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Issue 15










At this very moment...

you are unaware that there is a festival going on, most likely in the other side of the world.

This magazine allows you to check in with new exciting surroundings, landscape, people, and culture. FESTIVE can give you an experience that deepens a sense of discovery through festivals. It is for the cultural curious, who are not afraid to lose themselves, find themselves, and be themselves in an adventure through a living human museum. FESTIVE is for those who want to connect to the world and discover something about yourself.

March / April  5

CONTENTS March & April 2015


40 Las Fallas Valencia, Spain





Beltane Fire Festival

Dedougou, Burkina Faso

Edinburgh, Scotland

20 Semana Santa Antigua, Guatemala

March / April  7

CULTURAL 34  Holi Festival of Colors The streets are awash with pigment in an effort to welcome in spring and break down social barriers. March 6, 2015

36  Rouketopolemos Two Greek churches fire tens of thousands of rockets at each other. March 18, 2015

38  BaliSpirit Festival A festival where you are built-up rather than burntout and also energize you for many months to come. March 31, 2015

44   Naghol Land Diving In a terrifying appeasement to the gods and a bold display of virility. April 2, 2015

52   Kanamara Matsuri While some societies hide their fertile bits, Japan worships them, with a parade and temple! April 5, 2015

57  Thrissur Elephant Festival 30+ colorfully costumed elephants parading on their way to the Vadakkunnathan temple. April 28, 2015

64 Walpurgisnacht A spring festival with a touch of witchcraft, welcoming the coming season. April 30, 2015

70 AfrikaBurn Tankwa Karoo, South Africa April 27, 2015



50 BUKU Music & Art Project New Orleans, Louisiana March 15, 2016


MUSIC 42  Byron Bay Bluesfest Your share of bongo drums, sarongs and dreadlocks, in the parks and on the beaches of the area.

March 15, 2015

43  Splashy Fen South Africa’s longest running outdoor music festival promoting local music over a four-day Easter long weekend.

April 2, 2015

46   Snowbombing Winter sports combine with music performances and themed parties in some unexpected yet fantastic locations.

April 6, 2015

48   One Spark Experience crowdfunding in-person at a 20-square-block, multi-venue gallery.

April 8, 2015

54  Coachella Diehard music fans transform the desert of SoCal into an oasis of harmony, art, and fun in the sun.

April 10, 2015

56  Lucidity A celebration of open minds, moving bodies, and mental expansion.

April 10, 2015

63  Tortuga Music Festival A multi-day, multi-stage music festival featuring some of the biggest names in country, rock and roots music.

April 11, 2015

66  SunFest Gather for art, conch fritters and rum boats to tune of rock, reggae and country.

April 29, 2015

March / April  11


There have been many waves of Beltane festivals, each in its own generation with a different facet, but all saying “We Need To Celebrate” Written by Margaret Bennet | Illustration by Natasa U. March / April  13

nspired by the ancient Gaelic festival of Beltane, which began on the evening before 1 May and marked the beginning of summer. The modern festival was started in 1988 by a small group of enthusiasts including the musical collective Test Dept, with academic support from the School of Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Since then the festival has grown, and now involves over 300 voluntary collaborators and performers with available tickets often selling out. While the festival draws on a variety of historical, mythological and literary influences, the organizers do not claim it to be anything other than a modern celebration of Beltane, evolving with its participants. The current Beltane was started in 1988 by a small group of enthusiasts including Angus Farquhar of the musical collective Test Dept., choreographer Lindsay John, and dancers from Laban, as well as academics from the School of Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh. The event was intended as a celebration of traditional rituals as a local manifestation of 14   FESTIVE

an international spirit. Originally intended to take place on Arthur’s Seat, the home of earlier Edinburgh Beltane celebrations, for practical reasons the location was moved to Calton Hill. Choreography, iconography and performance were molded by the originators’ research into

by word of mouth or by attending one of the advertised open meetings held early in the year. Senior performers and artists in the society help others through workshops with aspects of event production, prop construction, character performance techniques, team building, per-

