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  • Writer's picturejulia7631

Festival Fever Dance

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

I was lucky enough to go to two festivals this summer. The first was under-populated and over-heated (by the relentless sun) but it was damn good! The second, a big hippie affair with lots to recommend itself. My only regret was that the Flomotion machinery wasn’t in flow (note to self: get organised NOW for Flomotion@afestival Summer ‘23) Watch this space!

Dance Joy

The joy. The utter, uncomplicated, abundant, gloriously embodied, community-spirited, experimental, spontaneous joy of showing up at a field in the middle of beautiful countryside, to dance, enjoy music … to be free. I realise as I write how joy and freedom are so closely connected. It is hard to be joyful when we feel trapped, lost, out of control, stuck in our own repetitive patterns of thought. To be free, particularly in an embodied sense of being able to move around from place to place, according to our needs and orientations in the moment, is a great privilege and precursor to feelings of wellbeing.

True Freedom

Modern Neuroscience tells us our ‘Default Mode Network’ arises as we develop habitual pathways of communication between different brain regions that become constrained and pre-determine how we see the world. Having experience that helps us break free of these patterns if only for the duration of an activity, can be like going on holiday … from ourselves!

An immersive experience like a festival, in a new and open place with music and dancing is an ideal place for this freedom. Not everyone’s cup of tea (or something stronger) but definitely mine and many, many others.

As we free ourselves of our own personal tyranny, we of course become more open to others. The feeling of acceptance and bonhomie in the festival field was palpable. People spontaneously introducing themselves and asking our names; people walking past a tent of music and delighting on the entirely open access to the party; new friends became old friends and the party just kept going.

Why do all this?

It makes me think about writer, Barbara Ehrenreich’s book (Dancing In the Street, A History of Collective Joy) in which she ponders why our ancestors of antiquity took precious time out of their short, hard, brutal lives to get together to dance and, well, frolic. Her conclusion is that it is precisely because life was hard that people had a strong need to take this time out; to re-charge and re-boot. To continue to survive in harsh conditions. Add to that some group bonding which is never amiss in the story of human survival.

Troubled times

We undoubtedly live in troubled times, different in nature to that of our prehistoric forebears. It seems that in the face of our contemporary challenges we have new appetite for ritual, dance, community and ecstatic states, as a way of coping with the hardship and constraints. There is also the pull of accessing different states of consciousness that offer new meaning and perspective.

Back to the field

Like so many people, I find there is something endlessly engaging about being outdoors and surrounded by the beauty of nature. As the sun set in the West, leaving trails of pink streaks across the sky, my sense of being deeply connected: with myself, with the music, with the people around me, and with Nature in all it’s glory, was indescribably beautiful and uplifting.

I have been at Glastonbury and in other camping experiences with incessant rain and tsunami-like levels of mud. That is NOT fun, uplifting or inducing of transcendent experience. This time we were lucky.

Oh, and by the way, the toilets are always a bit of a challenge. Yuk!

Life outside the box

Being in a field with a crowd of people for no reason other than to share music, dancing, food and drink, also brings about other experience. ‘Normal rules’ and constraints of society seem to fall away. A band on the main stage clearly announced: ‘if there was one thing {We} should all do, it is to grow hemp’. This was the route to our ‘liberation’, an opportunity to reclaim on our autonomy and to see the world in its many layers of reality. Hmm, I wasn’t much attracted to the idea, but delighted that the suggestion could be so openly proffered.

A big melting pot of humanity

Another aspect of the completely spontaneous, unplannable excitement of these events is who shows up. As it turns out everyone. There were people of every possible cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic group from someone in a wheelchair, an impossibly young baby, toddlers, teenagers, middle-agers, grannies, all races, cultures etc. A big melting pot of humanity.

No room for factionalism and divisions; true to its name, the festival delivered its promise: ‘One Love’.

It’s not often you get to dance alongside people of such diverse ages and backgrounds. Here the space was for everyone.

Dance Music

For me, there’s the thrill of seeing what music people are playing (plus the odd, discreet Shazam), a refresher for my flomotion playlists, a chance to try out a bit of dance to some new tunes. Heaven! Big booming bass coming out of speakers reverberating through my body; the feel of the grass underneath my feet as I dance. The magic of moving bodies, together.


Festivals increasingly include a Wellbeing/yoga area, much like the Green Field in Glastonbury of old. A place to chill out and de-stress in a very particular way.

I could see Flomotion being right at home here either as a closed session in a marquee or as a way to bring people together through a direct invitation into body and breath, alongside the music they love and share.

See you in a field sometime soon, or why not join us online or in person

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