TC Southeast Summer Tour ’12: All Systems Go!

Tribal Council just got back from a blessed, expansive, and life-changing trip to the west coast where we were fortunate enough to be part of two of the most progressive, integrative gatherings in the world: Symbiosis 2012 and Lightning in a Bottle 2012.  Although we left our installation on the east coast (cross country transportation is tough!), we are absolutely thrilled to be setting up the Sanctuary at a variety of the east coast’s leading visionary gatherings and music festivals.  We’ve put so much time and intention into making this happen, and we’ve received many lessons on how to simply ask Spirit for what we want and allow things to unfold synchronistically.

TC soaking in the Galactic Light Code download during the Eclipse at Symbiosis 2012. Pyramid Lake, Nevada.

It is especially exciting to see so many of our friends doing their part to step up and further the Southeast music scene towards a greater collective vision.  I want to give a heart-filled shout out to the pioneering movers and shakers in the east coast visionary movement including our friends:

Rootwire Music Festival
Vision Lab Artist Development
AURA Music and Arts Festival
Brotherly Love Productions
Gnarnia the Festival
DJ Bowie
Keegan Keel

These people are dedicating their lives and their events to a higher cause, that is the evolution of humankind and the shift in collective consciousness, through direct progression of the music and arts scene in the Southeast.  Many of these people are working double shifts at restaurants, spending long nights on the road, and losing money on events because they believe in something more important. They remember they are a part of something greater, and so are you! There is something extraordinary taking place right here and right meow, and these people are fueling it with their hearts, so keep an eye out for their events and support them! Tribal Council is excited to co:create with these entities this summer and in the future.  There is no limit to what we can accomplish when we pool our resources in alignment with a higher vision to aid in the awakening of the collective consciousness on this planet.

Helping our friends and dome gurus, the Mandala Dome crew, erect their mighty 80 ft Rudra, only to have a 70mph windstorm crush it like a tin can three hours later. Oh well, “Paga la tierra” right? Mother Earth and Father Sky reminding us of their power. Symbiosis Gathering 2012: Pyramid Eclipse. Nevada.

Tribal Council is always looking for help from passionate and creative individuals who are interested in the integrative visionary movement.  We are currently expanding our installation to include several small meditation teepees, LED lighting structures, and a sound healing meditation dome.  If you would like to help in the design and construction of such projects, or if you’d simply like to donate materials, time, or financial resources, please email us at  We are also looking for graphic designers and web developers to help with various small projects as well.  Remember, none of us make money doing this, so more help from the collective allows the vision to blossom more effortlessly and magnificently!

Here is Tribal Council’s schedule of gatherings for the coming months, so come find us and get involved. What do you want to see at these gatherings? Do you have an art installation idea? Do you have a skill or trade you’d like to share with the community? Do you have knowledge on a subject that you want to share in the form of a workshop in our dome? We are waiting for you to contact us and make it a reality. Harness the magic of this moment. Take action right now to create what you want.  You are the vision and you hold a vast universe of potentiality within. It’s time to let it shine.

As Always, in All Ways, Gratitude and Blessings.


June 15th – 17th – Impulse Music and Arts Festival
July 20th-23rd – Transformus: North Carolina’s Regional Burning Man
July 27th – 29th – First Annual Tribal Council Campout: Intentional Activation Gathering
August 2nd-6th – Return 2 Roots
August 9th – 11th – Gnarnia the Festival
Auguest 16th – 19th – Rootwire Music Festival

Post Emancipator attempt at group photo. Well, at least we got some of us :) Symbiosis Gathering: Pyramid Eclipse 2012.

TC Gets Interviewed by Sparkleberry Lane

Sparkleberry Lane’s Richard Edens recently asked TC Co-Founder & Coordinator, Clayton Gaar, some questions about Tribal Council’s roots, influences, and overall vision.  This is a comprehensive interview which offers some deeper insight into what Tribal Council is, where it came from, and what makes us tick. Enjoy the read!

