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Equilibrio

Equilibrio — that beautiful, intimate and intense festival I attended in El Salvador this year — was all about balance. Its logo, shown above, represented this balance with two trapezoidal inverted shapes; one black, one white. My previous post focused on what I’d consider the pieces of the festival that fit into that light shape — enriching moments made up of knowledge and movement workshops, spiritual ceremonies, and an emphasis on learning and sharing.

This post focuses on what I felt nestled nicely into that dark shape — hedonistic hours filled with ecstatic dance parties, silly fun swim sessions, hand crafted cocktails served in coconuts, and an emphasis on entertainment, pure and simple. It’s all about that equilibrium, right?

Playing in the Surf at El Cuco

Though all four days of Equilibrio — especially the first two — were tightly scheduled with a long list of activity choices, there always seemed to be a spare ten minutes to make a dash for the sea. And with such an inviting ocean just literal steps away from our rooms or tents or hammocks, how could we not?

Some would surf, some would sit in the sand and gossip, others would go for a refreshing swim or take a dunk to cool down after an intense yoga session.

Beach time in El Cuco

Pool Party in El Salvador

Beach time in El Cuco

Pool Party in El Salvador

Watermelon in El Salvador

Pool Party in El Salvador

Meihoukai in Wanderland in El Salvador

Nights were not neglected at Equilibrio. On Night One, the solemn opening ceremony was followed by a local marching band leading a joyful dance party from the street down to the beach, and later, a Salvadorian circus performed on the sand for a mix of locals and festival go-ers. On Night Two, there was a variety show in which the amount of talent contained in one little festival amazed me all over again.

On Night Three, we spiffed up for a black and white party catered by a local fish shack and highlighted by a beach bonfire. And on our final evening together, we kept the fire theme going with a dramatic beach burn and one final cacao ceremony — yes, there had been several. On all the nights, there was music, and dancing, and friendship.

Equilibrio Nightlife

The small size of the festival — just one hundred and twenty people — meant that the partying was far from overwhelming. For once, I left a festival feeling energized instead of exhausted. I had no interest in sleeping the days away for this one — so in that spirit of balance, I had two big late nights of indulgence and two that ended with relatively reasonable bed times.

And those two big late nights were worth ever moment of lost sleep — different DJs took turns beneath the palms, fire twirlers elicited oohs and aahs by the pool, handmade cocktails were served up in the Cosmix bar, and there were plenty of hilarious dance floor antics abound. Sand below, stars above, drinks from a thatch roof bar — that’s my kind of dance party bliss.

Equilibrio Nightlife

Equilibrio Nightlife

Equilibrio Nightlife

Equilibrio Nightlife

Equilibrio Nightlife

While I’d be hard pressed to narrow down just one favorite moment of Equilibrio, I can say with full confidence that the aforementioned black and white party cleared the top ten. As we posed in our finest beach bum attire, I felt like we were all spiffed up for a hippie prom.

It was a night I won’t easily forget.

Equilibrio Festival

Equilibrio_Dark_016

Equilibrio Festival El Salvador

Equilibrio Festival El Salvador

The last night was, in contrast, a quiet and reflective one. The light from the fire that had been burning since our opening ceremony was carried out to the beach, and after a meditative closing one (we really liked our ceremonies at Equilibrio), we watched in silence as the sculpture we’d been living amongst for four days burned down the the sand.

Equilibrio Future Clear

Central America Festivals

Equilibrio Festival El Salvador

Central America Festivals

When I got back from Burning Man, I wrote a post called What the %$#* is Burning Man?, a post that tried to answer that frequent and difficult question. Yet I’d struggle to even start trying to answer the same question for Equilibrio, so layered and unique and refreshing was my experience there. Frankly, it wasn’t like anything I’ve ever been to, and I think that’s because nothing like it exists.

Equilibrio was the inaugural international festival put together by , and there were some first time fumbles — sometimes organization was a tad unclear and the schedule started unraveling a bit towards the end of the event. But those were minor speedbumps to an overwhelmingly successful first time festival — I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

Equilibrio Future Clear

You could say that my experience at Equilibrio was so impactful for me because it was created by some of my dearest friends. And that is true — I felt remarkable pride and awe surging through me, knowing that these people who have been important pieces of my life for more than eight years, who in many ways I grew up with, had built this unbelievable thing. However, I think the special thing is that by the end of the festival, anyone there could have said the same — because we were all connected, and we all created it, together.

There was no quietly observing at this festival — everyone was a participant and a contributor and an artist, in some way. And months later I am still grateful for the people that came into my life as a result of Equilibrio — weird, wonderful, special and talented souls who I know I’ll collaborate with and travel with and laugh with for a long time to come.

It was surreal to watch it come together, and I was honored to be a part of it.

Equilibrio Future Clear

Thank you again to the Future Clear crew for a fabulous event!
So what do you think? Will I see you there next year?

