MAGAZINE

The Kids of Symbiosis Gathering Were Adorable and Remarkably Eloquent

Photo by: Juliana Bernstein
by Patrick Chamberlain | @masonlazarus Tue September 22, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Symbiosis Gathering celebrated its tenth edition this past weekend at the Woodward Reservoir in Northern California this past weekend. Amidst all the ruckus on the dance floors, reality-challenging art installations, and costumed tomfoolery in the water, countless parents brought their young children to experience festival culture.

Fest300 took a break from partying and/or transforming to hang out with the kids of Symbiosis. It turns out that they are not only adorable, but alarmingly eloquent and full of wisdom. Check out what they had to say:

Isaac and Jonah-Kai

Symbiosis Gathering 2015 Juliana Bernstein Isaac Jonahkai 1

Fest300: Who are these lil critters?
Isaac:
This is Gavilan, he’s five-months old. This is Jonah-Kai, he’s five-years old.

Do you bring them to festivals often? 
Yeah. We went to Burning Man a few weeks ago. They did great.

Some people are against bringing your kids to festivals. What do you think about that? 
Isaac: It depends on the parents, but it’s one of the only places parents can be in their highest and have as much fun as their kids. It’s important for kids to hang out with their parents in that environment where their parents can be kids too. 
Jonah-Kai: I’m gonna bite you! 

Paulina

Symbiosis Gathering 2015 Juliana Bernstein Paulina

Have you been to a festival before?
Yeah, I’ve been to many.

What’s the coolest thing you saw all weekend?
I like talking to God on the phone at the "Talk to God" booth. I like that there’s a bunch of buildings and a bunch of other kids that are really cool.

Did you hit any of the dance floors?
No. I don’t like to dance that much.

Do you think people act differently here than in normal life?
Yeah. It’s way different than the real world. There’s a lot more spirituality. 

Lucas

Symbiosis Gathering 2015 Juliana Bernstein Lucas 1

How old are you?
Lucas: I’m 11.
Mom: You’re 12, Lucas!

Have you been to many festivals?
I’ve been to a few smaller ones. Symbiosis is really fun. I really like it when it’s at night and all of the things are neon colors. It’s really cool.

What was your first family fest?
Dad: Outside Lands a couple of years ago. High Sierra, Hardly Strictly. It’s important to take kids to these things because they get to see a different side of things, be out there, get dirty and be free.

Symbiosis Gathering 2015 Juliana Bernstein Lucas 3

What’s it like having all five of your kids here?
It’s been fun! It’s been a lot of work. Everybody’s happy, though, settling in. It takes a day or two to get in the rhythm of it.

How would you consider the facilities here?
Really good. This whole thing they’ve got over here, Kidzbiosis, is the best I’ve ever seen.
Mom: I wish they had a family camping area. Other festivals we’ve been to have had a communal area where the kids can run around back at the campsite.

Tell us what the people here are like.
Lucas: They’re seem a lot more happy and excited about doing stuff.

Iris

Symbiosis Gathering 2015 Juliana Bernstein Iris 1

Why are you not having fun?
Because it’s so hot today and I’m tired of walking.

Were you having fun yesterday?
Yes. I like the swimming, but I was very freaked out because I was yelling because I thought my dad was gonna drown when we went down the slide.

Symbiosis Gathering 2015 Juliana Bernstein Iris 2

Dad: She was asking last night why everyone was being so silly, and I was like, "Well, because this is where people come to be silly."

What are some challenges you’ve come across?
Mom: The biggest challenge is that coming here as a family, we’re experiencing it through her eyes. Everything we’ve done so far has been centered around her and we haven’t done much on our own.

How are the facilities here?
Kidzbiosis is amazing. They did an incredible job over there. It’s extraordinary for a festival. I was thinking of taking her to a new festival next weekend, but we’re not gonna go because there isn’t a kids focus.

Nora

Symbiosis Gathering 2015 Juliana Bernstein Nora

Are you having fun?
Nora: Yes. But most other festivals have rides. 

How has the family been keeping up?
Dad: It’s been great. The kids’ setup is amazing, as is the fact that they’re swimming. They love the music, the art, and the culture. It’s pretty sweet. We’re really into the music and started taking her to festivals when she was a month old.

What are the challenges of bringing your kids?
At night time, with two kids when everyone’s melting down and we’re trying to get food and they’re running different directions, you gotta keep a close eye on everything. There was this naked guy who was kind of tweaking on drugs dove on our bags and took Nora’s poi stick and was getting all crazy with it. But that was the only instance. Most people keep to themselves and are peaceful.

Do the rewards make it worth it?
Oh yeah, it’s worth it. The kids learn to be artistic and creative. We questioned whether or not to bring them, but it’s been good for them to be able to see a different side, the creative side, and dance and move and love the Earth.

Atlas

Symbiosis Gathering 2015 Juliana Bernstein Atlas 1

Why are you here?
I’m here because it’s very awesome. The awesomest thing is going in the water and sleeping in the trailer.

Have you been to a festival before?
This is my second time, my dad is an artist and he wanted to take us here and he’s painting.

What do you think of all the people’s dancing styles here?
It’s really awesome and it reminds me of me because sometimes I watch The Lego Movie and it makes me dance like that.

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Symbiosis Gathering

Start Date: September 22, 2016
Woodward Reservoir Regional Park, Oakdale, California, United States