“The most important element is the lighting of Beltane fires on the first of May, to recall the growing power of the sun and provide an opportunity to cleanse and renew the conditions of a community.” historical accounts of Beltane and their own influences, for example, drumming, ritual dance and performance by the Testing Department. The Beltane Fire Society, a registered charity which runs the festival, is managed by a democratically elected voluntary committee, and all the performers are volunteers who either join

cussion skills and the health and safety considerations involved. As a community event, each year the performance has evolved as new people bring their own influences and directions. The core narrative remains by and large the same though additional elements have been added over time for

Photo by David Monteith-Hodge

A Red performer carries a purified flame before the May Queen arrives.

theatrical, ritual, and practical reasons. Originally an event with a core of a dozen performers and a few hundred audience, the event has grown to several hundred performers and over ten thousand audience. Key characters within the performance are maintained, though reinterpreted by their performers, and additional participants incorporated each year of the festival. Originally, the festival was free and only lightly stewarded, however, as the event has grown in popularity, due to the capacity of the hill, funding requirements, and Edinburgh Council requests, the festival has in recent years moved to being a ticketed event. To the pastoral Celtic people’s of Europe the changing pattern of the seasons was a matter of life and death, and marking these changes key moments in the life of the community. Beltane,

“bright fire”, was one such marker celebrated in various forms across Ireland, Scotland and Man as the starting point of summer. A celebration of the time of light and growth to come, Beltane was associated with a variety of practices, from the display of fresh greenery to the baking of Beltane bannocks. Perhaps the most important element, however, was the lighting of Beltane fires on the first of May, which would recall the growing power of the sun and provide an opportunity to cleanse and renew the conditions of a community. Both humans and their animals had spent the dark months indoors. In Scotland, the lighting of Beltane fires, round which cattle were drive, over which brave souls danced and leapt, would survive into modern times, although a process of slow decline saw towns and villages slowly abandon the practice in the nineteenth century. The last Beltane fire recorded

in Helmsdale took place in 1820. In the middle years of the century the fires of Fife spluttered out, and by the 1870s they would go unlit in the Shetland Isles. By the start of the twentieth century, Edinburgh, which had for time immemorial seen beacons lit on Arthur’s Seat, ceased such public Beltane celebrations. In 1988 Edinburgh’s Beltane fires were brought to life once more, led by Angus Farquhar, then of industrial band Test Dept, who took part in the first Beltane performance, now of NVA. The inspiration here was the idea of recreating a sense of community and an appreciation of the cyclical nature of the seasons and our connection to the environment. With the aid of choreographer Lindsay John and a folklorist Margaret Bennet of Edinburgh University’s School of Scottish Studies, this first performance drew on existing folk traditions surrounding Beltane to create a modern celebration of the festival which has continued to grow and evolve as the years have went by. This first modern Beltane saw only five performers take to Calton Hill, watched by an audience of fifty to a hundred people. Within five years this had grown to several hundred performers and three thousand audience members, during which time the Society came into place to support the continuation of the festival. While Arthur’s Seat had traditionally been the location for Edinburgh’s Beltane celebrations, at the time of the planning of the ‘new’ Beltane Festival a location was needed that was more accessible and central, while still maintaining an association with nature and the environment. Calton Hill also at that time had a bad reputation relating to sex and drugs and was a ‘no go’ area of the city, and part of the aim was to ‘reclaim’ that space for the local community through our celebrations. As the Beltane Fire Festival has grown and developed, change has been inevitable. In 1992, March / April  15

