Interplay and observation at Symbiosis Gathering, a photo essay

Michael Drummond/Senior Staff

Over the weekend of Sept. 17-20, the 10th anniversary of Symbiosis Gathering served as an epic conclusion of the West Coast “transformational” festival summer circuit. The festival grounds were set on a peninsula at the Woodward Reservoir in Oakdale, allowing festival goers to escape the sweltering heat of the day and jam out to music while swimming. An expertly crafted playground lay ready, patiently waiting for attendees of all ages to explore the surreal and marvel at the multifaceted artistic collaboration.

The festival was straight out of a dream — an ethereal atmosphere composed of beams of golden sunlight illuminating dust kicked up by dancing feet. One could see a replica of the Delorean from “Back to the Future,” driving from land through water, or even swim out to a floating two-story tree house with a waterslide.

After an opening ceremony Thursday afternoon, the festivities commenced and music began playing 24 hours a day for the entirety of the four-day extravaganza, full of sleepless nights and endless opportunities for dance parties to progress till sunrise. Not only did the festival pride itself on its eclectic group of world-renowned musical artists, but it also had a strong focus on education, self-realization and mindfulness. There were daily yoga classes, guided meditation and healing workshops, permaculture and sustainability discussions, and speakers from many walks of life.

This Burning Man-esque experience was nothing short of magical. The entire weekend was full of collective awe as thousands of attendees experienced a sensory overload. It was a festival oozing with love and electric energy, producing a fundamental sense of community.

photos by Michael Drummond