Interview with Sparkleberry Lane

The Fertile Desert, BM Video

This was just too amazing not to share, especially coming off the heels of my recent post Burning Man: the Silly and the Sacred.  Click fullscreen and enjoy quite possibly the pinnacle of and the highest concentration of human expression and creativity on the planet these days:

The Fertile Desert from roy two thousand on Vimeo.

The advent of knowing.
The lovers and dreamers.
The laser connections.
These are what bring life out of light while energy dances out of desolate dust. All that is familiar and foreign comes together in who we are and what we want to be… challenging nature and inviting more of ourselves:)

Film and music by Roy Two Thousand
Email me for high res stills and wallpapers!
roytwothousand [at] gmail [dot] com

Vocal samples by Neil Kramer

Pianos by Eric Arvai
Drums by Anthony Maureal
Cellos by Kate Adams

cameras: canon 60d and t2i
lenses: canon 18-200mm kit lens, bower 8mm fisheye
All video shot at 60fps
Most timelapses are HDR
(all HDR timelapses were manually blended in AfterEffects)

Sweet Fruition Goodness at AURA Music and Arts Festival

AURA Festival Sanctuary Timelapse from Tribal Council on Vimeo.

Tribal Council was honored when AURA Music and Arts Festival asked us to set up our dome as the festival sanctuary. We gleefully held sacred space all weekend for festival goers in the Ohm Dome, which looked fresh with the debut of the white flower of life patterned covering. Synchronicities were happening at a “wow” rate and collaborations with visual artists (CLVR ATL) and musicians (Anthony Thogmartin from Papadosio, Sound Duo, Andy Reed) happened organically. Fruition was the key word of the weekend! Perhaps the following blog quote best describes the success of the sanctuary:

“When folks needed respite from the flashing lights and loud sounds, they entered the dome–a beautiful chill space created by the Tribal Council. Inside, healing crystals, incense, and Buddha statues sat atop tables, cushions covered the ground, and spiritual texts were scattered about. DJs spun chill music and transportational visuals were projected onto the ceiling. People spoke, recited poetry, exchanged massages, read, meditated, and relaxed together. The dome was a key element to the overall vibe of the fest.”
County Grind, The Broward and Palm Beach Music Spin

LED hooping is becoming more popular! Photo:

Thirty-six hours after flying back into the country from Envision Festival, I was assembling with fellow councilors for our official festival debut of our newly remodeled dome.  It’s unbelievable how much stuff you can fit into a Toyota 4-Runner.

Looking fierce after packing up the black beast in Atlanta.

After meeting Sir Edwin Leskin in the Wal-Mart parking lot in St. Cloud, Florida, we caravaned the remaining miles to Forever Florida, a 4,700 acre eco-ranch and wildlife conservation area where AURA Music and Arts Festival is held.  When we arrived, the festival grounds were nearly empty and the stages were hardly set up.  After brief introductions with the festival organizers, Daryl and Cameron of AURA Music Events, we retired to our tents in the Florida Everglade habitat in preparation for the long build day to follow.

Kelsey and Edwin enjoying the build day.

It was a full day of setup and it was joyful!  The crew that stepped up to the plate and signed on for our AURA assignment was a powerful group of movers and shakers that could get things done efficiently while laughing and enjoying each other’s company.  It was our first time installing our white “flower of life” triangle pattern on the dome, and after a bit of experimentation, it went up quick and easy…and boy did it look good! A huge thanks to my parents, true loving, wise elders and integral chieftains of the Tribal Council, who slaved laboriously for hours to finish fabricating these triangles while I was sipping mojitos in Costa Rica.

Peeking through the sanctuary entrance. Photo: Clayton Gaar

Tim Coffey, Art Director of Brotherly Love Productions, hooked us up with a sweet spot right next to the main stage and we were pumped on his vision.  It allowed for people to take a quick respite from the dance floor rage-a-thon, relax on soft pillows and blankets and then be back to boogyin’ in no time.  From years of experience, I certainly know what it’s like to need a break but not want to hike all the way back to the campsite. Usually you end up laying down in the dirt or the cold dew-covered grass in the back of the crowd.  The carpeted dome is a much cozier alternative.