Angus Farquhar organized his last Beltane, and the following year the Beltane Fire Society formed to take on his mantle. By 1999, audience numbers had reached ten thousand, and in 2001 the Festival took on its first paid production manager to co-ordinate the growing event, which remains one of the few paid roles in an otherwise volunteer organization. Growing costs, attendance numbers and council licensing requirements meant that in 2004 the decision was made for the previously free event to be ticketed for the first time. An admission charge did little to effect the festival’s popularity, however, and in 2004 the event sold out for the first time with an audience of twelve thousand. In recent years, the audience has varied between six and twelve thousand people, experiencing a cast of around three hundred performers, plus support groups, technicians and production “The presentation may leave you figuratively groups. As “Beltin the dark regarding what is being portrayed, ane” has got bigger, but there is also a chance you may find yourself it also expanded out literally there too.” with the night itself, part of a cultural milieu which helped to spawn several performance groups which would move beyond the bounds of Beltane. Most notable was the POOKa, a performing arts charity which for many years had a symbiotic relationship with the festival, sharing personnel, headquarters and, in its early years, the name “Beltane Productions”. The charitable aims of the Society, which in part seeks to raise awareness of the Quarter Days of the Scottish seasonal calendar, have also expanded its own performances to mark these complementary festivals. While the festivals of Imbolc and Lugnasadh have generally been small, informal affairs for members of the society, the most established alternate celebration is Samhuinn – 31st October – when the coming of winter is marked by a public procession down the Royal Mile. 16   FESTIVE

Photo by Martin Lambie

Photos by Danny William

Despite these changes, BFS remains a volunteer-run community charity, with the performance on the night itself at its core. And, while the performance itself has grown and changed, it has firmly retained key elements – the procession of the May Queen, the death and rebirth of Green Man, the lighting of the bonfire, which provide a backbone of continuity while allowing a huge amount of flexibility within each group and each character as to how they wish to engage with and shape the story of our Festival. The Beltane fires have returned to Edinburgh in a vibrant, modern tradition which has become a world-renowned spectacle. Beltane Fire Festival is presented as ‘investigative theatre’ set outdoors and with no physical curtains or barriers. We advertise a ‘doors open’ time along with an approximation of when the performance will begin (around 9.30pm, also known as ‘common twilight’) and of course a set time for the public to leave Calton Hill too, but that is as much of a nod to traditional theatre as you’ll find. There are few barriers between the audience and performers which offers up opportunity for an immersive experience. It is one where you are likely to come face-to-face with one of our colourful characters, or can step back and marvel at the scale of a production wrought in only two months by around three hundred volunteers. The presentation may leave you figuratively in the dark regarding what is being portrayed, but there is also a chance you may find yourself literally there too. One suggestion

is to ‘head to the high ground and then follow the sound of drumming’. If you haven’t experienced the Festival you’ll likely have deduced that there is no central point where everything is performed, rather there are multiple points of focus that are spread around the marvellous public parkland on Calton Hill. A large part of the story follows the Procession of the May Queen around the Hill, but there are also counter-performances which have evolved to bring balance to the darker parts of the park. (Again: follow the sound of the drums.) The Procession’s presence awakens one group after another, each then continuing to play a part throughout the evening; the Hill comes alive, mirroring the earth’s awakening through Spring. In general we shy away from the use of actual staging as that presents an instant barrier between performance and witness. That’s not an exclusive rule however, as both of the major ‘set piece’ performances utilize staging to help balance their sheer scale. The first is during the spectacular opening sequence at the National Monument (known lovingly as The Acropolis) and the second during the penultimate event of the evening: The Death and Rebirth of the Green Man. In other words we attempt to match the tool to the job.Beltane Fire Festival is a continuous performance lasting over three hours. Attendees have the opportunity to create their own breaks in which to step back and raise a toast to the onset of Summer.

Traveling Essentials Airport: The closest airport to the festival site is Edinburgh International Airport (EDI) . From there, grab a cab to Edinburgh. The event takes place at Calton Hill, one of the city’s main hills, set right in the city center. Hotels across town are plentiful, and there’s no trouble getting around town Sight-Seeing: Edinburgh blends the cobbled streets of its Old Town with its New Town’s beautiful Georgian avenues. Don’t give up a chance to walk around and find more reasons to celebrate the season, especially in the city’s abundant gardens. Layer up: While Beltane is the celebration for the coming of summer, you’re not likely to get any summery weather at the end of April in Scotland. Dress for the event if you prefer, but bring a jacket in case you get cold.

