LIB Lifts 2019

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The LIB sign in front of attendees flocking to the cool lake 

Almost no one could have predicted what began as a small birthday party for friends and family in Santa Barbara in 1999 with 1,200 people to balloon into one of California’s, and the world’s, most loved music and art festivals. It wasn’t until 2004 that people paid to attend, and more DJs and artists were recruited. The founders (the production company known now as The Do Lab) grew up going to Burning Man, and have been greatly influenced by that and their work with Coachella to mesh the corporate and off-the-grid worlds into a creative and like minded community. 

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Co-stage builder Alina poses in front of the Woogie stage

As co-founder Jesse Flemming said, “We now have a younger crowd, a Coachella college crowd, and that’s great, but we have to show them the way and address some of the issues of the world. That’s what sets LIB apart from other festivals. We have a 6 Ways of LIB code of conduct that we really push to teach people the ways that we wish to see and interact with the world. One of our major goals is to respect the land, and use sustainable workshops so that people can take this back to their everyday life after they leave the festival. We only allow 5% of our food vendors to sell meat to really highlight how big sustainability and climate change are for us. That’s the goal, for people to come here and have a reset from everyday life, to get away from their anxiety and politics and keep this energy as alive as possible throughout their lives.” 

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A sustainable food vendor hands out free Acai bowls that benefit an organization that fights climate change 

Indeed, LIB boasts some of the largest amounts of workshops of any festival in the U.S. besides Burning Man, covering everything from physical Kundalini yoga and breathwork to energy healing and massage; dietary classes such as plant-based Keto and others in the Learning Kitchen; ArtClave art classes, and many others. This is what makes LIB a ‘Transformative’ festival, as it’s more than just partying- rather it’s about growing your limitless potential and focusing on what you want to for yourself with the help of and connection to others. 

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A body paint artist works their magic 🙂

Speaking of connection with others, the entire vibe of the festival is a family one, and what it takes to run a festival often asks of people to give more than they have- this is how the Do Lab gets everything done so quickly between Coachella and LIB. Everyone works together to give their all, and even the founder’s parents help at LIB every year. “We have so many babies that are LIB babies- whose parents met at LIB through a magical connection. These are the types of stories that keep us going even in the chaos of creating a festival,” said Flemming. 

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Expert Kundalini teacher Jai Dev Sing teaches his ways

This year the festival was held at a new venue in Buena Vista Lake and also incorporated a new stage, which always poses challenges, but the team pulled it off gracefully. For many, this was their first LIB and they didn’t notice much of a difference, but others missed key LIB monuments from the past such as Meditation Mountain. Regardless, there was still a magical energy of play, as this new venue is typically a thriving park used by mostly families. Music headliners such as Flying Lotus, who used immersive 3D experiences during his set, in conjunction with the art and magic abound, made it an elevating weekend!

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Psy Trance DJ Khromata on the right breaks in the new Stacks stage

Mystic Valley-Thailand

This past weekend, I worked Mystic Valley Thailand, in Khao Yai National Park. I was blessed enough to talk to two of my favorite artists (Nakadia and Alle Farben) who performed, and take many pictures of many beautiful people and moments (below). <3<3

Favorite artists:

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Nakadia (Thailand). Nakadia is one of Thailand’s most loved underground techno DJs. Even just watching her performance, her charisma and personality sparks laughter and smiles in the crowd from her pure light and energy. She grew up with little resources, and is self-made in every light possible, making her success all the more inspiring and beautiful. After working on her skills in Braunschweig, Germany, in the summer of 2003, she decided to move from rural Isaan in northern Thailand, and she started to DJ and play for European tourists in Koh Samui. She then started touring internationally as she gained fans, and since has been one of the first female DJs from Thailand to gain global recognition.

Br33zzyy Question: What is your favorite part of making music?

Nakadia Answer: To bring people together, to be able to represent my country and bring people a taste of Thailand that they normally don’t get, especially in the Western world, is amazing. I love music’s ability to do that- I bring all my friends onstage, and to be able to have friends from all over the world is awesome. If you have a passion, a drive, a desire to do well- you will always be successful. Every moment of your life will feel precious, and you will infect those around you with happiness- that is what living is all about.

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Alle Farben (Germany). 

