Peace, Love, and Mother Nature: The Inaugural Friends of Nature Music Festival Goes With the Flow at Virginia Key
Last Veteran’s Day weekend, the inaugural Friends of Nature Music Festival was held at Miami’s historic Virginia Key Beach Park. With the purpose of saving the planet through the transformative power of live music, art, and comedy, the two-day eco-friendly festival brought together people from different walks of life to celebrate peace, love and the creative principles of mother nature.
Arobeta Owns the Night
On Saturday November 9th, torrential downpours faltered festivities forcing headliners Matisyahu and Cafe Tacvba to make cancellations and organizers to shut down the main stage. But, a little water didn’t stop local fan favorite Afrobeta from rocking the smaller stage. The homegrown Miami group owned the festival that night. They surprised the crowd with fun, pop music hits like their cover of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” making people dance in the rain. To celebrate the upcoming birthday of singer Cuci Amador (Cristy Garcia), the group ended their set with one of their most popular songs “Birthday Situation.” Cuci engaged the audience in a birthday sing along for “everyone who had a birthday this year.” Afrobeta’s performance made the night worthwhile for everyone who came out despite the rain.
On Sunday November 10th, sunshine made the festival’s purpose a reality, allowing everyone to come out to play in full force. Throughout the historic Virginia Key Beach Park, there was live music, painting, hula-hoop workshops, acro-yoga demonstrations, high-fashion circus performers, sound-healing tents, food trucks, political discussions and comedy. Everyone went with the flow, embracing peace, love, happiness, and the source of all creation, mother earth. Both stages were fully functional. Dub FX, one of Saturday’s performers, took the stage. Vanessa Fae, hoop dancer, fire performer, and entertainer gave hooping workshops. Lauranda Hook created one of kind fine art pieces outdoors. And, the Kikimora High Fashion Circus performed.
Moshka Family Arts Collective (http://mokshafamily.org)
It was no coincidence that the festival took place on Veteran’s Day weekend.
The relationship between nurturing the feminine principles of mother earth and rejecting the destruction of war was explored in artwork presented by the Moshka Family Arts Collective. The Moshka Family Arts Collective was selling prints of paintings such as Mark Henson’s “New Pioneers.” The image represents the dichotomy of war and peace, showing the destruction of the earth through modern wars on the left side and the nurturing of the earth through sustainability on the right side. By embracing feminine principles and revering mother earth through permaculture, one combats the evils of war, tyranny and destruction. Positive energy fights negative energy. The piece, according to Flash from The Moshka Family Arts Collective, depicts “everything that’s good on the right side and everything that’s bad on the left side.” The Moshka Family Arts Collective was also promoting their upcoming show at Art Basel in December.
Unity is Change (http://www.unityischange.org), a group that promotes love and harmony among all people in the community, set up a sound healing tent at the festival. Day and night, positive, healing vibrations were spread through sound waves. Festival participants played drums, tambourines, bongos, guitars, and didgeridoos in a circle around musicians. Everyone who passed through was welcome to pick up an instrument and play. The constant sound of drums resembled the earth’s heartbeat, brining people together in common appreciation of a universal language. A rendition of John Lennon’s song, “Imagine” captured the essence of the festival, spreading good vibes of peace and love all around.
Reclaim Your Power and Equality
R.Y.P.E. (Reclaim Your Power and Equality) https://www.facebook.com/ReclaimYourPowerEquality is a grassroots organization that is making a difference in Miami, bringing people together through community gardens in neighborhoods like Buena Vista and Midtown. Striving to create a world free of sexism, racism, homophobia, and violence, the predominantly feminist group promotes a reverence for the feminine principles associated with mother earth such as creativity, nurturing, and generosity. R.Y.P.E had an interactive mandala workshop at the Friends of Nature Music Festival to represent the flow of life, the interconnectedness of all living things, and the impermanence of everything in nature. Created with organic materials, the mandala consisted of hands-on contributions from festival goers that stopped to learn about R.Y.P.E. and the permaculture of community gardens. At the end of the festival, on Sunday night, R.Y.P.E members and festival organizers carried the mandala out to the sea, allowing the waves to wash away the creation, representing the impermanence of all living things and their inevitable return to the source of life.
Although the rain threatened to wash away all the fun, for a first-time festival that was ambitious beyond compare, the Friends of Nature Music Festival was a relative success, bringing much need positive energy to South Florida on the eve of a war commemorating holiday. Hopefully, the festival will continue to improve in the years to come, proving to everyone that where there is love there is light.