Festival Stats Crowd Attendees Participation Preparation Transformation

March / April  17



Grandiose You don’t have to be religious to experience Semana Santa. The Holy Week leading up to Easter casts a violet-colored veil over Antigua, Guatemala, celebrating the transformation, Passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. by Porter Yates

Photo by Ellen Glo 20   FESTIVE

H omage

March / April  21

The Origins

Semana Santa “Easter Week” in Antigua Guatemala is an event worthy of seeing; it is a grandiose homage to Jesus’ image and its ‘via-crusis’ that is reflected in the ‘procesiones’ (processions) with images made artistically by Guatemalan artisans. It is also part of this tradition, the creation of the beautiful Alfombras (carpets) made with flowers of all kind and colored sawdust that adorn the different streets of Antigua Guatemala, all this it is a work of art. Holy Week in Antigua Guatemala is a reflection of the religious fervor brought behind from Spain five hundred years ago. The origins came from Spanish settlers, all faithful Catholics, who came to settle in Guatemala. The first Semana Santas were held in Santiago de los Caballeros (Antigua in its heyday), which was the capital city at the time. It wasn’t until later that the processions involved floats, funeral marches, banners , candles and the elaborate carpets. You don’t have to be religious to experience Semana Santa . From the elaborately made carpets to the float processions, Semana Santa will make a believer out of you, even if it’s only in the magic of festivals. Semana Santa celebrations take place annually the week before Easter, the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The festival typically commences on Palm Sunday, one week before Easter, and goes through the week until Good Friday, when devotees remember the Passion of Christ, the suffering Jesus endured on the cross and the solemn anniversary of his death. Most Holy Weeks end on Holy Saturday, a day of vigil in anticipation of the resurrection. Semana Santa celebrations are predominantly Catholic and celebrated in Latin countries that almost exclusively identify with this religion. In Guatemala, there are many fusions between lo-

Photo by Ellen Glo


cal beliefs, the Mayans and Catholicism, and the farther you travel into the mountains, the more you’ll see the mix. Outside of Guatemala there are several big Semana Santa celebrations. Perhaps the most famous is in Trapani, Italy, where The Procession of the Mysteries of Trapani is one the oldest-running religious ceremonies of Europe. This reenactment of the Passion of Christ uses large wooden floats and can go on for more than 16 hours. In Spain, Seville has the most memorable celebration with purple-robed penitents carrying life-sized plaster sculptures through the streets.

festivities, which culminate on Good Friday – the day of Jesus’ death. The day long drama begins early in the morning, when preparations are made for the mock trial and sentencing of Christ. Some residents dress as Roman soldiers, Pontius Pilate, and other characters in the story. As we experienced in Guatemala, the church community goes to great lengths decorating and preparing for the symbolic tribute to the life and death of Jesus. This memorial week draws attention and reverence from all levels of society, and thousands gather to experience the unique atmosphere. In 1524 the conquerors had barely set foot in Guatemala when they introduced their

“You can hear the ominous booming music and smell incense of the procession long before the carriers and the float arrive.” Easter Week

The week begins with Palm Sunday, which commemorates Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem when people placed palm branches in his path. Some Christian denominations, including the Catholic Church, bless palm fronds and give them to the congregation during Palm Sunday services Later in the week, Maudy Thursday (or Holy Thursday) commemorates the Last Supper. This was the last night Jesus spent with his Apostles before his crucifixion and death. The act of Jesus washing the feet of his Apostles was a symbolically important occurrence on this evening. In Latin America, many Catholic services on Holy Thursday will include a reenactment in which a high-ranking priest washes the feet of 12 common people in representation of the 12 apostles. On the following day, known as Good Friday, we were lucky enough to visit the beautiful Guatemalan town of Antigua. Traditional processions are a big focus of Holy Week

traditions for Lent and Semana Santa from Spain. These have evolved over the centuries and Antigua recently surpassed Spain as having the largest celebration in the world today! The faithful visit sagrarios in seven churches between 6 p.m. and midnight on Maundy Thursday. This pilgrimage commemorates Jesus’ journey from the Last Supper to crucifixion. These are held at all of the churches,

Carved from solid wood by local Guatemalan artists

Sculptures date back to the 16th century

Weighs up to 8,000 pounds and carried by 100 purple-clad men

March / April  23 25

Spiritual Activities and Church Participation Every Friday of Lent: Way of the Cross (Vía crusis) from the Church of San Francisco to El Calvario (Santo Hermano Pedro used to do this to remember the passion of Christ. On Friday of Dolores: Vía crusis of Silence, leaving from the Church of San Francisco to El Calvario at 3:00am, in which participates more than 500 people. Saturday de Ramos: Vía crusis of Silence from the Church of San Francisco to El Calvario, at 5:00 am, in which only women participate. Sunday of Ramos: The Church commemorates the triumphal entry and passion of Jesus and the branches are blessed.