Opening circle to set intentions for the weekend. Photo: Clayton Gaar

Friday afternoon before the music started, the dome crew and some other councilors who had arrived, like the one and only visionary artist Andy Reed, circled up for an opening ceremony.  Edwin led us in a beautifully guided meditation to begin the communion and connect our heart space.  Opening ceremonies are a great way to set intentions and get grounded before the expansive blast off that we experience throughout the weekend at these gatherings.

Preparing for rain. Photo: Clayton Gaar

When a minor monsoon blew in on Friday, we were glad to have a house-sized agricultural tarp with which to cover the sanctuary.  The lightning forced the main stage to stop for about an hour or so, which was fine by us because Cameron, aka the best sound guy ever, began playing a perfectly suited selection of tunes during the rain delay – STS9’s Artifact and Telefon Tel Aviv’s Fahrenheit Fair Enough – and we in the dome were practically the only people still by the main stage to enjoy it!

The TC crew waiting out the monsoon with poetry and sacred texts. Photo: Clayton Gaar

The sanctuary was perfectly safe and dry, so we passed the time dancing to Artifact and taking turns reading aloud our favorite passages of sacred texts and poetry from our massive book collection spread around the altars.

Photo: Caulder Wilson,

Big thanks to Calder Wilson for snapping this sweet wide-angle shot of us during the rain storm. It really helps show the flower of life pattern on the dome. Our silly faces seemed to have proved too wild for the long exposure.

Queen of The Headspace. Photo: Caulder Wilson,

It was an exciting weekend for our friends at The Headspace who, like us, were enjoying their official festival debut appearance vending.  Brett and Taylor are wonderful human beings making big moves in the scene while they strive to provide tons of high-quality art to the community.  They are living proof that good things happen to those who work hard, have good intentions, and spread positive energy.

Photo: Clayton Gaar

Although we TC crew held a constant presence in and around the dome, one of the most beautiful unfoldings of the sanctuary experience was the fact that all the visitors to the dome treated it with the utmost respect.  In essence, everyone became stewards of the space.  There was a sign greeting domies with the message that “This is your sanctuary,” and it was obvious that this sense of ownership was internalized by all.  On the occasion that an unknowing friend walked in with shoes on, another domie would kindly remind them to remove their shoes before we had the chance to open our mouth.  Most noticed on their own accord.  It became clear that people picked up on the sacred vibe of the space immediately and adjusted their mindset and awareness to this fact.  For us, it was extremely rewarding to see this happen and it touched us deeply.

Getting ready to do another smudge stroll through the crowd. Photo: Clayton Gaar

Spontaneity is one of the defining characteristics of Tribal Council.  Whether it was strolling through the crowd at the main stage smudging the sweaty dancers with sage, running into the dome to count off a loud collective “MEEEEOOOOW,” or circling everyone up for a period of OHMing, Tribal Council did what we do best: We serve to remind “our selves,” that is to say your self, my self, and the collective self, that we are gathered here today to honor the miracle of life by fully rejoicing in seriously silly sacred celebration and loving our selves.

The bright full moon was shining down on us all weekend.

Andy Reed, visionary artist and sick DJ. Photo: Clayton Gaar

All the way from the mountains of Asheville, NC, Andy Reed was holding it down as a member of the live painting artist panel all weekend.  His work is truly multidimensional, layering natural landscapes, intergalactic portals, and sacred geometry.  He has also become one of TC’s staple sunrise DJs with his impeccable taste in downtempo and psychedelic ambient music. Andy threw down a lovely sunrise set Saturday morning at the sanctuary after all the stages shut down.

The sanctuary got packed late night with friendly faces. Photo: Clayton Gaar

The dome was always packed in the late night as everyone was looking for a comfortable dry place to give each other back massages and stretch their weary legs.  It was great to see the space get used so much and all the shenanigans were a blast!

The firespinning area was thankfully right in front of the dome so we had front row seats all weekend for the talented performers.

Dear friend and lead guitarist from Papadosio, Anthony Thogmartin, providing sweet lullabies for our ears for sunrise. Photo: Clayton Gaar

Huge props go to Anthony Thogmartin, lead guitarist of Papadosio, who brought his sound to the dome and spun both an original Earth Cry set and a sweet sunrise DJ set Friday and Saturday. It was a beautiful way to end the night, and er…start the new day.

