More than just a sustainable experience at a festival, let’s be a bit more ambitious than that. Be conscious in each action you take. Whether that is packing your bag and thinking about what goes into it or deciding how you’ll make that final leg of the journey. Are you creating a lot of waste in your wake? What steps can you take to whittle away at that? Are you being efficient with the resources that you’re using to accomplish your journey? Do I do this all the time? Absolutely not,” concedes Walker, “but it’s a process and the more we work at it, like all things, the better we get.” Wendel completes his counterpart’s thought, emphasizing the idea of sustainability outside of just travel or festival practices. “I’d say, make an effort to implement small things you can do everyday. Whether it’s water or trash or another resource, I’ve found keeping a practice of considering the lifelong journey of waste in the ecosystem and who it impacts along the way to be a sort of compass at festivals as well as in life.” 

Envision brings the party to paradise with real intention and purpose, without having to compromise in any direction. See the full lineup and purchase your tickets to Envision Festival here.

 

Hakkasan reveals stellar 2019 roster topped by Tiësto, ZEDD, Calvin Harris, and Martin Garrix

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Hakkasan reveals stellar 2019 roster topped by Tiësto, ZEDD, Calvin Harris, and Martin GarrixTiesto Hakkasan

Las Vegas has always been host to entertainment’s cream of the crop — from Frank Sinatra to most recently Lady Gaga. However, in terms of electronic dance music, Vegas is more than just the big leagues, it’s the Hall of Fame. The world’s best all seem to make their ways to Sin City and 2019 is no different. Entertainment powerhouse Hakkasan Group has debuted this year’s talent roster for Wet Republic Ultra Pool, OMNIA at Caesars Palace, and of course Hakkasan Nightclub at MGM Grand. Topping the bill this year is seven-time Hakkasan resident, Tiësto, as well as returning resident headliner Calvin Harris, who is contracted through 2020.

Grammy-nominated producer ZEDD will return to Vegas in 2019, along with Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, and a host of top-tier and up-and-coming electronic performers, ranging from new breakouts Loud Luxury to NGHTMRE, Illenium to Party Favor, and interestingly, Porter Robinson too. “Playing for the crowds in Las Vegas at these amazing venues is an honor for me. I’m fortunate I get to do it again in 2019,” says ZEDD of his return to Nevada for the upcoming events season.

See the full lineup for Hakkasan Group below and grab tickets here.

Hakkasan lineup 2019:

Calvin Harris
Tiësto
Zedd
Martin Garrix
Steve Aoki
Borgeous
Burns
Cash Cash
Chantel Jeffries
Crankdat
DJ Drama
Fergie DJ
Generik
Gryffin
Illenium
Jeff Retro
Lil Jon
Loud Luxury
Mark Eteson
Nervo
NGHTMRE
Nicky Romero
Niiko x SWAE
Party Favor
Porter Robinson
4B

 

Three-day Woodstock 50 festival confirmed, dates and location revealed

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Three-day Woodstock 50 festival confirmed, dates and location revealedWoodstock Hendri

After months of frantic speculation, confirmation of an official Woodstock anniversary event has been confirmed by the legendary music festival’s co-founder, Michael Lang. Lang confirmed the news to Rolling Stone, noting a new location for Woodstock 50, as well as the dates for this year’s event.

Many were hoping Woodstock 50 would return to the event’s original home in Bethel, New York, which eventually would go on to host Mysteryland‘s U.S. offshoot for a number of years. Instead, Woodstock 50 will be hosted in Watkins Glen, New York across August 16, 17, and 18. Lang also confirmed more than 40 acts have already been booked, noting a well-rounded lineup of rock, hip-hop, pop, legacy acts and reunions from the original festival in 1969 is already locked in for the 50th anniversary. Organizers have been tight-lipped about talent for this year’s event, though the lineup and tickets are expected to land sometime in February.

In regards to Woodstock’s infamously disastrous ’99 venture, Lang was quick to address concerns, explaining, “Woodstock ’99 was just a musical experience with no social significance. It was just a big party. With this one, we’re going back to our roots and our original intent. And this time around, we’ll have control of everything.”

Woodstock 50 is also expected to be livestreamed online this summer. Stay tuned for details.

Gesaffelstein, Major Lazer, SZA, and Tyler, The Creator top the Governors Ball 2019 lineup

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Gesaffelstein, Major Lazer, SZA, and Tyler, The Creator top the Governors Ball 2019 lineupGov Ball Fireworks Credit Charles Reagan

The summer festival circuit is already starting to heat up, with major festivals gearing up unload their 2019 lineups. Closely following Coachella‘s recently released billing, Governors Ball has delivered their 2019 roster, topped by Tyler, The Creator, Florence + The Machine, Major Lazer, Nas, The Strokes, and SZA. Programming an incredibly well-rounded blend of talent for this year’s edition at Randal’s Island Park, Gov Ball is bringing hip-hop and electronic’s most in-demand acts of the moment, including Gesaffelstein, Lil Wayne, ZHU, and Ty Dolla $ign among others.