Holy Monday to Holy Thursday: In the San Francisco Church, the Franciscan Friars pray the morning prayers before the Holy Mass at 6:30am. Holy Thursday: In every church, takes place the institution of the Eucharist at 4:00 or 5:00pm, and after the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament is exposed in a richly decorated altar. Holy Friday: At 3:00 pm, the Church celebrates the adoration of the Cross Saturday de Gloria: All the churches celebrate at 10:00pm the Resurrection of Jesus Easter Sunday: Churches celebrate Holy Mass celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus.

Translation: And that is how God loved the world.


and many Guatemalan families visit more than one church that evening. Velaciones, or holy vigils, take place in the churches every Friday for the Sunday processions and many other days in preparation for the larger processions. The processional figure is placed on display in the church, surrounded by ornate decorations created just for the day. These are truly impressive and are all works of art.


During Holy Week, Antigua Guatemala hosts the most beautiful religious celebration in the America, when huge processions wind their way through the town’s streets. The processions are of a religious theme depicting the last days of Christ. The processions, which re-enact Christ’s last days in Jerusalem, are attended by tens of thousands, including throngs of visitors from around the world. Street vendors had already started selling delectable breakfast treats, including enchiladas, warm tortillas, beans, rice, grilled meats and sweets. And there was an endless supply of toys and colorful balloons for the children. The processions consist of big floats, or andas, bearing statues of Christ with a cross, that are carried by hundreds of purple-robed men, commonly called Cucuruchos. Actually, the celebration begins on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, and reaches its climax on Good Friday, when Antigua streets are thronged with processions and reverent spectator. A float with the Virgin Mary Follows by women dressed in black clothing. The processions move slowly through Antigua cobblestone streets, the feet of the bearers cushioned in the sawdust carpets, which are destroyed as the procession passes over. Hundreds of Antigua residents volunteer to usher huge wooden floats throughout the city streets. You can hear the ominous booming music and smell incense of the procession long

Photos by Oscar de León Zambrano

Homeowners take great pride in painting their homes for the processions.

March / April  25

There is no carpet competition—all carpets are of equal importance and made from the heart.


March / April  27

before the carriers and the float arrive. Carriers will carry the float for a block and then a new group will take their turn.


In order to be chosen to carry one of the floats, or andas, you must register at least 2 years in advance. The cucuruchos take turns carrying the float based upon their shoulder height to keep the float balanced. The massive wooden floats can weigh up to 7,000 pounds, so balance is crucial. Many of the sculptures used during Semana Santa date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, with some carved by local Guatemalan artists. The processions are a very moving experience as the church grieves the death of Christ and remembers his life of humble service. In a post-colonial culture of persistent suffering and turmoil, these processions remind residents of a divine solidarity amidst the struggles of this world. The theme of the processions is The Passion, or the last days of Jesus’ life. Floats depicting Christ carrying the cross are carried by hundreds of purple-robed men called cucuruchos. The purple represents penitence, and the entire procession is a symbol of collective sorrow for their sins. According to longtime San Bartolo resident Gabriel López Corado, also known as Don Gabo,

the first procession took place around 1902. “It started out with only a handful of people because the parish was very poor,” he explained. He continues in pride, “Today, thousands pay just for the privilege of carrying the float that bears the Fallen Christ. The money then goes to the committee that organizes religious activities, to help fund what has now become an internationally renowned event.”

