- HEADLINING: Ky-Mani Marley.
Have you lost your totem animal? Are your chakras unaligned? Been awhile since you unfolded in creative mysteries? If you answered, yes, yes and yes, then you should probably make plans to go to the Coalessence Festival, a three-day event held on the 1,500 acres surrounding Lake Leatherwood in Eureka Springs. “Three days of music, consciousness and health” is how the event is billed, and its goal, according to promoter Adrienne Shaunfield, is even more high-minded. “Namely, being aware of your body, mind and spirit and nurturing all three aspects to produce a higher standard of living.”
But for our uses, a “new age Woodstock” probably works just as well. Love is no longer all we need. Hippiedom is now ruled by a mishmash of Rastafarians, trance DJs, Eastern mysticists, raw foods experts, energy healers, laughing yogis and jam bands. And they're all making their way to Eureka Springs this weekend.
An expected audience of 3,000 will have opportunities to hear a diverse slate of music, which might, in some way, be called meditative; listen to speakers on topics like conscious evolution, quantum physics and Eastern prophecies, and take advantage of a “healing area,” with Thai massage and Reiki stations, and a “magical forest,” a half-mile trail illuminated by art, lights and multimedia.
Corey Call, a Northwest Arkansas-based promoter who's long been at the vanguard of the dance and electronic music scene in the state, said he came up with the idea for the festival as a bridge between his passion for meditation and health consciousness and music.
“I want a new venue for music. I'm tired of doing shows in bars. I want to promote healthy habits that move towards more creativity and more art and music for everybody.”
He's assembled an impressive line-up, many of whom are recognizable beyond the fringe. Bob Marley's son, Ky-Mani, seen in Central Arkansas recently as the opener for Van Halen, headlines with his hip-hopped reggae. From LA, Rabbit in the Moon specializes in psychedelic trance and elaborate, performance art style concerts; it's sure to be a big draw. DJ Spooky, who's created a new score to “Birth of a Nation,” produced Yoko Ono and recently released an album of remixes of Trojan Records reggae, also promises to be a highlight.
Like most big festivals, there are multiple stages and areas, but on the main stage at least, the schedule rotates between music and lecturers. Perhaps the biggest name among the speakers is Fred Alan Wolf, a physicist who's spent much of his career trying to link quantum physics and consciousness. His 1989 non-fiction book “Taking the Quantum Leap: The New Physics for Non-Scientists” won the National Book Award. John Major Jenkins is a researcher focused on reconstructing ancient Mayan cosmology. Visual artist Alex Grey, whose work has been on album covers of bands like Tool and the Beastie Boys and in Newsweek and on the Discovery channel, will both speak and paint along with performances throughout the weekend.
The festival kicks off on Friday at 3 p.m. and concludes on Sunday at 10 p.m. Camping is allowed. Tickets run from $28.21 to $107.10. Get more info at www.coalessencefest.com.