Additional star power slated for the event includes Bob Moses, Joey Bada$$ and Flatbush Zombies teaming up as Beast Coast, Kaytranada, Louis the Child, MØ, Still Woozy, and many more. Governors Ball 2019 takes place from May 31 – June 2 and tickets are on sale here.

Featured Image: Charles Reagan

Aphex Twin logo appears in LA, this time signaling possible return to Coachella

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Aphex Twin logo appears in LA, this time signaling possible return to CoachellaAphe Twin Collapse Ep

Some say it isn’t officially the new year until the Coachella lineup is announced. While the festival’s 2019 billing is expected to land any minute, rumors are starting to surface as to who might be gracing the fields of Empire Polo Club, and the evidence suggesting Aphex Twin is plotting a return to Coachella is pretty convincing. Recently, Aphex Twin’s logo appeared in Los Angeles, often signaling some sort of appearance from the enigmatic producer, though this time the graphic appears stamped over Coachella’s logo and recognizable Indio-inspired artwork.

Online discourse is split on whether the indicator is even real or not, but after the release of 2018’s Collapse EP, a return to the festival by the Warp veteran seems increasingly likely. If Aphex Twin did appear on Coachella’s lineup, it would mark an eleven year gap since his last performance at the festival back in 2008.

Aphex Twin logo appears in LA, this time signaling possible return to CoachellaAphe Twin Logo Coachella Remor Dancing Astro

Ultra Miami delivers 2019’s phase one lineup topped by The Chainsmokers, ZEDD, deadmau5 (live) and more

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Ultra Miami delivers 2019’s phase one lineup topped by The Chainsmokers, ZEDD, deadmau5 (live) and moreUltra Music Festival 2018 Photo By ALIVE Coverage 2

Ultra Music Festival is going to be hard pressed to top last year’s Miami edition, but with the delivery of 2019’s first phase lineup it looks like the festival is aiming to do just that. This year’s event of course included Swedish House Mafia‘s not-so-secret headlining reunion and it was the last edition to be held at the festival’s longtime home at Bayfront Park. Now, with the move to Virginia Key, Ultra is pulling out all the stops, starting with a top-notch lineup that’s teeming with talent.

The first headliners announced include Martin Garrix, David Guetta, Tiësto, ZEDD, and Marshmello among others, and live sets are expected from deadmau5, who will be officially debuting the Cube 3.0 ODESZA, Louis the Child, and more. The first phase lineup includes a massive supporting cast as well, from Whethan to Jai Wolf, Kayzo to Phantoms with droves of acts in between. Shasha and John Digweed will share the stage, Richie Hawtin, Maceo Plex, and Carl Cox are slated to bring the underground flavor, and deadmau5 will pull double duty as Testpilot at Virginia Key Beach & Miami Marine Stadium over the weekend of March 29 – 31. See Ultra’s full phase one lineup below.

Tickets to Ultra Music Festival 2019 are available here.

Dog Blood, A$AP Rocky, Lana Del Ray slated for Buku Music + Art Project 2019

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Dog Blood, A$AP Rocky, Lana Del Ray slated for Buku Music + Art Project 2019Skrille Studio Footage Boys Noize Dog Blood

Dog Blood will return to the stage next year with the delivery of New Orleans mainstay music and art festival Buku‘s 2019 lineup.

The festival dropped off one of the most diverse lineups of 2019 so far, topped by Lana Del Ray who is amid the release of her highly anticipated Norman Fucking Rockwell LP, A$AP Rocky, GRiZ, and Excision — along with an ultra rare appearance from Skrillex and Boys Noize‘s acid-laden side project, signaling the pair are likely ready to deliver long awaited new music next year. Louis The Child, RL Grime, and Kevin Gates round out the headlining block, with Claude VonStroke, Playboi Carti, Ekali, The Black Madonna, and a b2b performance from SLANDER and NGHTMRE featured on the undercard.

The festival is famous for its impeccably curated blend of hip-hop, rock, and dance music, and in 2019 they couldn’t have hit the mark more perfectly, pairing the likes of J.I.D. Denzel Curry, and a DJ set with members of From First To Last with performances by 1788-L, Getter, TOKiMONSTA and more. Buku Music + Art Project takes place March 22 – 23, and tickets go on sale December 11.

