Lucidity Festival Launches Plans to Create Year-Round Alternative Education

Article by: Graham Berry

Fri October 14, 2016 | 00:00 AM

This year, a few festivals on our 300 List made history by reinvesting their proceeds in land they intend to use as a permanent launchpad for their progressive expansion efforts.

Portugal's Boom Festival announced its purchase of Boomland, where much of the festival's awe-inspiring art and installations will live year-round to transform the landscape into a creative wonderland. Burning Man purchased Fly Ranch and is now democratically engaging its community to discuss ideas about what should be done with the 3,800-plus acres that comprise the property. Like Boomland, some contend that Fly Ranch should become a resting place for large-scale art, while others suggest that it ought to be a communal space for artists to foster creativity into the fabric of a new kind of year-round community.

Similarly, the founders of Lucidity announced a monumental crowdfunding initiative to purchase land at Trillium, a historic, 80-acre homestead an hour outside of Ashland, Oregon. In this place, the Lucidity team hopes to give wings to the already unprecedented success of Lucid University Courseweek, an academic experience first held last year in the days leading up to the festival, serving up classes in Permaculture, Spirit, Ecology, Movement and Creativity. These combined a reverence for teachings of the past with a vigorous nod to progressive methods for tackling a fast-paced future.

At the new Lucid University in Oregon, visitors can expect an innovative curriculum with a focus on short retreats and hands-on experiences, drawing on similar subjects the Courseweek offered and divided into five tracks: CommunityWorks, CreativeWorks, BodyWorks, EcologyWorks, and SpiritWorks. Prospective students will be able to sign up for courses ranging from Reiki, Permaculture, Art, Lucid Dreaming, Movement, and much more.

Lucidity 2015 Juliana Bernstein   06

One of the earliest signals of success from the Lucid University Courseweek was that it attracted people from different walks of life – some of these students had never even been to a festival. As a result, the festival community was enriched by the inclusion of new people bringing along a wealth of knowledge and experiences. It showed that a focus on academia not only served to grow the festival but the impact that it could have in the default world, too. There seems to be a communal awareness that expansion is important too; the Indiegogo campaign has already picked up a little over 20% of its goal. That’s a lot of initial love for such a lofty dream from a festival that’s just five years old.

To learn more about the birth of Lucid University and the Trillium Project we caught up with Jonah Haas, a co-founder at Lucidity Festival and a key thought leader in the West Coast transformational festival scene.

Lucid University 2016  Winter Creative Co

A scene from a Lucid University build. Photo by: Winter Creative Co.

Lucid University was a huge undertaking. What are some of the key lessons you learned?

From our pre-festival Courseweek last year we learned that our participants are not only willing to go deeper into the educational programming that we offer, they’re thirsting for it. Learning experiences that fully activate and nourish our minds, bodies, and spirit within a community context are rare to find these days. Lucid University is fulfilling a deep human need for meaningful connection. Our next steps are grounding the Lucid University on land in Southern Oregon, and preparing for another Courseweek before the 2017 Lucidity Festival in Southern California.

How is the curriculum of LU developing for Trillium expansion? What sort of offerings can we expect in 2017?

The specific five courses we offered last year fell within five broad curriculum tracks: CommunityWorks, CreativeWorks, BodyWorks, EcologyWorks, and SpiritWorks. While the actual classes will change, these tracks will remain to ensure a broad-spectrum holistic approach to our overall offering. Classes that you might expect for this year's Courseweek and at Trillium could include ayurvedic herbalism, conscious parenting, mythic storytelling, watershed restoration, Jedi body awareness, and more awesome surprises.

Lucid University 2016 Land At Trillium Courtesy Of Lucidity Festival And Lucid University

Exploring the land at Trillium. Photo by: Lucid University and Lucidity Festival

Why is it important to buy the land at Trillium? Why not just keep putting on the festival without buying the site?

Festivals in general are, by their nature, highly temporary in time and space. We believe that the festival phenomenon is occurring because people are so thirsty to reconnect. We've watched as "transformational festivals" have continued to deepen in their educational offerings, usually in response to a greater demand. And we have also seen a restlessness among the community leaders within our festival families as they recognize the inherent unsustainability of the events we throw. No matter how much we pump up the #endsingleuse ethic, our gatherings have a large impact.

We are ready to truly walk the walk of Earth Stewardship by grounding our educational initiative at Trillium, a very special piece of land outside of Ashland. Here, the healthy living and Reinhabiting the Village content of festival workshops can be lived in community, year round!

Lucid University 2016 Marisa Pfenning Creativity Sessions At Lucid U

Photo by: Marisa Pfenning

What does this new stage mean for the average festival-goer? What’s the goal of the new incarnation of Lucidity and Lucid University?

First of all, it’s important to mention that Lucidity Festival will remain in Santa Barbara. This is an expansion, not a move. The land we chose for the LU campus – Trillium – is truly magical. It has plenty of water, is zoned favorably, has 17 permanent structures, and is so lush and green. It also was used as an educational center for the last 40 years, so there is an amazing foundation to build on!

What does this mean for Joe Festival-Goer? It's an opportunity to go deeper, to feel more fully, to learn, to explore and get into our bodies... and the invitation is to do so in a community retreat setting. While we love celebration we wish people to actually be celebrating accomplishments and fulfilled commitments. LU will be an opportunity for all this and more. I'm also really excited about the online platform we will be launching, that will bring transformational education to the entire world. Imagine a library of yoga, Tai Chi, or qi gong classes to choose from in the morning. Or courses on lucid dreaming, meditation and mindfulness to support your waking and sleeping awareness.

Lucid University 2016 Winter Creative Co Outdoor Class

How can people help you achieve the goal? What if they don’t have funds but they have time to offer?

The biggest thing people can do is become a backer. People keep asking about visiting the land and there are a few perks that allow that. The Trillium Land Warming perk is a ticket to our first weekend event on the land next summer; people can select a romantic getaway for two, or pre-purchase an LU immersion. Once we get on the land and are in full swing, there will be work-trade and scholarship opportunities, but none of the dreams unfold if we don't reach our fundraising goals, so it's time for the community to activate if they want to see next-level educational initiatives like this actually land into a year-round retreat space. And as always, it's helpful to SHARE THE DREAM!

The Next Frontier of Education

Lucidity 2015 Juliana Bernstein   09

After the explosion of ideas that coincided with the Woodstock movement in the 60s, the mini communities (aka “Communes”) formed around collective intention. While many of these movements fizzled away over the years there were several solutions discovered along the way. These solutions addressed problems of health, spirituality and environment. Taking a new direction, Lucid University seeks to integrate those lessons to address the shortcomings of past communes along with the current failures of contemporary educational institutions. The aim? To produce better stewards of humanity in the next generation.

As one of the festival community's answers to these challenges it’s exciting to see how Lucid University will grow and impact both the festival community and beyond, as students go out and share their new knowledge with the world. In the coming years, it’s expected that we’ll witness a shift in focus at Lucidity and other festivals to channel more energy into causes, so that when we celebrate it’s more than a party. In a world where academic institutions are becoming financially further out of reach and out of touch with real world needs could this new phase in Lucid University at Trillium be the next frontier of education? Helping the project become a reality is the fastest way to find out.

Tickets for Lucidity Festival: Eudaimonia 2017 go on sale November 8, 2016. Get them here.