Boom 2023, photo by Pawel Wieloch

Transformational festivals are not your average music festival. They normally last for a week or more and take place deep in nature such as a forest or desert in order to help participants fully detach from society. They are defined by the education, community building and sustainability initiatives that help festival-goers be active participants, and are cemented in our minds by long talks with strangers, ecstatic dance, psychedelics, tears, and laughter.

Rather than just showing up and listening to music, attendees participate in workshops, create art, listen to speakers, and co-exist in a temporary community.

Many have principles or pillars for participants to live by during the festival, similar to Burning Man’s 10 principles. The intention is for the event to not just be a big party, but a life changing experience that is as inclusive as possible. Because of this, most transformational festivals are child friendly.


Envision Festival

Envision Festival – photo by Jedediah Liddell

Envision is a seven day immersive experience surrounding love, education, and sustainability. It engages the minds and bodies of festivalgoers through workshops, yoga, dance, martial arts, immersive art, and more. Any food and drinks on sale are organic and locally made, plastics are discouraged, and well known change makers give inspiring workshops during the day while major headliners put on shows at night. This effort to incite action and cultivate community, along with its location in the Costa Rican jungle of Uvita, gives participants a safe space to connect with themselves, one another, and nature.

Envision follows up on their word when it comes to dedication to sustainability. The foundation Somos El Cambio was started in 2020 to further strengthen and organize Envision’s initiatives toward environmental preservation and restoration by educating and empowering the local community and collaborating with both governmental and for-profit organizations.

Due to the combination of limited space and a growing popularity, Envision is no longer a festival that you can decide to go to at the last minute. Tickets sell out quickly! Signing up for the waitlist is the best way to stay informed and ensure you get a spot.


Boom Festival

Boom Festival photo by Jakob Kolar

Boom is a week long psychedelic transformational festival that aims to inspire changemaking through individual and collective growth. It attracts participants from across the globe to celebrate life, freedom, peace, love and respect of nature. its As a biennial festival, it normally happens every two years, with most being in sync with the full moon.

At Boom, to be psychedelic does not just refer to mind altering substances, but to the expanding of consciousness through art, music, creativity and empowerment.

Boom Festival has embodied this by developing a great experience for participants, including incredible music, strong sustainability initiatives, and its own unique identity. There are not only no logos within the festival, but no VIP experiences, as everyone deserves the best experience possible.



Shambala – photo by Sian Herbert

Shamabala has become the largest and longest-running EDM festival in Western Canada, with multiple stages, art installations, painted murals, yoga platforms, meditation nooks, gardens, and ethical fair trade vendors spread throughout the venue. It lasts for four days, attracts big name headline musicians and sells out every year. Yet it still has a down to home atmosphere. It started in 1998 with five friends who just wanted to celebrate life with like minded people and still has a community-focused spirit. Instead of corporate sponsorships like alcohol and sports drinks, Shambala partners social nonprofits like Oxfam, Tickets for Good, and Attitude is Everything to make the festival as accessible as possible for everyone, as well as to further their social and environmental initiatives.

While Shambala is no longer a sober festival, the beer, wine and cider providers support its community and environmental focused initiatives. There are no single use plastics in their bars (a feat!) and most of the providers are based within 70 miles of the festival. Food and drinks are meat and fish free, offered on compostable plates, and do not support any Coca-Cola or Nestle products.


Lightning in a Bottle

Lightning In A Bottle – photo by Juliana Bernstein

Lightning in a Bottle is a five day community campout full of interactive spaces, large scale art, and immersive experiences. The expansive learning culture encourages participants to invigorate their mind and body with over 150 talks, discussions, classes and workshops from change makers, experts, and thought leaders. Just a few include skill trades, medicine making, art, mindfulness, and yoga.

This festival is well known for its extensive marketplace full of food, clothes, jewelry, skincare and more crafted by community artisans. It’s seven stages feature breakout artists alongside famous headliners in a multigene experience that includes techno, bass, house, hip hop, folk and americana.

While the festival itself encourages participation, attendees also have many ways to help make LIB happen. This includes helping to build, operate, and clean up the festival, providing art pieces or workshops, and vending.

Fusion Festival

Fusion Festival – photo by Montecruz Foto

Fusion Festival is a communal arts and music festival with a counterculture nature, identifying as “4 days of parallel society”. Attended by more than 70,000 people each year, it attracts Fusionists from all over the world, who gather to explore what an alternative society would look like. While it is clear that everyone with an open mind is welcome, Fusion is unique in that it openly defines itself on the political spectrum as left wing, while most festivals avoid politics.

Since its foundation in 1999, the festival has been hosted and organized by the non-profit association Kulturkosmos. Every year a diverse group of over 10,000 people, most of whom are volunteers, work countless hours to make the festival happen, with some coming out weeks in advance to help set up. It is located on a former military airport called Müritz Airpark in northeastern Germany. The festival name is often depicted in Cyrillic letters as Фузион, but pronounced like the English word fusion.

Over 3,000 artists take part in Fusion’s diverse underground music culture. Most of the featured music leans toward techno with the rest being psy-trance, DnB, reggae, breakbeat, hardcore, or unidentified. The lineup is never announced beforehand, supporting Fusion’s objective of random discovery.

Lucidity Festival

Lucidity Festival – photo by Eric Allen

Lucidity is a three day transformational festival that takes place outside of Santa Barbara, California. Structured as a temporary city, participants can camp on their own or as part of a theme camp, similar to Burning Man. These theme camps and larger villages help people enjoy Lucid City with those they identify with, including an ASL camp, circus camp, and family friendly camping.

Participants are given tools for creativity, self love and personal growth by the many visual artists, workshops, healers, performers, vendors, and mythos oracles that sign up to share their gifts. Three stages provide a mix of genre bending artists, with the stages built into natural nooks and coves to make a dreamy, cozy atmosphere. Interactive art installations, immersive environments, local food vendors, and a themed marketplace help add to the whimsy of the experience.

As a smaller transformational festival with around 3,500 attendees, Lucidity is a popular choice for those seeking healing and creativity without the large crowds of many other festivals.

by Koi Reid at Queer Vagabond