Dog Blood, A$AP Rocky, Lana Del Ray slated for Buku Music + Art Project 201947571525 1638028466298228 1933314601273786368 N

ODESZA, Bassnectar, Zeds Dead, and Kygo top impeccably curated Electric Forest 2019 lineup

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ODESZA, Bassnectar, Zeds Dead, and Kygo top impeccably curated Electric Forest 2019 lineup36467260 1771093626272667 1859437706333913088 O 1

Electric Forest is pulling out all the stops for their single 2019 edition. The festival recently scaled back their two weekend offering back to their original one weekend format, though organizers were quick to even it out with the delivery of 2019’s lineup. To say next year’s billing is stacked would be an understatement — ODESZA, Kygo, Bassnectar, and Zeds Dead are holding down headlining duties, with festival favorites The String Cheese Incident returning for a three-night run. The under card features a mile-long list of talent headed to Rothbury, Michigan including Claude VonStroke, Alison Wonderland, Bob Moses, Lettuce, Ekali, Whethan, Gramatik and many more across June 27 – 30.

SLANDER and NGHTMRE are billed for a GUD VIBRATIONS label showcase, with Snails, TOKiMONSTA, The Knocks, and Bloodpop all slated for Electric Forest 2019 as well. Live sets from Gorgon City, Pnuma, and Ookay are expected, along with jam band flavors and a healthy serving of hip-hop from T-Pain. See Electric Forest 2019’s full lineup below.

ODESZA, Bassnectar, Zeds Dead, and Kygo top impeccably curated Electric Forest 2019 lineupElectric Forest Lineuop 2019

Decadence announces phase two lineup, philanthropy initiative

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Decadence announces phase two lineup, philanthropy initiativeDecadence

With the release of Decadence‘s phase two line up, it seems Arizona’s vast canyons and deserts will be even more lush with sound. Relentless Beats have locked down Moon Boots, Valentino Khan, Green Velvet, Anti Up, and more for their New Year’s jubilee — a true cause of elation for those who bathe in the bass of techno and house.

Arizona’s “Biggest New Year’s Eve Experience” also released single day lineups and tickets with the announcement of phase two. Above & Beyond, REZZPorter Robinson, San Holo, Skrillex and more will perform on December 30. 4B, Eric Prydz, Paz, Green
Velvet and more will take on the final hours of 2018 on December 31.

Along with the phase two announcement comes another fascinating prospect — one of chance and charity. Relentless Beats have made fans aware of their philanthropy initiative with Surreal, a fundraising platform that offers fans to experience once-in-a-lifetime opportunities with artists. For Decadence, fans will have the chance to throw tacos on stage with Paz, meet Marshmello, even get dunked on by Shaq.

The winner of each category will also receive free airfare, VIP tickets, free hotel accommodations, and, of course, a wild story to take home with them. All the proceeds from the campaign will go to Childhelp, a national nonprofit organization with the purpose to meet the physical, spiritual, educational, and emotional needs of abused, maltreated, at-risk kids. The contest runs through December 18, and given the size of the festival and artists performing, the benefits of the campaign have to potential to mirror the elation that is sure to be experienced for the festival-goers at Decadence.

Learn more and get tickets here.

Decadence announces phase two lineup, philanthropy initiativeDecadenceAZ2018 Lineup

Costa Rica’s Envision Festival delivers impeccably curated full 2019 music lineup

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Costa Rica’s Envision Festival delivers impeccably curated full 2019 music lineupGRiZ Live Sa Facebook

The world’s most eco-friendly festival is returning to Costa Rica, and for their 2019 edition, Envision Festival has programmed one of their finest lineups yet. While the event is branded as a music festival, Envision would be more appropriately described as a permaculture and yoga retreat, offering attendees a tropical jungle getaway, accented with music, art, exploration, spirituality, and education.

Now in their ninth year, Envision is bringing saxophone-wielding electro-soul factotum GRiZ to the festival’s shores, along with Tycho, each for headlining duties, as well as additional sets slated through the four-day event. Lee Burridge will bring All Day I Dream to Uvita, Random Rab will return for his ninth edition of the festival, along with French wave maker CloZee, The Floozies, reggae star Trevor Hall, and more.

This year’s Envision lineup also places a special emphasis on Latin American sounds, representing the festival’s hosting region in with a blend of bass, techno, electro, and more. The festival’s three stages, Sol, Luna, and Lapa, will host a massive crop of talent from February 28 – March 3, with a few planned surprises baked into this year’s roster. Envision founder Josh Wendel expressed,

“This year, we went bigger with our top headliners, and took more risks on up and coming artists. We also intentionally plan to throw a few curveballs into the schedule to keep guests on their toes not knowing when their next favorite artists might be playing.”

See the full music lineup for Envision 2019 below, and grab your tickets to the festival here.

Costa Rica’s Envision Festival delivers impeccably curated full 2019 music lineupPHASE 2 ALL POSTER