Freshly following my return from a miraculous week in Ibiza, I ventured to Camp Summerdaze for the July 29 weekend.
Camp Summerdaze is a beautiful event with amazing DJs, healers, workshops, yoga, speakers, lovely food, people, performers, and vendors, all of it on one of the most magical properties I’ve ever set foot on. Acres and acres of land with so much beauty to explore. To get to the yoga garden, you walk along rolling hills amongst high grasses between beautiful rivers and streams underneath a crystal blue and lovingly sunny sky. The yoga garden sits beside a glassy pond.
There are many different beautiful areas amongst this magical property, and with the number of people present, a sweet intimacy fills the land.
My friends Nabil and Jordana are the organizers. The name of their company is Summerdaze. Everyone from Lovelution is present in the vibe and organization.
Camp Summerdaze feels like years of friendships and different groups coming together to collectively realize a vision that could have only been achieved after combining energies—learning from the perspectives and skills that each group has. The evolution of our relationships is so powerfully beautiful, to see the transformations we’ve all gone through, and how much we’ve all shown and taught one another. It feels a lot like Burning Man here, but a little more peaceful. It feels like a loving dream, and in fact, it is.
On Saturday, I give a talk called “Forgetting Who You Are to Remember What You Are: Love, Play, Psychedelics & Enlightenment,” which is a wonderful and enriching experience. I make a number of special connections with audience members and establish some new and likely lifelong friendships. A few people tell me that they have breakthroughs and unlock certain things inside their souls during and after my talk <3
Eduardo Castillo, one of my favourite DJs, plays a set shortly after I finish.
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I first came across Eduardo three or four years ago via SoundCloud. It was at Burning Man in 2015 when I first saw him play. While dancing to his sunrise set at the Mayan Warrior, I began having two-way conversations with music, during which conscious beings flowed through the sound to take me out of my body and to share love and insights with me. These conversations now occur regularly, and I wrote an earlier article explaining the experience, should you care to know more: https://www.michaelsanders.co/blog/superhumanabilities.
It was also during Eduardo’s Mayan Warrior sunrise set that I met my first DMT shaman, a story that I’ll perhaps share in more detail at a later date. And, it was during Eduardo’s set that my soul brothers Blake, Justin and I telepathically realized that we’re the same soul incarnated in three human bodies and that we exist as a triad star system in the ninth through the twelfth dimensions. If you think I’m crazy, that’s okay :)
As the sun illuminated the sky during that magical Sunday morning at Burning Man, I made eye contact with Eduardo and signaled ‘thank you’ with prayer hands. He acknowledged me with a smile and prayer hands in return.
A couple months later, Eduardo played a gig in Toronto that was organized by Summerdaze. At that time, I had heard of Summerdaze but knew little about them. That night, Justin and I met Nabil and Jordana for the first time, and a friendship between Lovelution and Summerdaze was born. We created a New Year’s Eve 2015 event together and have been close ever since.
In 2016, Lovelution helped host and create a Burning Man camp called LoveCow, and Eduardo kicked off the musical programming with a fun and funky set before a Vibe with the Tribe sound therapy and a Justin Roy DJ set.
Nabil and Jordana came for their first Burn that year, and I’ll never forget a sentiment that Nabil recently shared with me: “to see people invest their dollars, time, hearts and souls into creating these elaborate gifts—more elaborate and special than I’ve seen anywhere in the world—without expectation of anything in return changed my life forever. I come from a business background where everything is about return on investment, but then I go to Burning Man and see people invest millions of dollars and an entire year into creating something that earns no money. And, they do it because it’s a wonderful thing to do. It feels amazing and everyone loves it. That changed my life.”
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Back to Saturday afternoon at Camp Summerdaze with Eduardo pouring love through the speakers: the music is divine magic. I dance so free and alive and wild on the grassy expanse underneath the hot summer sun amongst such beautiful people. I roll around, somersault, move around on my hands, and my hips gyrate and wave, as my mind vacates and I transcend into euphoria, gratitude and joy.
The joy belongs not only to me, as I look around to see hundreds of smiling faces and open hearts riding the rhythms. People dance, play soccer, throw Frisbee, watch from afar on blankets in the shade while sipping smoothies and cold teas, while others launch themselves down a massive slip n’ slide. I notice Misty, Eduardo’s wife, locked in the groove and dancing like the Goddess she is. The palpability of her and her husband’s connection is obvious.
Afterwards, I want to thank Eduardo for his set, but we are each immersed in conversation with others or dancing to the groovy beats of Mark Farina.
An hour passes before I feel an arm grab me from behind. The arm belongs to Eduardo and he embraces me with a huge hug. “I love you so much brother. To see you dance is the most beautiful thing. You’re so free and full of love. Thank you,” he says.
“Aw man, I love you so much. Every time I see you play, you transfix me in a state of infinite love and bliss. It’s always an honour to be on the dance floor while you share your gifts,” I say.
Later that night, I walk over the hill to the camping area where everyone’s tents are set up to enjoy some deep, fun and silly conversations, long hugs, and a spontaneous singing and drum circle with a group of friends—some new, some old.
I notice Nabil moving tables and playing with some lights, and within a little while, I realize he’s setting up another sound system in the workshop and speaker area. Shortly thereafter, Desert Hearts and dancers come over to kick start another party on this section of the 150 acres.
