Sunday, 19 October 2014


Before breaking up for the summer break I presented my 'Context of Practice 3' presentation in which I outlined the theme and focus of my dissertation. 

The predominate themes the study will focus on are listed below;

  • Capitalism & Climate change.
  • Transformational festivals.
  • Counter-cultural networks. 

One of the main aspects the investigation focuses on the transformational festival movement. Therefore, to ensure that I am informed about the subject I am writing about I arranged to attend one of the most progressive transformational events in the world, Boom Festival in Portugal.


The focus of the study aims to cast some light on a relatively unknown culture while learning first hand what it is that makes these events potent atmospheres for participant transformation and the dissemination of counter-cultural ideologies.

From my preliminary research, I have not found any published books specifically reviewing the transformational festival movement. Therefore, before starting on the written aspect of the module, I thought it was essential to visit an event and experience the culture first hand. 


Information introducing the festival and the values that are practiced there are listed below, text is taken from Boom Festival website -
  • Boom is not only a festival, it is a state of mind. Inspired by the principles of Oneness, Peace, Creativity, Sustainability, Transcendence, Alternative Culture, Active Participation, Evolution and Love, it is a space where people from all over the world can converge to experience an alternative reality.
  • Boom is a festival dedicated to the Free Spirits from all over the world. It is the gathering of the global psychedelic tribe and of whoever feels the call to join in the celebrations! 
  • Boom is a weeklong unpredictable and unforgettable adventure. It takes place, every two years, during August Full Moon, on the shores of a magnificent lake in the sunny Portuguese inland and every one is invited!

  • An environmentally conscious event is a way to offer a concrete example that it is possible to live on this Planet in respect of Mother Earth and of one another. 
  • Such a concept is possible through a deep understanding of the cycles of life and humanity’s place within these cycles. 
  • Permaculture is a brilliant example of how such understanding can be turned into practice.
  • Boom’s pioneering Environmental Program applies the principles of Permaculture to every single aspect of the Festival production. 
  • Boom also widely promotes knowledge and practices of sustainability through lectures, workshops and… practical example!


Some of the specifics of Boom Festivals pioneering environmental program are listed below.
  • 100% compost toilets (still to this day the only large event in the world to reach this result!).
  • 100% on-site water treatment facilities.
  • Off-the-grid energy solution
  • Bio-construction.
  • Permaculture gardens.
  • Vegetable oil for the generators.
  • These are just a few of the ground breaking projects that have granted Boom the most prestigious international prizes in environmental efficiency.

Two of the main philosophies intrinsic to the festival is radical inclusion and attendant participation, values that aim to make everyone feel comfortable and unconditionally accepted.

  • Since its beginning in 1997, Boom is the home of the global nomadic tribe. 
  • Since then, it has grown organically by word of mouth into an incredibly culturally diverse festival, attracting people from 116 nationalities (2012).
  • Boom is the celebration of the Earth’s multicolored Oneness. EVERY ONE is invited and EVERY ONE is called to consciously co-create a positive reality of Love and Peace, for us and for the next generations.

  • At Boom music is sacred. 
  • The dancefloors are temples where to transcend ordinary states of perception and the limitations of our egos. 
  • Through dance and music, we can reconnect to our own individual divine essence, while in synch with the beating heart of the whole tribe. All in One!
  • Scattered across four stages, music at Boom is as diverse as it gets: electronic, acoustic, classic, any style is welcome and represented in a different area.
  • Boom started as a psytrance festival and has developed into an inclusive gathering, unveiling the surprising diversity of quality underground soundscapes.
  • Psytrance culture remains one of the inspiring sources of Boom's vision and intention. 


  • Boom’s ultimate aim is to facilitate individual and collective transformation.
  • The Boom experience has been conceived to activate the vital force directing every being towards the fulfillment of its highest potential. 
  • To reach this ambitious goal, Boom relies on the continuous exchange of radically innovative knowledge and practices by countless Boomers, musicians, artists, teachers, visionaries, healers, farmers, ecologists, wisdom keepers, researchers, scientists, activists


  • Besides the music stages and the countless art installations scattered all over the site, the other areas where Boom channels transformation are the Liminal Village, the Healing Area and the Visionary Art Museum. 
  • Here our hearts, bodies and minds can receive a full download of information through workshops, presentations, rituals and meditations Check the single areas’ pages for more details.
  • Boom is an autonomous zone of cognitive liberty and therefore is and will always be free from corporate sponsorship and logos. 
  • Boom is funded by the financial support of the thousands of people that buy the tickets and come to the festival.
  • Boom does not believe in VIP areas and special treatments, since every Boomer is a VIP! 
  • Boom adheres to the principle of ’thinking outside the box’, for the co-creation of novel ways of viewing reality and acting for its evolutionary unfolding.


While at the event I collected numerous pieces of printed material, some was useful because of its content and other aspects were useful due to their aesthetic values.

One of the most useful printed items I collected while at the event was undoubtedly the Boom Festival newspaper, the Dharma Dragon. 

The newspaper included information on various parts of the festival and has an overarching focus on the various aspects of Booms environmental program, information which all has relevance to the written aspects of my dissertation.  

  • The spread displayed below had infographics which helped to communicate the success of the various sustainable technologies in place at the event. 


At Boom Festival that also have an established lecture program that runs throughout the events duration and has its own independent areas.  

While attending the festival I was lucky enough to attend a number of Lectures each of which was recorded and later transcribed so the information discussed could be used within my dissertation. 

There were three main lectures that I recorded and later transcribed as part of my primary research, each of which is listed below with a short introduction and link to the transcribed version. 

Unfortunately, I also attended around three additional lectures which also had relevant to the topics discussed within my dissertation. However, I encountered some formatting problems with the sound recording device and was unfortunately unable to access the recordings.  


Lecture by Ivan Sawyer, reviewing the emerging Network of Eco-villages, Permaculture centres and Festivals in Central and South America 

Transcribed lecture link - LINK


Lecture by Andre Soares, one of the founders of Boom Festival’s environmental program reviewing sustainability at large scale events. 

Transcribed lecture link - LINK


Lecture by the founders of three of the most innovative transformational festivals currently in existence, Burning Man, Boom Festival and Fusion Festival. In the lecture, Harley DuBois, Diogo Ruivo and Eule discuss the history of their events and what the future holds for transformational festivals

Transcribed lecture link - LINK


While at the event I also formed a body of images that documented the various aspects of the event that I encountered. 




The second body of images were taken at the Boom after party, a much smaller event called 'Utopia' that was held in a different, much greener part of Portugal. 


At the information points dotted around the festival there was infographic billboards that educated attendants about the Boom environmental program and its current successes. 



The composting toilet systems were used almost exclusively, during my time at both events I did not see one chemical based toilet. 


Throughout the festival, the Boom team have made a commitment to using bioconstruction methods when creating the various stages and structured found around the festival. Quick growing natural material such as Bamboo is used as it is a strong, robust material with little environmental impact associated with its use. 


Additional to the various visionary art spaces which featured beautiful painting from some of the worlds most progressive visionary artists, Boom also featured a lot of upcycled and natural art. Such installations are coherent with Booms environmental focus and illustrates how art can be created with no environmental impact. 

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