What happens when you combine environmentalism, permaculture, spirituality, health, community, and music in one of the most lush tropical settings this planet has to offer? You get Envision Festival, a groundbreaking experience aimed at changing the way we understand our fundamental connection with nature. One of the co-founders, Josh Wendel, took some time to talk with me about his journey, Envision, and the effect he hopes it will have on attendees.
A: What made you decided to pack up and relocate to Costa Rica?
J: Ever since I was young I’ve had a vision of living off the land and have always been called to the tropics. I stumbled upon this particular area in Costa Rica, found the perfect spot of paradise, and instantly fell in love – now it’s home!
A: What inspired you to get involved with sustainability and environmental consciousness? How did that inspiration manifest itself into Envision?
J: It’s been a vision since I was young to find what living in harmony with nature really meant. The draw and appeal to Costa Rica is that you can grow tons of types of food all year round with no need for an AC/heater unit. My personal perspective is that Envision is a reflection of a lot of the different values and concepts that have been woven throughout my life – natural food, healthy eating, permaculture, sustainability, music, artistic expression. Envision is a crash course of how all of those different practices and lifestyles can come together in a tropical setting.
A: Transformational festivals with an emphasis on consciousness and environmentalism have become more popular in recent years. What sets Envision apart from the rest?
J: It’s the nature of the beast – we work with what’s more readily available for us to build with, like bamboo. All of our booths, stages, and such are built out of natural materials because they are easy to find in Costa Rica and they don’t have to be shipped in/shipped out. There’s no carbon emissions from transportation or anything like that. We didn’t really have a choice – we had to do it like this. Everything we build is built intentionally. We take a lot of propriety to make sure the experience is felt throughout the entire festival. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of the term transformational festival – it is not the festival’s obligation to “transform” you and you shouldn’t expect some automatic radical transformation after attending. It’s about how you take what you experience and use that to reflect internally, making whatever changes you see fit in yourself and in the world around you.
A: The 2019 lineup is extremely fresh and diverse – how do you decide which sounds to curate each year?
J: That’s a good question. To be honest, one of my biggest passions is curating the lineup. It’s all about the balance. I’m a music buff and DJ – I’m always looking for new music to add to my repertoire. Some music is just so appropriate for Costa Rica, like Latin funky house, etc., that it matches the vibe and fits perfectly into the lineup. One of my favorite aspects is slipping in artists that no one has heard of and catching attendees by surprise. Every stage we curate has a story. How you present the music depends on how it’s received in the environment you’re in. It’s all about curating the schedule and lineup so each artist hits attendees at the moment when they are at their most receptive. Artists that have a draw and also fit the vibe and feel for Envision are easy to choose for the lineup. These are inspired artists that have been and always are pushing the envelope with their sound.
A: What do you hope attendees walk away from Envision with?
J: Envision is a sample pack of different concepts and conversations, fundamentally. Several of us founders have our own farms and grow our own food. We don’t expect people to quit their jobs and move to Costa Rica to do the same. Our hope for every type of person who attends is that they find something that allows them to question our current paradigm, the status quo. After all, you never know who is going to walk into Envision, and what kind of power they have to make a difference in the world. My favorite part about Envision is creating a positive experience so that people leave happy, fulfilled, inspired, and motivated. That’s the way I believe we can make a positive change. I want the ripples from Envision to be felt across the world.
Envision Festival is set to take place February 28th – March 3rd, 2019 in Costa Rica. Tickets and more info are available here – don’t miss out on this truly one-of-a-kind experience.
FEATURED PHOTO BY MANUEL PINTO