Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Earthdance 2007

Here is a short feature about Earthdance as it appears in the current issue of Drum (minus the weird edits someone at the magazine made). The party happens this coming Sunday, simultaneously all over the world. It's a great event that welcomes everyone. It could have been a very straight story, but I chose to have a bit of fun with it.


Live bands, dance music, market stalls and open arms; this is Earthdance 2007. LEE BEMROSE interrupted festival organisor RAF GIMELSTEIN’s breakfast to find out what makes this year’s party different to previous years.


I could start this story like everyone else and talk about how much Earthdance has grown each year, how it was started by Australian Chris Dekker, mention the number and diversity of countries it takes place etc etc, but I’m not going to.

I might mention all that stuff later, but right now what concerns me most is that Earthdance 2007 could well freak out the whales. And we have to ask ourselves: do we really want to deal with the repercussions of a world population of totally freaked out whales? Stay with me here...

At 10am local time on Sunday September 16 The Earthdance Prayer For Peace will take place. At the exact same moment at about 350 locations in more than 50 countries around the world, the same thing will be happening. The simultaneous global Prayer For Peace is at the heart of Earthdance and has been since its inception 10 years ago. However this year there will also be a global Om taking place above the surface of the waters as well as below the waters. The importance water plays in life on Earth is being celebrated with underwater speakers being placed beneath the surface of selected major waterways such as The Ganges, the Nile and the Mississippi and belting out a simultaneous “Ommmmmm...”

Whale 1: “What the hell was that?”
Whale 2: “No idea, but it was freaky. I am so outta here.”

Then again maybe the conversation will go like this:
Whale 1: “What the hell was that?”
Whale 2: “It’s the humans. Global Om. A good thing. Chill, dude, you’re so uptight.”

Depending on how you view things you might think the global Om is kooky or cool. This devout not-morning person attended last year’s prayer for peace and I happen to think it’s pretty cool.


What is also pretty cool is that Earthdance – taking place in Sydney Park in Petersham for the fourth year – is probably the best multi-stage dance party Sydney will see. Last year it pulled an estimated crowd of more than 20,000 punters from all walks of life, and with seven stages featuring live acts and DJs from all genres, Earthdance 2007 is set to be even bigger. And there’s no cover charge. That’s right – it’s free.

However, Festival director Rafael Gimelstein says that we should expect something a little different this year.

“This year we’re really re-designing the whole festival site. This year when you come into the festival you don’t walk into a dance party, you walk into a community festival. There’s live music, a kid’s area... I think this year you’ll see a big change in terms of getting the message out there. This year we’re really working on inviting families... there’s no glass and you can bring your dogs and run barefoot, there are eco-living workshops. We’re really not promoting the festival at all to the dance crowds because they are already aware of the festival. This year it’s about delivering the message to the community. It’s not a dance party as such, it’s a well-behaved community for everyone.”

If you’ve been in the past and danced your nuts off, don’t be put off by the open arms Earthdance is extending to the wider community; there will be lots of dance music, both live and of the DJ kind. The lineup includes Infusion, Rastawookie, Groovelands, Stick Figures, Deepchild, Ken Cloud & Simon Caldwell, Potbelleez, Basskleph and a whole lot more. Genres include rock, electro, reggae, house, techno, drum & bass and – the one that started it all - psytrance.

Earthdance is a charity event, this year raising money for Oasis Youth Support Network. It’s also a great opportunity to get the warm and fuzzies about humanity. Although numbers are down in Sydney during the prayer itself due to the relatively early time of day (elsewhere throughout the world, parties are brought to a stop for the global link up, thus ensuring maximum impact), there will be a reproduction of the link up on big screens at the close of the festival.

Whether or not the global link up during the prayer for peace or the global Om actually achieve anything, it is heartening to pause and realise that all around the world so many human beings are uniting to celebrate the good that we are capable of through music and dance.

Even if it is at the risk of scaring the crap out of the whales.

WHAT: Earthdance Global Dance for Peace.
WHEN & WHERE: Sydney Park, Petersham Sunday 16 September. Also in Perth and Melbourne.


Kathryn said...

Earthdance had a dome tent at Burning Man! Forgot to tell you. Wicked stuff. :-)

quick said...

Cool that Earthdance had a presence at Burning Man.

I'm kind of hoping that there will be a splinter psytrance Earthdance gig next year. More and More Earthdance just attracts trashbags who seem clueless about what it's all about.