Located just South of Santa Fe, New Mexico lies a rural farming valley. In that valley is a living history museum called El Rancho De Las Golondrinas. The museum has been opened since 1972, but 44 years later, 2016 Unify Fest brought together a tribe, to celebrate many things, and pray for others.
"Original colonial buildings on the site date from the early 1700s. In addition, historic buildings from other parts of northern New Mexico have been reconstructed at Las Golondrinas. Villagers clothed in the styles of the times show how life was lived on the frontier in early New Mexico." UNIFY FEST
The event was focused on it being a sober festival. What this meant was that no alcohol was being sold at the venue, and because this was a family filled festival, I didn't see anyone walking around and being incoherent of other peoples feelings and space. I like to add that for me, it was nice not see anyone coming out of a K-hole, or any ambulances arriving on scene.
Unify testifies its event to be "a transformational festival dedicated to leaving the land better than we found it". This was no joke. I talked to a blacksmith named Bill, while he was there to show how to shape metals into objects with his man made ovens in his shop, he told me that he has seen many people at this festival pick up trash from the festivals before.
The ranch was so wide spread, it had so many things to offer. There was a space to learn how to become a "Tanner", where you could learn how to make a pair of sandals from the leather and hides that had been worked on. Drop by the Earth Gym where Mick Dodge was teaching many lessons of listening to both the earth and your body. Go sit by the Mill, right next to the pond, where you can learn more about permaculture. Or go up over the Mill, to the apple and grape orchard, where you will find people eating off the floor of the earth and laying beneath the apple trees, soaking in the shade. There is even a place where you can explore your inner child, at the Childrens Village. Where there was a class on how to make adobe bricks, creating a community art piece, and even a animal rescue origination came to show a few of their owls and hawks.
There were ceremonies of every kind, around each corner. From opening to closing, from fire to sacred. Sometimes I knew as I had the camera in my hands, ready to record, there were going to be certain moments that were not going to be filmed, but to be left in the moment. As Lyla June perfectly put it, "This is a prayer, not a performance, please respect that"
The meaning of this festival was brought out once I saw how many tribes were gathering together at this place and space, uniting as one. From the Rainbow Family to Standing Rock, many different tribes were together for love and support.
There was a full list of spectacular artists and performers who not just attended, but found Unify to be one of the best festivals yet, especially as it being its first year.
Desert Dwellers, Fantuzzi, Trevor Hall, Living Light, Tina Malina, Lily Fangz, Porangui, Earth Guardians, Aloka, Kaminanda, Ayla Nereo, Bluetech, SUPAMAN, Mikey Pauker, Mike Love, Tubby Love and One Tribe
and the list goes on..... there was so much shared talent in this space!
On Stage Performances
I took a photo of Lily Fangz a few years back at Lucidity, and it was one of my favorite accidental shots I have ever taken. I have been following this soul sister on social media. She is a role model for me, and for many others. She has a way with turning pain into poetry, and making it something beautiful. I was truly feeling like a fan girl when she reached back out to me before Unify. Lily and I were able to connect a the event, and I had so many questions, but left most of them for the interview we did. |Video Coming Soon|