CLVR ATL projected visuals. Photo: Clayton Gaar

Another beautiful synchronicity that manifested on site was the sweet projection visuals from CLVR ATL, which really took the sanctuary to another level.  Anthony’s music and CLVR ATL’s visuals are exactly the type of organic collaborations that Tribal Council is looking for.  Look at what can be accomplished when people come together for the purpose of intentional co:creation?  Yes, it is possible and beautiful in the microcosm of our music and art communities, which appears to be one of the main focuses of TC. However, I’d like expand this idea and ask, “Is this sort of co:creation, this pooling of resources, possible in the macrocosm of our everyday community and, to take it a step further, in our larger community of human civilization?”  The answer is yes, and our civilization is hungrier than ever for it.  Tribal Council seeks to facilitate this shift in every way, shape, and form.  Let us remember our oneness.

Councilors communing in morning meditation. Photo: Caroline Rose

After some early morning cleaning and organization, there was a rare lull in the action for us councilors.  It was the perfect time for our personal practice.  This was the least I’ve ever slept at a music festival but the most energy I’ve ever experienced at a gathering.  I felt chi channeling through me, and it was the result of both the joy of being in service and the benefits of the meditative environment of the sanctuary.

Bodhi Tree art crew. Van piece painted at festival. Photo: Clayton Gaar

Sometimes in life your neighbors can be a drag.  Not this time!  We were blessed to share our space in the main stage field with the Orlando-based Bodhi Tree crew, who were creating super fresh graffiti artworks all weekend and blowing glass on sight in their mobile studio.  Bodhi Tree has it going on, artistically and spiritually, and we look forward to future neighborly interactions and collaborations.  If you’re in Orlando, I suggest stopping by their boutique to give them some love and buy some glass and graffiti art supplies.

Sarah Tracy working on her newest piece.

Sarah Cat Tracy doing what she does best. Meow! Check out her art page here to see her other works.

Anthony from Papadosio. Photo:

Music-wise, Papadosio stole the entire weekend for me with both of their banger sets Saturday and Sunday night.  These guys are just what our music scene needs.  They bring a fresh, bright, love energy to the scene and their music is uplifting and downright dirty at the same time. In addition to the tunes, Jason Takahashi brought the sacred fractal hot sauce visuals during Dosio’s sets as well! Integration. Yes we are integrating.

Tim Coffey, dear friend and AURA Art Director. The man with the plan. Photo: Clayton Gaar

Dear friend and the man with the plan, Tim Coffey. We love you Timmy!

Tim Coffey brought in a great group of live painters for the weekend. Photo: Clayton Gaar

This is what I love to see, live art everywhere! People creating in full force.  Tim brought in a lot of great talent in the live artist line-up.

This fact was evident when one walked into the art tent, which housed all the works of the live artists.

Didgeridoo sound healing in the sanctuary Sunday night. Photo: Clayton Gaar

We were stoked when a friend brought a didgeridoo to the sanctuary and blasted some sound healing vibrations at folks on the last night tip.  With TC’s interests and expertise in areas like sound healing, sacred geometry, metaphysics, and spirituality, expect to see some educational workshops come out of the sanctuary in the near future.  If you have a skill or an area of expertise you’d like to share with the community, contact us at

Chanting and breath work class in the sanctuary. Photo: Clayton Gaar

In line with the aforementioned workshops, another delightful surprise was when the Miami yogis – Kelly Searcy, Bernardo Valero, and Joaquin de Teresa – asked to hold their chanting and breathwork class in the sanctuary after the yoga class.  This felt so good that we did a wicked fun yoga class in the dome the following afternoon.  The highlight of the class was when we blew the tarp straight off the dome in the rain from the massive ball of chi we were building in the dome!

