Dates: 15th February - 4th March 2019
Location: Playa Chiquita, Panama
This festival is like no other. Held on the verdant, palm-fringed beaches of Panama, it hosts over sixty different tribes, from roughly thirty countries all over the world. Once a year, they come together for eighteen days to celebrate their own traditions and music whilst learning about and appreciating others, in a surrounding of communal goodwill. This Caribbean jungle seashore is the ultimate setting for this – sunny days giving in to balmy nights create a sense of easy relaxation that is palpable in the collective energy.
The company behind the festival is the charity GeoParadise, who raise funds throughout the year, as well as the proceeds of the festival, for various different outreach programmes worldwide.
The first half of the festival is lead mostly by the shamans of each tribe, as they play traditional music and share years of ancestral wisdom in workshops and group discussions. Slowly slowly though, the pace picks up as the tempo heats up, and the final five days cumulate in an extravaganza of modern electronic music and self expression.
Throughout the festival, there is an abundance of entertainment, education and pleasure to be had. There are three stages, on which over 150 different music acts from across the globe will perform. There are innumerable workshops – botany, shamanism, drumming, yoga, permaculture, tribal dance, local marine ecology, meditation and socio economic insights; to name but a few. There are carnival acts galore; trapeze artists, acrobats and burlesque shows that will make your jaw drop. There are wellness areas to heal all wounds – acupuncture, sound healing, aqua therapy and even life coaching. There is art – body art, spiritual art, installations – you can weave dream catchers, make carvings and dye your own fabrics.
Food ranges from international fare to local beans and rice; and you’re sure to be able to find something you like being that there are three bars, ten cafes and even a couple of “food shops”. Fresh drinking water is piped to the site, though there is bottled water available. If you go for the latter however, you might find yourself the recipient of some gentle judgement, as environmental awareness is paramount and as we’re all aware, bottled water just isn’t that eco-friendly. Children are welcome at the festival; there are plenty of fun activities they can enjoy in a friendly and multicultural environment: “A truly magical place where they can experience many different cultures sharing with one another in a symbiotic way. The festival provides a profound sense of respect and harmony between cultures of the Earth which we believe is crucial for our future.”
Believe it or not, glamping is available at this event, and if you’re spending all day on your feet, opening your mind and experiencing a rollercoaster of different emotions, it’s going to be worth getting a good sleep every once in awhile. Plus, it’s pretty warm, so you’re probably going to want a fan in your tent – which might be hard in the kind of pop-up you can fit in your hold luggage. You know the drill!