Festie TEDx Talks: Jeet-Kei Leung on the Rise of Transformational Festivals

Article by: Chip Conley|@ChipConley

Fri December 18, 2015 | 00:00 AM

Beyond the bright lights and the roar of the crowds, there’s something special brewing inside the melting pot of festival culture. Some say it’s a social revolution. Others look at it as a spiritual awakening of sorts. Whatever it is, brilliant academics are talking about the larger impact festivals have on the world, which we explore in Festie TEDX Talks.

Festivals come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors whether their focus is music, art, sports, food, religious, or historical reenactments. One of the fastest growing segments of the festival world is transformational festivals. Somewhat inspired by the 10 Principles of Burning Man, festivals like Lightning In a Bottle, Symbiosis, Beloved and more are on the bleeding edge of thought leadership (thanks to well-rounded speaker programs and workshops) and always emphasize health, mindfulness and wellbeing – all in addition to progressive musical offerings.

In this TEDx Talk, Jeet-Kei Leung  offers a perspective on why these transformational festivals are flourishing by exploring roots of the scene and the paradigm shift happening at these consciousness-expanding events. He suggests, as Barbara Ehrenreich did in her book Dancing in the Streets, that festivals began really taking off in the 13th century when the church forbid dancing, and Rio Carnival sprouted as a secular tradition. Jeet asks us to consider what is brewing in these transformational festivals that is missing in modern, materialistic, urban society. 

In addition to an evolution happening in culture at the global level, Leung also talks about the "village" mindset, the attachment to nature and the fact that, in these places, the art movement which is deeply ingrained in festival culture has transformed how we look at the world and ourselves. He also touches on the increasing importance of electronic dance music along with meaningful spiritual dances he calls “prayer-formances.”

Leung and his team have a web series called The Bloom Series that positions transformational festival culture as a beacon of hope and unity during these trying times.