AURA Sanctuary Crew. Left to Right: Edwin Leskin, Sarah Tracy, Caroline Rose, Kelsey Armbruster, Ben Loftis, Clayton Gaar. Photo: Clayton Gaar

The lesson of the AURA experience for me was how to live in service.  Being a part of the sanctuary team at AURA redefined my understanding of service.  If you are passionate about the way in which you are serving others, it is not work; it is the greatest, most joyful play.  I shall end this with a proper shout out to the AURA TC Sanctuary crew, whose positive attitudes, abundant creativity, and righteous dedication surely made an impact on the energy of the whole festival. So blessed and so grateful to be a part of this!

Burning Man: the Silly and the Sacred

This video illustrates one of the plethora of reasons why Burning Man is so unique and amazing. Here is the video description from youtube:

“Burning Man 2011 – the Black Rock Animal control teams up with some angry carrots to attack the Billion Bunny March. Of course the Death Guild shows up since the million bunny march took over the Thunderdome… a battle must take place. Meanwhile, animal control and the angry carrots are gathering for attack.”

For those who haven’t attended Burning man, allow me to translate if I may.  Every year there are groups of people who dress up according to themes, characters, animals, or roles.  There are also an unfathomable number of the most outrageous and random events you could possibly think of that are scheduled to take place throughout the week at various locations on the playa (the slang term for the dusty desert floor of the Black Rock Desert) and at all hours of the day and night.  Sometimes these armies of people randomly cross paths, where they are sure to engage in spontaneous shenanigans whether it be the stilt walkers, the naked bicycle ride, or the pirates.  Other times, such as in the case of the chosen video here, groups will coordinate a scheme to ambush another group’s event and stir up some harmless trouble.

Every year there is a Billion Bunny March, where anyone and everyone is invited to dress up like a bunny, meet up, and march around Black Rock City.  There is also Black Rock Animal Control, whose members are dedicated to the task of hassling and locking up anyone who is adorned in animal regalia, making them do things like take shots of liquor to prove they are humans and thus be freed from their cages.  There is also a group who dress up like carrots, as can be seen in the beginning of the video dressed in orange and holding signs that say “Have you had a carrot today?”

In the beginning of the video you can see the animal control and carrots unite, ready to sabotage the unknowing bunnies and teach them a lesson.  Well, the carrots and animal control ambush the bunnies, who have taken over the thunderdome, which, just like in the movie “Mad Max and the Thunderdome,” is a giant dome where people are tied to elastic bungies and forced to fight while bystanders climb the dome to cheer them on and place bets.  As a result, the builders and operators of the thunderdome, the Death Guild, stepped in and battles were fought (3:30 in video).  My favorite part of the video is at the end when all the bunnies can be seen hopping around joyously.What happens when mobs of bunnies, carrots, animal control officers, and goths meet in the desert? A good ol’ love rumble. Nowhere else on earth can you witness or participate in an experience like this. You never know what will happen on the playa.  Every moment is the most beautiful spontaneous exotic live action art, and you create it!

And for an addendum, here is a cool little video about the Temple at this past Burning Man. I chose this video because I think it serves to balance the silly debauchery of the first video.  Most people that I talk to who have heard about Burning Man have this misconception in their mind that Burning Man is just a giant party. I always point out that yes, there is a huge party scene in Black Rock City. It is a giant celebration!  But there is a tremendous amount of education, workshops, activism, intellectual talks, and spiritual circles. Many couples even get married at Burning Man every year. There is an entire sacred side of Burning Man.  And those who attend will tell you that their lives were forever changed from the gathering.  People transcend old personal boundaries and remember their true essence.  In my experience, the only way I can describe my week there was that it was a week of Church. A week of communion with the pure love, acceptance, and creativity that is God.

For those who don’t know, “The Man” is burned on Saturday, which is an all out party night and climax of the week.  Then on Sunday, the Temple is burned.

Sarah Tracy, enjoying her first sunrise on the playa. Photo: Clayton Gaar 2011.

The burning of the temple is a very emotional and powerful event as throughout the week the 50,000 people in attendance come write prayers on the temple, leave photos of loved ones, and inscribe things they want to let go of.  You can almost always find someone sobbing at the temple at any given time throughout the week. On the final day, these incredible works of carpentry and architecture and art, which people have spent the past year designing and building, are burned as a symbol of impermanence and of moving on.

