If you’ve been to as many festivals as I have, sat through as many transformational workshops as you can imagine, danced all night for no reason whatsoever, you start wondering, “what’s the POINT of all of this effort? We just have to tear this down tomorrow, then?”
For the last few years, the dedicated festival enthusiasts you know and love have been calling for more intensive, intimate events. We’ve been calling in venues where we can build permanent infrastructure. And we’re ready for dance parties with purpose, full of food grown right on the Heartland property.
That’s why Lucidity Festivals is so excited to support Colab Campout, July 1-4th outside of Grass Valley, California. I sat down with event producer Anders Gustavsson at Heartland to discuss this four-day hands-on, educational journey.
Wesley Wolfbear Pinkham: Can you tell us who you are and what this place is?
Anders Gustavsson: My name is Anders Gustavsson, one of the founders of Heartland. Heartland is a very unique place. We’re on 25 acres of land, situated on a 2,000 acre lake, which is a reservoir. Part of the year it’s full, and part of the year it’s completely empty.
These rolling hills are just below the mountains, at an elevation of about 300 feet. And we’re about an hour from Sacramento, so we’re a quick visit to the city and then a quick visit to the mountains. But we’re definitely out here in the country. It’s secluded and just a really, really beautiful space to create life.
WP: What is the vision behind Heartland? What problems are you trying to solve?
AG: The vision came about from my family looking for a epic space to build community, because there’s a lot of people in our community that desire to live and co-create together. The vision came because I’ve been an entrepreneur for my whole life, and so many of those failures that I experienced were due to a lack of supportive systems geared to new businesses.
We had to create a space for that to be possible, and a model that can then be duplicated to other properties so that we can figure out how to do this with so much more joy.
WP: So what kind of systems do you have in place now?
AG: There are three foundational models we have in place here.
One is food. We are growing a massive abundance of healthy, naturally-grown, amazing produce and vegetables so that the people that are staying or visiting will be fully activated by that abundance of good food. We have a CSA and we’re going to have farm-to-table dinners.
The second model we’re building is about infrastructure. We created the Fractal CoLab, which is a model for creating artistic environments. We build different experiences at different festivals, but this is our home base. All of the modular structures that we create here can be improved more and more, so we can share them with other festivals and communities.
And the third model that we’re working on is being a venue. This is all going to be showcased to other properties and to other people. In the past, we’ve had everything from the most epic, celebratory community-oriented party, called the Fractal Lake Campout to cacao ceremonies assisted by live music. We’ve had women’s retreats and a handful of other intimate gatherings.
WP: And then the upcoming event, CoLab Campout.
AG: Yeah, CoLab Campout is the event that we are all so excited about right now. It’s all about sharing the culture that we’re building at Heartland.
There are four core pillars that the event is built on. First is Outerwork. That’s using your hands, being out in the dirt, building infrastructure and clubhouses and artistic environments. It’s growing food. It’s doing the things that we have to do in order to get what we want to have.
While we do the outer work, we come up to the blocks, the barriers, relationship issues… All of these things come up and at that point, we get to study inward and we get to look at ourselves and see how we can improve. So the second pillar is Innerwork, it goes from outer work to inner work.
As we actually experience the fruits of doing that inner work, we begin the third pillar of Transformation. That deep and sometimes painful process is something worth celebrating. That’s the fourth pillar, and the fourth day of the event: Celebration.
WP: You have kind of a built-in story arc that plays out over the course of the weekend?
AG: During the first two days we hold a super-tight container. It allows people to gather and get their hands dirty and really work on the outer stuff. There are different tracks that you sign up for and that’s your cohort. By the third day, we go into transformation with ecstatic dance and superhero activation to really honor the transformation that can happen within us.
Then we open the doors to celebration – you know that’s really why a lot of us go to a lot of different music festivals, is the celebration aspect – but now after we’ve spent these three days together, the potency of celebration is what I think is going to be felt the most.
There’s going to be less than 200 people here and we would love for those that are interested in this type of gathering to join us. Yeah!