By Kaveh Mojtabai
Lebanon, CT – Music. Dancing. Art. Poetry. Gardening. Healing circles. Fire pits. Sound sanctuary. Sweat Lodges. Tea houses. Kids spaces. Yoga. Solar panels. Camping. Nature. Community. Humanity. This all happens at The Unifier Festival. What’s more, it’s all happening in New England.
Unifier, an annual “Transformational Healing and Expressive Arts Festival,” made its debut on June 5 to span across four full days through a spacious 380-acre campground at Camp Laurel in Lebanon, Connecticut. This transformative festival is not the only one of its kind. This passionate movement is sweeping across the country: Burning Man in Colorado, Gratifly in North Carolina, Beloved in Oregon to name only a few.
Transformative festivals like Unifier, however, are different from purely profit-venturing entertaining music concerts. Everyone participating, whether it be musicians, artists, organizers, patrons and their families, stays at the campground for one to four days to live and to interact with everyone else.
The casual attendee, like yours truly, upon invitation, may amble in to enjoy a song, view a painting, take a dip in the lake or enjoy a spa and rub down massage at the sauna. An unexpected surprise is the opportunity to listen to international, thoughtful DJs and singers, talk with painters and sculptors on creative collaborations, eat vegetarian food and sip tea with new friends, stay up all night singing around a fire pit, wake up to monkey chants at the break of dawn, spin in a mystic, whirling, dervish workshop and have a near-death experience in a Native American sweat lodge.
The atmosphere blends responsible, conscious-minded people exploring their humanity, healing and transforming from a chaotic, individualistic deteriorating society, working together creatively to understand their consciousness. Far from a utopia, each person plays a part to be acknowledging our realities, compassionately paying attention to each other and to themselves.
Just ask Jason Cohen, Unifier director, who puts this approach in practice. When having been asked about the spirit behind the festival in an interview with artscope, he explained that “a significant portion of proceeds from Unifier will be put in a Land Trust for a retreat center and potential eco-village, to be owned in perpetuity, governed by council, and in service to the community.”
It’s no wonder a weekend spent at a natural, environmental retreat surrounded by the spirit of kindness and friendship is making waves across the country and throughout most parts of the continent. In order to understand that we are all unified, we must first understand our conscious processes to be the same in every human being. Unifier helps this happen.
For more photos from this year’s Unifier Festival, check out artscope’s instagram: oninstagram.com/profile/artscopemagazine
Keep an eye out for next year’s dates at unifierfestival.com.