Waiting for the temple to burn. Photo: Clayton Gaar 2011.

The Temple Burn. Photo: Clayton Gaar, 2011.

It’s quite the site to see.  This video shows the earth harp being played by Andrea Brooke, who I was fortunate enough to see perform an earth harp ritual in conjunction with performance rituals and yoga every sunset at Envision Festival in Costa Rica a couple weeks ago. Magical beyond words!

View of the temple's intricate architecture. The earth harp's long strings can be seen coming towards the camera from the center of the temple. Photo: Clayton Gaar 2011

And lastly, here are two of literally thousands of Burning Man photo galleries on the web to browse just for kicks:

Lost and Found

We Call It Black Rock City


The Long Road to Envision Festival, Costa Rica

[All photos copyright Clayton Gaar 2012]

The new year came and left me feeling overwhelmed and a bit lost.  The first week of 2012 had me cocooned in my basement wondering what I was going to do and how I was going to do it.  Some of my closest friends and Tribal Council chieftains were discussing a mystical trip to the Kalalau Valley in Hawaii, but I couldn’t swing it due to my commitment to AURA Music Festival in early March.  When I go to Hawaii, you better believe I’m buying a one way ticket! So I began eyeing Envision Festival in Costa Rica more and more seriously.  Once I discovered I had enough miles to fly one way to Central America for free, and I spoke to several friends who had decided to go, I booked all my tickets and decided to treat myself to a little vacation.

The awe-inspiring Semuc Champey. Guatemala.

I flew into Guatemala City three weeks early so I could visit my favorite spot in Central America, Lake Atitlan.  I learned last trip that it’s best to head straight to the town of San Marcos on the lake.  I spent a week in this beautiful, tranquil little town, which is known for its mystery schools where mystics from around the world come to study the whole spectrum of metaphysical knowledge, practice holistic medicine, attend energy healing retreat centers, and just plain bliss out!  I spent the week at the best hostel in San Marcos, Hostal del Lago, where you can rent a bed for $3/night right next to the lake.

View from my mat every morning. San Marcos, Guatemala

I set the intention for having my own personal meditation retreat. My routine each day: wake up, do a deliciously long yoga practice right next to the lake with the sound of the waves lapping at my feet, jump in the lake and swim around like a river otter, walk three minutes to buy a bounty of fresh organic fruits and vegetables from local indigenous women, breakfast, read book in hammock, lunch, practice spinning poi, wander around town examining acupuncture schools and merkaba meditation retreat centers, dinner, read in hammock, chat with other travelers around camp fire by lake, sleep.  I lived very well for about $10/day.

This hostal is a straight circus! Hostal del Lago, San Marcos, Guatemala.

The best thing about this hostal is the people that it attracts.  It’s not uncommon for visitors planning on spending a few days there to live in San Marcos for months or even years.  Some of my favorite people I’ve ever met I encountered here.  There is a unique circus vibe to this hostal and we joke that it is circus training camp. Maybe it’s because of the house aerial silks, which are certainly a symbol of the hostal.  We all teach each other hoop tricks, poi, aerial silks, slackline, and juggling techniques.

Oliver chilling like the circus kid he is.

The lake is surrounded by steep volcanoes, making it all the more dramatic of a back drop for anything you do.  The private rock outcropping into the lake affords a 180 degree view of water and volcanoes, and is the perfect spot for yoga, tai chi, or my personal favorite, sitting in sunbathing stillness.  With all the distractions far away (you have to take a boat to another town to use the internet), I was able to go deeper into my practice and my self than ever before.  I was in such an inward place that I rarely felt called to speak to others.  Through the combination of an almost raw diet (for the first time in my life), yoga, meditation, and sobriety, I felt cleaner, lighter, and at more peace than I can remember. It was truly inspirational!  And it helped to be surrounded by others who were eating raw food and doing yoga rather than eating hamburgers and drinking 6-packs, although there is a time and a place for that.  One thing is for certain, the more I experiment with breathwork and meditation, the more I realize that it has the potential to take you far far deeper, and to a more connected place, than any ingested substance.

Mayan Wayeb Ceremony Day 1, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.

