Unified @ Unifier 2015
Unifier Festival 2015, a Transformational Healing & Expressive Arts music festival embraces values of inclusivity while producing a truly entertaining, uplifting, and spiritual event. I felt completely welcomed as both male and female, even by those less exposed to gender variance. The event provides safe space for all to explore transformation through music, fire dancing, yoga, and meditation. Jason Cohen, the event producer, demonstrated real openness, as well as the staff, the artists, and the attendees, to diversity and inclusiveness. By the end of the event I felt as if I was part of the family at Unifier and truly unified with a gender flexible community. I am excited to be part of this event next year!
The event hosted great musicians like Nahko Medicine for the People, the Polish Ambassador, The Human Experience, Srikalogy, Incus, and Kidmandi. Music is always an incredibly intense experience when its a live performance. Nahko was rained out but made the best of the situation with an acoustic set inside the art gallery space, really beautiful. Such an intimate gathering set with good intentions and positive messages created a unique experience for festival attendees that will be a lasting memory. Certainly Nahko’s very intimate jam session in an all night downpour was the musical highlight of Unifier 2015.
Incus had a very impressive live set as well. They were not only part of the spiritual opening circle but also had a concert set that was very impressive. Incus is one of those bands that carries their magic in their music and is best experienced live. The interesting mix of instruments combined with the wise lyrics sung by Jason Cohen create a enlightening experience. I was really impressed at the live performance of Incus and personally feel that their live performance is the best way to experience their music. They carry the divine in their words and music in a way that fills my heart with a comforting inspiration. Jason Cohen, the lead voice for Incus, helps facilitate spiritual inspiration in many communities he participates in. So it came as no surprise that his live performance would be so moving. Also earlier in the weekend their spiritual involvement at the opening circle was enhanced with the inclusion of Bright Hawk’s Hang PANArt instrument. The opening with Incus and Bright Hawk laid down a spiritual foundation for the entire event. Both Bright Hawk’s Hang PANArt Instrument and Incus are a great experience live and shouldn’t be missed.
Another impressive live artist, The Polish Ambassador, hosted a fun dance party on a drizzly evening – again making the best of weather no one can control. He took everyone on a high energy dance journey that filled the hearts and souls of the crowd. His dancing DJ ways helps makes his live performance something really special especially combined with a great crowd of inclusive community, fire spinners, dancers and fun upbeat mixes. His mixes included great familiar pieces, like Michael Jackson, that help get everyone dancing. The dance crowd was creative, diverse and inclusive of all styles. There was plenty of space to express yourself as one finds themselves inspired by the Polish Ambassador’s music including hoops and fire poi.
Kidimandi is a fun drum and dance group that I am familiar with from another festival, but there they are simply trolls that drum. Kidimandi is a fun group of percussionist with two impressive female djembe players. The most inclusive part of this group is of course they way they raise up their womyn djembe players in an evolved way. Traditionally djembe players are often male – making Kidimandi an inclusive percussionist group. I have witnessed this group at fire circles uplifting the community and bringing rhythm to the fire circle inspiring dance and personal expression. The video captured in the playlist below, was the first time I have seen the group on stage and was impressed with their ability to perform and arrive in an entertaining and energetic way.
Bright Hawk appeared with a couple of groups including Incus at opening circle and later with Kidimandi. Bright Hawk plays Hang PANArt that uplifts and sooths the soul in a way that is best understood live. She is also a talented and powerful djembe player. She is certainly the best Djembe player I have ever witnessed and there are many that would agree with that statement. Bright Hawk also is part of the magic all night fire circle where she shines like the sun in the darkness of night. Bright Hawk has over 20 years with magic Fire Circles around the world. A truly inspirational person in the community.
Concert after concert kept me very busy with my video camera – trying to capture some of the best moments on stage. I was able to experience a variety of music and experiences throughout the weekend that supported a free flow of expression. I feel music provides the space to fully express ourselves. My emotional and spiritual experience of music supports my belief that music has the ability to transform, heal and manifest. I did my best to collect what I could on video and compile it on a playlist. Enjoy the video collection on DiversiTree YouTube Channell.
The Fire Circle provided completely inclusive space to fully express oneself around the fire creatively, spiritually, and physically. I have found that, for me, the magic Fire Circle to be the most inclusive spiritual experience. The Fire Circle at Unifier is young but has tons of potential with the support of spiritual players like Bright Hawk & Jason Cohen. The community comes together in a beautiful expression that I will dive deeper into for a future article. Overall the circle was powerful, worth the energy and incredibly inclusive to everyone. Unifier is certainly a community that provides safe space for the individual to step up and offer their unique talents to the community.
The food was even inclusive for most diets including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free. I was very pleasantly surprised at the quality of vegetarian food available as the meal plan at Unifier. I truly enjoy well balanced, clean and nutrient heavy food but rarely find it available outside my own kitchen. When I was presented with healthy vegetarian well balanced meal after meal at Unifier I found that the kitchen was more than capable of filling my diverse and almost vegan diet. I was delightfully surprised. The food was diverse and provided well balanced and healthy meals with intentions towards preservation of our earth. Even the food at Unifier was aligned with values that I take very seriously.
The workshops ranged in variety and included permaculture, yoga, meditations, drumming, and many interesting topics that suit most of us. Workshops included the Fire Circle workshop with Bright Hawk that helps us understand the practical pieces of plugging in at the magic Fire Circle. Another workshop held by Martin Bridge was well planned and informative. Even though I am well versed in Permaculture I was happy to hear more about other topics I am not as familiar with. He provided a format for the workshop involving the attendees in a fun and casually inclusive way. He even touched on the topics of permaculture as a spiritual path. The “Over the Rainbow – Mandala Creation and Sound Meditation” facilitated by Kelli Joy helped move me into the quiet meditative place I like to be in for Fire Circle. I enjoyed the soothing drumming and singing bowls combined with a room full of souls choosing to go on the same ride felt very much like being “Over the Rainbow”. There was a group mandala that helped support the meditative energy in the room and supported the creative energy that can flow when in deep meditation. I wished there was more time to attend more of the workshops.
Overall the festival was enlightening, well rounded and very inclusive. The festival included everyone from freaks and geeks to heterosexual to Gender Activists like myself. I even found other gender benders like myself, it was refreshing. Overall the theme was love and unification of all in order to better evolve as spiritual beings. The overall unification and appreciation for each individual’s personal expression is what makes this festival totally inclusive. This festival provides supportive spiritual expression and even inclusive family fun. This festival family is happy to celebrate diversity in all its forms as well as uplift our souls in order to meet on a level where these things no longer matter. Unifier unites the hearts and souls of those that attend in a way that lifts the soul to higher altitudes. Unified @ Unifier 2015