Spectacular Carpets

Besides the processions, there is also another relevant activity in Holy Week in Antigua Guatemala. This place is famous for its spectacular carpets tradition (alfombras de Acerrin). The visitors enjoy walking on the streets of Antigua Guatemala not only to see the processions, but also to participate in the detailed elaboration of these colorful carpets to adorn the processional route. Homeowners take great pride in painting

“Some of the designers have been creating Holy Week carpets for decades and come from several generations’ worth of artists.” their homes for the processions. That means the houses are bright and cheerful, with fresh new colors, just in time for everyone to see them as they walk with the processions. The parade route is marked by ornate carpets created exclusively for Semana Santa. These elaborate carpets are part of a tradition that dates back to the colonial occupation of Guatemala. Some of the designers have been creating Holy Week carpets for decades and come from several generations’ worth of artists. Carpets are made weeks, even months in advance and consist of flowers, pines, fruits, and sawdust dyed in a rainbow of colors including purple, green, blue, red, yellow, and black. Bougainvillea, chrysanthemums, roses, and local pine needles are woven into designs. Carpets run up to 20 meters long and either adorn the processional route or are used for church vigils. In 28   FESTIVE

Guatemala, there is a special emphasis on natural art, specifically sawdust rugs or alfombras. Mass amounts of sawdust is dyed into a variety of vibrant colors. Using large stencils, the sawdust is intricately arranged on city streets during Semana Santa to blanket the path of the regular processions.Church vigils are the most solemn events of Semana Santa and usually depict a Passion scene; people come and pay silent respects throughout the day. At the foot of the altars or tableaus, you’ll notice one of the aforementioned carpets as well as numerous offerings left by patrons including flowers, fruits and candles. Come in the morning for a more peaceful and reverent experience. The elaborate rugs take hours if not days to create. In fact, many work throughout the night to prepare for Good Friday’s grand processions. The rug construction is planned so that the carpets are finished just before the procession arrives. There are two types of carpets that are made during Easter Week in Antigua Guatemala: The

Photos by Oscar de León Zambrano

Traveling Essentials carpets along the processional route, made by residents who invite friends and family to assist them, and the carpets in the churches that are made for the holy vigils by the brotherhoods. they made cardboard molds of creative figures to use when making the carpets, made of sawdust, sand, lime, and other materials, depending on the design of the carpet. Sawdust is then collected and dyed in different colors. Favorite colors are purple, green, blue, red, yellow and black. Flowers such as bougainvillea, chrysanthemums, carnations, roses and other native plants and pine needles are also used. It takes to walk the streets all night, and is one of the main processions that walk in one of the longest carpet, that measures 20 meters. On Good Friday the streets of Antigua Guatemala are covered with natural, aromatic carpets of flowers, pines, clover and fruits, which the residents put together and place in front of their homes. There are all kinds and shapes. Some are very long, even up to a kilometer, with colo-

nial, Mayan, Roman or other original designs, and are made during the 24 hours prior to the procession. If more than one procession goes down a street a new carpet is made for each procession. Preparations for the carpets begin weeks, sometimes months, ahead. Carpets are started the day before the procession so that the carpets are finished just before the carriers of the float arrive to look its best. The overall vibe of Holy Week is welcoming and inclusive. As with any cultural expression, your respectful and unobtrusive presence will grant you access and good graces from the locals. Remember to be respectful , this is a holy holiday after all.

Plan in Advance: Antigua does not have a huge supply of hotel rooms, so book your rooms as far in advance as possible. Airport: Fly into Guatemala City’s La Aurora International Airport (GUA). If you arrive late at night, you may consider booking a hotel that offers shuttle service from the airport to Antigua. The drive is usually about an hour. Buses, rental cars and taxis are also available. Sight-Seeing: If you have extra time, visit beautiful Lake Atitlan and the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal. Banks: Most are located near the central park. Banco Quetzal appears to give the best exchange rate. Quetzals are the currency. Bring your passport. (Open: Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat 9 a.m.-1 p.m.) ATMS are available, however remain vigilant of your surroundings when using them. Attire: 70 degree weather calls for hats, walking shoes, and sunscreen.

Festival Stats Crowd Attendees Participation Preparation Transformation

March / April  29




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FESTIVE Magazine  

At this very moment, you are unaware that there is a festival going on, most likely in the other side of the world. This magazine allows y...

FESTIVE Magazine  

At this very moment, you are unaware that there is a festival going on, most likely in the other side of the world. This magazine allows y...