[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he festival was an incredible experience. Transformative. Life-changing. Holistic. However, my only gripe of the entire festival is that, in my mind, a Western price tag should mean an event is held up to Western standards.
Way too many attendees got sick. A particular virus had been running rampant through Costa Rica, specifically San Isidro, and left hundreds of patrons with horror stories of nights spent heaving into the pungent abyss of compostable toilets and slaughtered egos with soiled clothes. Sympathizing with those affected, traveling around the world only to become ill for the duration of an event is not my idea of a good time.
Because of its location, water has to be trucked in, so there’s a constant urgency with conserving water and using only what you need. On several occasions, water pressure at stations ran low, and at times there was no soap to be found at bathroom wash stations. Completely understandable, and though these issues were resolved timely, hygiene is of the utmost concern in such conditions. Envision does take great care to ensure food and water from the festival is perfect for human consumption, but again, the festival is in the jungle. Things grow and spread quickly, and education is the best defense when it comes to combating illness. Moving forward, Envision is emphasizing communication regarding hygiene and preventative measures, in addition to bolstering hand washing stations, sanitation, and specialized teams which will be on-site further in advance.
Apart from hygiene concerns and the prolific illness that riddled many of those in attendance, there were a couple power outages that left many scratching their heads. And while it’s generally unacceptable to have power drop for the entire festival, there’s a flip side to this.
Losing all the lights, all the amplified sound, all the traces of civilization – it adds to the ambiance. It’s a reminder that we’re all in the middle of a rain forest. It draws attention to those around you, and to serendipitous moments of jubilation. One of my favorite memories of Envision is of an impromptu dance party next to the Envision Café after the entire grounds went dark and the rain started pouring.
Overall, the entire festival was awe-inspiring. This year marked its sixth iteration, and they’re only going to improve from here, continuing to refine their transformative roots. The only real danger to the integrity of the festival is that its focus is a bit too expansive, but then again, that’s the beauty of Envision. There truly is something for everyone, and the richness of the experience will leave a lasting impression on your spirit. Yeah, the conditions are a bit harsh, but just as Burning Man draws patrons close in their bout for survival in the desert, defeating the carnivorous ants, enduring the heat, and evading illness formed an incredibly bonded community.
Envision was exactly what I needed at this moment in my life, and proved its worth far more than just a festival or transformation. It quite literally picked me up from my knees and pointed a new direction in my life, and if anything, that’s what I want readers to get out of this lengthy essay of a post: Envision Festival is more than anything you can imagine. My only warning is that it shouldn’t be treated as a festival, but as a doorway to a better you.