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38 Comments...
  • Silvia
    May 19 2015

    I’m not sure I can fully wrap my mind around the idea of leaving a festival energized instead of exhausted, but it sounds pretty fabulous. Plus, hippie prom!
    Silvia recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 20 2015

      Ha, it’s great right? I think we looked pretty spiffy 🙂

  • What an interesting, unique festival! I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more events by Future Clear. Also, you are rocking the heck out of that white crop top! 😉
    Shelly I Norway to Nowhere recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 20 2015

      Thanks Shelly! A great Forever 21 find 🙂

  • Leah
    May 19 2015

    Haha I have to ditto what Silvia said above. The fact that you were energized after a festival is impressive. It obviously did strike the perfect balance!
    Leah recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 20 2015

      I was all fired up! Hard not to be inspired around such a crew…

  • Emily
    May 19 2015

    I was anticipating this post… totally worth it. The size of the festival sounds perfect and yes, the sentiment continues–feeling refreshed after a festival?? I’m just gonna have to see it (next year) to believe it 🙂
    Emily recently posted..

  • Katie
    May 20 2015

    Read both of your posts about Equilibrio and I’m totally sold — already trip dreaming about El Salvador now!
    Katie recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 20 2015

      Don’t forget to factor in extra time for El Tunco when you do… post coming up soon 🙂

  • Yes! I’m trying to work out how I could possibly fit a Christmas in the UK and a few months in Central America in next year, if the festival is on again it looks like something worth planning a trip around.
    Francesca @ Cheskie’s Gap Life recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 20 2015

      I planned my trip around it and yup, well worth it 🙂 Couldn’t be happier with how things turned out.

  • What a great idea for a festival. Looks amazing, some poise for the soul with just the right amount of people, I can only see it getting better.
    Shaun’s Cracked Compass recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 20 2015

      It was a really great size. Got to know so many people on a great level but also enough to feel like something significant 🙂

  • Jenia
    May 20 2015

    This looks stupendously fun! (and yes, i have been waiting to use this word, and it’s perfect here 🙂 You have me wanderlusting so hard after all the great cultures and events in central america!
    Jenia recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 20 2015

      Central America is a really wanderlust worthy corner of the world. It was just what I needed for this time in my life 🙂 This festival was the perfect excuse to return!

  • Zoe
    May 20 2015

    OMG i literally got chills at the end of reading this

    … PS you forgot to mention the talent show!! that was a highlight i think

    • Meihoukai
      May 26 2015

      I referred to it as a “variety show” but you are right, lots of talent was abound 🙂

  • tom pollak
    May 21 2015

    what made the festival special was that EVERYONE participated and everyone was GIVING and no one was sucking….. there were no stars invited to the festival yet everyone that came was a star…

    • Meihoukai
      May 26 2015

      That’s true — we had a full constellation!

  • ivy kriste
    May 21 2015

    Celebration in every picture…

    • Meihoukai
      May 26 2015

      It really was 🙂 Thanks for reading and enjoying, Ivy!

  • Ashlee
    May 21 2015

    Looks amazing! I love the idea of a more intimate feel. I’m definitely adding this to my bucket list!
    Ashlee recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 26 2015

      It’s an amazing festival! Well worth a spot on any fest-goers bucket list.

  • Camels & Chocolate
    May 21 2015

    That sunset silhouette pic is pure perfection.
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 26 2015

      Let’s take our own #6byTENN version soon 🙂

  • Chris
    May 22 2015

    It’s always humbling to be at the birth of something… 🙂
    Chris recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 26 2015

      I think I’d prefer this kind to any other 😉

  • Erika
    May 23 2015

    This festival seriously sounds too awesome. I’m definitely going to look into going in the future!
    Erika recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 26 2015

      Sign up for updates and maybe I’ll see ya next year!

  • Julia Nix
    May 24 2015

    looking gorgeous there, alex sans the full moon party madness on haad rin beach. hahahaa.

    • Meihoukai
      May 26 2015

      This was definitely a long way from the Full Moon Party… though I did enjoy both 🙂

  • TammyOnTheMove
    May 29 2015

    The hippie in me loves, loves, loves the sound of this festival. What a great idea.
    TammyOnTheMove recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 29 2015

      Maybe the timing and location will work out next year 🙂

  • Marni
    June 2 2015

    This sounds so incredibly amazing and I can understand why you would have a hard time completely answering what it is. It’s a connection you can only get to people through a certain way, and this definitely seems to have fit the bill.

    • Meihoukai
      June 3 2015

      I did my darndest 🙂 I’m glad so many have expressed interest in attending in the future… it makes me feel like I must have explained it at least a little bit!

  • Erich
    March 20 2017

    Are they having this festival again in 2017? Or was it a 1-time thing??
    Thanks

    • Meihoukai
      March 22 2017

      Hey Erich! They had the festival again in 2016 but took 2017 off. It may be back again in 2018!