I happen to be visiting San Marcos during the five days of Wayeb, which is a special period of ceremony before the Mayan New Year.  This Wayeb was especially sacred in San Marcos as the town was blessed to have Mayan Spiritual Elders, Mamas and Tatas, come from all over to lead four ceremonies a day for whoever wanted to attend.  A sacred fire was lit the first night and kept alive for the entirety of Wayeb.  The vibrations from the prayer incantations in these ceremonies were super high, and I left feeling incredible peace.

Mashimon throwing down a warmup set at Ganesha. San Marcos, Guatemala.

Local Guatemalan Mashimon threw down a warmup set in at the headiest restaurant in San Marcos, Ganesha, and our entire hostal showed up to spin fire and get loose on the dancefloor to some sexy hip hop infused beats.  Daniel Garcia, the producer behind Mashimon, traveled with us all the way across Central America to Envision and became a dear friend.  Be sure to check his project out; it makes for a sexy dance party. He knows what he’s doing :)

Leaving the lake at sunrise, San Marcos Boat Dock.

Since there were so many of us at the hostal that were pumped for Envision, we manifested a private 15 passenger bus with our own shuttle driver to drive us from the lake in Guatemala all the way to Envision in Costa Rica.  We figured it’d be an adventure, but we had no idea.  What followed was a long five day road trip across five countries with many stops to pee and four border crossings (meaning 8 immigration offices!).

Oliver and Rei sitting atop the second broke down boat wondering what sort of omen this was.

The epicness started immediately after sunrise when our shuttle boat broke down at our dock in San Marcos.  Then, somehow, the backup boat that was sent as reinforcements shut off in the middle of the lake as well.  Finally we were rescued by a third sketchy boat, met our faithful bus driver Esteben, who we got to know quite well by the end of the trip, and loaded our shuttle bus for Costa Rica.

Mashimon producer showing he can get down organically with Megan on the violin entertaining us on day 1.

We sang and danced and beatboxed and ohmed our way through Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and finally to Costa Rica.

Lost again?

This picture wraps up our navigation troubles quite nicely, as well as our numerous run-ins with the law enforcement of several Latin American nations.  For some reason, our driver Esteban insisted on using a kid’s Disney map of Central America and refused to consult anything more detailed.

Throw your love up!

We quickly adopted the name “Love Tribe” for our crew, and I promise it wasn’t my idea ;)  After all, we were 13 happy hippies on an epic Latin American road trip to the most amazing music festival ever.

It’s not a journey without some wrong turns and bumps in the road, and we handled it surprisingly well considering most of us had just recently met. It’s always great experience learning about group dynamics, as it can be applied to all areas of your life for years to come.

Birthday shots! Gotta love $7 handles of rum...sure made for a rowdy bus ride.

One major bump in the road came when we got stuck in no man’s land between the Honduran and Nicaraguan borders because of a passport complication.  It just so happened to be the night of my 25th birthday, so we made the most out of the situation by jamming tunes, hooping, and sleeping in the parking lot of the Nicaraguan immigration office.

Envision preparty at Tucan Hostal, Uvita, Costa Rica.

After splitting with the bus to take a solo day on the beach in Montezuma, Costa Rica, I finally arrived in the small town of Uvita for Envision. Despite accommodations being packed in the only hostal in town, the universe had saved an extra hammock for the night. The vibes at Tucan Hostal were stellar as Djs, fire performers, and bands were putting the final polish on their sets for the festival. Many of the people at the hostal became my go-to festival buddies on the dance floor.

Samuel Wexler, mad violinist from Ft. Collins, tests out this crazy slide, Uvita, Costa Rica.

Fortunately, mama tierra built a perfect water park for us to baptize in before the festival.  Many people took the ten minute cab ride to the waterfalls during the hot festival afternoons to cool off, too.

Pura Vida!

I couldn’t resist getting some inverted hang time.  Too purrrrfect!

You know it’s a high vibrational hostal vibe when the coffee tables are full of flutes, Hafiz poetry, and Eckhart Tolle books!

Be sure to check my next post to get the scoop on Envision Festival 2012!