Dancing through Transformational Music Festivals: .festival timespaces: Shambhala, Astral Harvest,

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Transcript of Dancing through Transformational Music Festivals: .festival timespaces: Shambhala, Astral Harvest,

  • Dancing through Transformational Music Festivals:

    Playing with Leisure and Art

    by

    Kelci Lyn Mohr

    A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

    Master of Arts

    in

    Recreation and Leisure Studies

    Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation

    University of Alberta

    Kelci Lyn Mohr, 2017

  • ii

    Abstract

    This exploratory work investigates the transformational festival, a contemporary form of

    celebratory leisure that revolves around music, the arts, community, and co-creativity. By

    integrating interpretative phenomenological analysis with methods from arts-based

    research, critical ethnography, and storytelling, I seek to understand how life-changing

    processes may be enabled or supported through the construction of three particular

    festival timespaces: Shambhala, Astral Harvest, and Intention Alberta. The research is

    focused on a group of festival goers who consider these kinds of events important for their

    leisure lives and their greater (trans)personal development. This work queries how

    transformational festivals are perceived, experienced, and why they might be meaningful

    for this group. It affirms that people are seeking community, ecstatic rituals, and spiritual

    elements within festivals, and suggests the importance of adding transpersonal

    considerations to current leisure discourses that focus on individual social-psychological

    interactions. The interdisciplinary and creative nature of the project challenges dominant

    metanarratives by adding alternative accounts of how people are enriching their lives

    through leisure experiences on the margins of awareness in academia and normative

    society.

  • iii

    Preface

    This thesis is an original work by Kelci Mohr. No part of this thesis has been previously

    published. The research projects, of which this thesis is a part, received research ethics

    approval from the University of Alberta Research Ethics Board, Project Name

    Transformational electronic music festivals: Making space for leisure and art, No.

    Pro00057226, 2015, and Project Name Imagining alternative leisure spaces, No.

    Pro00040832, 2013 (Mohr, 2013).

  • iv

    Acknowledgements

    I owe a deep debt of gratitude to my supervisor, Dr. Karen Fox, for her mentorship during

    the creation of this thesis. I am equally thankful for the collective wisdom and invaluable

    contributions of my committee members: Dr. Michael MacDonald, Dr. Ara Parker, and Dr.

    Scott Smallwood. Finally, I could not have done this work without the support of my

    friends, my festival community, and my family. Thank you for sustaining me on a truly

    transformative adventure.

  • v

    Table of Contents

    Chapter 1: Introduction ......................................................................................................... 1

    1.1: Research questions ........................................................................................................................... 2

    1.2: Research relevance ........................................................................................................................... 4

    1.3: What are transformational festivals? ........................................................................................ 6

    Chapter 2: Literature review ............................................................................................. 10

    2.1: Context and background on festivals ..................................................................................... 10

    2.2: Ecstasy, drugs, and art in festival cultures ........................................................................... 15

    2.3: Leisure studies and festivals ...................................................................................................... 20

    Chapter 3: Methodological & theoretical foundations ............................................. 22

    3.1: Interpretative phenomenological analysis........................................................................... 22

    3.2: RhizomEthnography ..................................................................................................................... 28

    3.3: Theoretical dimensions ............................................................................................................... 28

    3.4: Bricolage ............................................................................................................................................ 32

    3.5: Arts-based research ...................................................................................................................... 33

    Chapter 4: Research methods .................................................................................................. 36

    4.1: Festival destinations ..................................................................................................................... 36

    4.2: Description of art process ........................................................................................................... 37

    4.3: Participants....................................................................................................................................... 39

    4.4: Astral Harvest festival Travel report .................................................................................. 39

    4.5: Shambhala festival Travel report ......................................................................................... 40

  • vi

    4.6: Additional data wellsprings ....................................................................................................... 41

    4.6.1: Intention Alberta festival ............................................................................................. 42

    Chapters 5, 6, & 7: The festivals ....................................................................................... 44

    Chapter 5, Part 1: Shambhala Music Festival ............................................................... 45

    5.1.1: Music-dance rhythms ................................................................................................................ 46

    5.1.2: Supportive infrastructure ....................................................................................................... 48

    5.1.3: Art, workshops, and ceremony ............................................................................................. 49

    Chapter 5, Part 2: Tales from Shambhala Festival ..................................................... 52

    Chapter 5, Part 3: Discussion of Shambhala Festival ................................................ 59

    Chapter 6, Part 1: Astral Harvest Music and Arts Festival ...................................... 66

    6.1.1: Music-dance rhythms ................................................................................................................ 68

    6.1.2: Workshops, art, and ceremony ............................................................................................. 69

    6.1.3: Families and children ................................................................................................................ 71

    6.1.4: Supportive infrastructure ....................................................................................................... 71

    Chapter 6, Part 2: Tales from Astral Harvest Festival .............................................. 73

    Chapter 6, Part 3: Discussion of Astral Harvest Festival ......................................... 81

    Chapter 7, Part 1: Intention Alberta Festival ............................................................... 89

    7.1.1: Families and children ................................................................................................................ 90

    7.1.2: Workshops and art ..................................................................................................................... 91

    7.1.3: Music-dance rhythms, ritual, and ceremony.................................................................... 91

    7.1.4: Supportive infrastructure ....................................................................................................... 93

  • vii

    Chapter 7, Part 2: A Poem from Intention Festival .................................................... 94

    Chapter 7, Part 3: Discussion of Intention Festival ................................................... 98

    Chapter 8: Closing thoughts ............................................................................................. 105

    References ............................................................................................................................. 111

    List of Photographs

    1. The Living Room stage during DJ Pumpkins set, Shambhala Music Festival (2014)

    Credit: Luke GS Art and Photography (www.lukegs.com)

    2. Artist performance at Interstellevator main stage, Astral Harvest festival (2013)

    Credit: Luke GS Art and Photography (www.lukegs.com)

    3. The Yoga of Bass workshop at Interstellevator main stage, Astral Harvest festival (2013)

    Credit: Luke GS Art and Photography (www.lukegs.com)

    4. Village stage, Shambhala Music Festival (2014)

    Credit: Luke GS Art and Photography (www.lukegs.com)

    5. Hoop dancer at Village stage, Shambhala Music Festival (2014)

    Credit: Luke GS Art and Photography (www.lukegs.com)

    6. Morning grou