Sometimes before a festival you can feel the excitement of what is about to come. A rush in the wind, the clarity and blessings of the sky, the warmth of the sun, and the overwhelmingly synchronistic nature of reality that calls for the celebration of music and life. Serenity Gathering is not just a music festival. The name in itself holds true to that. Serenity Gathering is a place for new beginnings, inspiration, and powerful creativity that culminate into a sacred bubble within time that can never be popped.
This was the second year for the people at Serenity Gathering. It was located the La Jolla Indian Reservation Campground located at about an hour north driving distance from San Diego. Nestled at the base of Palomar Mountain, this was prime territory for the Luiseño People. You can come across indian grinding slabs that were used hundreds of years ago by the people of the land. Ancient oaks, lush vegetation, and the San Luis Rey River made for a great environment that is incomparable to any other gathering.
It is still up in the air whether or not this will be a permanent home. A strict policy of "No Glass," a low driving limit, and the use of campfires made for some uneasiness between the gatherers and the people of the reservation. I specifically noticed that people were very respectful towards the land and over exceeded their awareness and execution of cleaning up their campsites. This was the very first camping festival I felt blown away by the lack of garbage left behind.
The line-up was completely stacked with amazing talent from all over the world. There were four official stages that held the presence of EOTO, Kalya Scintilla, Desert Dwellers, G Jones, Gladkill, MitiS, Ill Esha, Manic Focus, Stickybuds, Amplive, Buku, Thriftworks, and many many more. Each of the stages were pumping out bass all day and every hour of the night. Closest to the majority of the camping was "The Untz" main stage. It held a lot of the bigger acts and was the only stage with phenomenal lighting and screen projection visuals. The visuals were very well put together and the stage itself held an intimate grassroots vibe that was vital in keeping the energy between the crowd and the artists fresh. To the stage right was a continuous show of flow artists and fire dancers that kept the crowd warm in the wee brisk hours of the night.
Some of the artists that made a powerful imprint over the weekend was DJ Stickybuds, Kalya Scintilla, G Jones, TV Broken 3rd Eye Open, Dead Bedouin, and EOTO. The guys from EOTO played a thursday night set that completely blew me away. A lot of the people that I talked to about the performance said that was the best EOTO show they have ever seen. I think at some degree the reason for this was the intimacy of the stage as I mentioned above. They got called back for a 5 minute Encore before Manic Focus hit the ship.
TV Broken 3rd Eye was also a really good act to see as they played 3 sets on 2 different stages over the weekend. They were the only psychedelic jam band on the scene with about 90% all other acts being electronic artists. Sitar, hand drums, Didgeridoo, guitar, bass, and vocals all added up to make and very eclectic spacey sound that a lot of people were getting into.
DJ Stickybuds was another artist who played multiple sets on different stages. This guy became an instant favorite for me as I first checked out his infectious upbeat tunes before the festival. I went to a couple of his sets and had a blast every time. I certainly recommend checking out his show if he is ever on a bill in your area.
Overall, Serenity Gathering 2015 was one for the books. The location, line-up, and super intimate feel made for a very epic weekend. The intention behind the festival of having it land during the new moon rising was a true transformational festival that my entire being is joyous that it experienced. I took a lot from this gathering. Dove deep within and realized my love for music and this community is eternally inseparable and similar to this 2nd year childlike gathering, we are taking the next step in a direction of the highest and positive potential.
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