Br33zzyy Question: Have you been to Thailand before? How does performing here compare to other places where you have played?

Alle Answer: Yes, I have been to Thailand before, but never to Khao Yai, and I feel blessed. I just played at Koh Phagnan, and it’s a magical place. All of Thailand is. Soon I will be touring in the US- I start out in LA. I’m excited to see California. This is one of the smaller festivals I’ve worked, but that’s nice because when they get too big it’s overwhelming and the vibes can get off-center. You can connect with the crowd and see individuals and their beauty a little bit more easily. Thailand has a vibe different than many other places- the locals are some of the most hospitable people I’ve ever met, and there’s an eclectic expat community that attracts a lot of free spirits (besides all the old dudes trying to get girls). I definitely want to come back to Thailand soon.

 

 

Veganism: a Comparison Between Thailand and America

ka-phun-ka-chinatown-bangkokRainy dinner, Chinatown, Bangkok

Thailand: the land of smiles and flavours. In any given meal, a Thai tongue seeks to taste salty, savory, sweet, and sour all at the same time. Markets offer fresh fruit and vegetables (what a novelty compared to the GMO-ridden produce of the United States), as well as seafood that has been caught a couple hours earlier. American food is bland, dull and uninteresting in comparison (not that I eat “normal” pizza or cheeseburgers anyway).

morning-veggies-som-lom-thailand_-copy-2A morning market at Som Lom

However, Thai people also eat lots of meat- practically at every meal! Usually it is made up of chicken, cow, and mystery meat;). But being in the city of Bangkok, I have yet to see any of these animals. Which begs the question: where do they come from?

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Pig Heads, Ban Tai

Similarly as in America, Thai meat is produced in the countryside in large slaughterhouses that mistreat animals and cause environmental degradation and pollution. According to The Guardian, in June, Thai police found a tiger slaughterhouse used to raise tigers for their skins on the black market. The act of raising animals unjustly for human consumption is equal in both countries, although Thai people eat more seafood, leading to less of a demand for meat than in the US.

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Chili crabs at the floating market

According to Forbes, America is the second largest meat consumer in the world after Australia. Reducing our meat intake is the most environmentally conscious action we can take to reduce our carbon footprint. That, combined with how energized I feel when eating vegan, and how great I feel about not mistreating animals, is why I have been vegan for a year and a half. Interestingly, under Buddhism one must not harm any living creature, yet Buddhists eat meat (so they must harm these animals which they eat).

black-chicken-ban-tai-thailand_Black Chickens, Ban Tai

In regards to the ease of being a vegan, I would say that it is about equal in Thailand and the United States. It has been more difficult for me in Thailand because I cannot fluently speak Thai, and it is therefore difficult to communicate my dietary needs because all I can say is “jay”, or “vegan”, but often the Thai people are not familiar with that word. It is not popular for people to not eat meat or animal products here; there is fish sauce in most stir fry and curry, and almost always milk in coffee. “Thai sweet” describes how drinks such as coffee and tea are served here; sugar with a little bit of liquid.

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Jay pad thai with tofu, one of my favorite dishes near our dorm, Green Park

However, I have found a few places where I can eat “jay” and the workers remember me and make delicious vegan options! Above is from pasta lady, a wonderful woman near our dorm Green Park who makes delicious noodles. Pad Thai with fresh peanuts and lime juice is hard to beat.

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Yum, Chinatown, Bangkok

In America, being a vegan is much easier in some instances. Living in Los Angeles, I was constantly surrounded by healthy, vegan food options (ironically, most of what I ate was vegan Thai food). Even back home in Maryland during the summer, we grow corn and zucchini in our own garden. However, if one is living in a food desert in a city like Baltimore, then they will not be able to have ready access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

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Ladies sell their fresh seafood at a local floating market.

But regardless, in most American cities one can purchase produce from a local supermarket or Walmart. I am greatly missing kombucha from back in the states, but have been enjoying the delicious desserts that make use of lots of sweet rice and coconut milk. Thailand offers many vegan desserts, while in America it is difficult to find enjoyable ones unless made at home or living in an urban place.

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Delicious, Chinatown, BKK

Mango sticky rice and coconut pudding, both delicious vegan desserts, Chinatown.