I make my way back over the hill to a big bon fire where lovers and friends share food and songs, play guitar, drum and bask under the starry night sky with its beautiful and gigantic half moon.
After a while, I think about heading to sleep, but when I make it near the camping area, I get pulled into Jenner’s groove and then into the sounds of Leila & Marek. For the next who-knows-how-many hours, I dance under the summer night sky amongst a sea of happy people, periodically having lovely conversations with the twinkling stars above and the beautiful humans here on Earth.
When the music stops, I sit in a circle with some friends to chat until just before sunrise.
Sunday morning begins with a sound therapy by Vibe with the Tribe. People lie on the grass under a blazing sun while the Tribe takes us on a healing journey. The crystal bowls and rain sticks soothe my soul while other instruments tickle my mind. The vocals of Pandora and Vanessa roll through me like flowing streams of love. I am in the sky. Despite my eyes being closed, I am surrounded by light blue and feel as high as the sun—so synced with the sounds and the Tribe channeling them, that I feel zero separation between us. My spine tingles and then explodes as shockwaves ascend me, and I contort, the crown of my head cocking back and pressing into the Earth as I lay in a head supported bridge. Cosmicgasm of pure peace, and my spine rolls and waves for some time.
The beautiful journey continues as I feel healing love throughout my entire being, and then Justin Roy infuses spacious electronic elements into the sound therapy. As we return to Earth, Justin invokes the bass to reconnect us to our bodies and takes us on a fun and uplifting musical journey in the early afternoon. People smile and laugh, flip and cartwheel, slip n’ slide, bounce and hug to the joyous sounds.
I enjoy Sunday in wonderful conversations with the most inspiring people, eating amazing foods created by culinary wizards, learning secret ancient yogic practices, and ecstatic dancing to absolute fire from the DJs: Arman & Beynon, Tone of Arc, and Rakontur & Alberto Jossue.
The love and connectivity of Camp Summerdaze continue their crescendo during a pink, orange and periwinkle sunsetting sky. Wispy clouds shimmer above the green forest and blue streams while a funky and bouncy Mark Farina set serves as the soundtrack.
Light turns to dark, and we all make our way to a big campfire. Tiki torch and candle flames dance as the scent of Palo Santo fills the air and our nostrils. Soft colourful lights bathe the trees with purples and blues, while a starry night sky and the brilliant half moon decorate our imaginations. The sound system surrounds the space.
I lie down on a blanket, and the sound check alone has people in a meditative trance.
Eduardo sits cross-legged at a low table with candles, a laptop, mixing equipment and microphone before he invites us on a journey.
“Thank you for this special experience everyone. All of it and all of you are truly magic,” he says. “I invite you to get comfortable, lie down, and imagine that you’re in your living room. I’m going to play some music for you. It’s all improvised, and I’m really honoured to share this. Patience will be your friend. I encourage you not to expect anything to happen. Simply relax and allow.”
The first song pours from the speakers. A slow and powerful builder that expresses all: life, death, unity, pain, ecstasy, love, all of it. My words do the music no justice, but when I look at my friends Ravyn and Lucas, they’re each crying hysterically.
For the next two and a half hours, Eduardo plays songs that are each 8-20 minutes long, and honestly, each and every one is utterly mind blowing and heart exploding. He adds live improvised elements and sings into the mic with an echoing and ethereal effect.
Some songs are so slow and a deep heavy bass pumps from the Earth’s core to bring some us to our feet. I stand and enter into another dimension and my arms move in a symmetrical flow as I channel something divine. In my mind’s eye, I bathe in glowing beams of yellow-white and black light. My locked arms extend to the side and float above my head where I squeeze in a vertically aligned prayer pose. My fingers twinkle with lights, my arms ride through beams, and triangles shoot from my chest. My body moves independently of my mind as though it's being guided by a cosmic force that's bigger than me. The space is infinite. I am infinite. We are all infinite. A woman I don’t yet know comes from across the fire to hold my heart. I am in the fabric of the universe: Love. A timeless, eternal and powerful love that is the creative source and responsible for all things. Responsible for the Big Bang and every one of its predecessors. Responsible for every work of art: every painting, every song, every written word. This love is responsible for the propagation of species, the division of cells, and the explosion of stars. It is the bird that soars, the child who cries, and the grass that grows through the pavement. It is why you cry, why you die, and why you are born. This love is infinitely capable, and it is what we’re all made of. It is you, it is me, it is all.
I cry, I laugh, I dance. I dance with Misty, another angel named Leila, and hug Pandora for an entire song.
Something is happening.
This musical performance is heavenly, a soundscaping so divine. Pure genius channeled purely.
Awe, immersion, love. Everyone knows we’re bathing in and creating magic. This is eternity, and we are all so fortunate.
The last song Eduardo plays is by Kiasmos and it’s integrated with Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” speech. It is utterly transformative.
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Thank you to everyone involved in the production of Camp Summerdaze. All the musicians, healers, vendors, staff, speakers, workshop leaders, yoga teachers, performers, land owners, and all the other loving souls who joined in and co-created the experience.
Thank you Vanessa Ferraro for all of your hard work in coordinating so many incredible offerings. And, thank you Nabil and Jordana for holding a vision strongly enough to manifest it. I know you’ve had your hearts set on creating Camp Summerdaze for a while, and 2017 marks the beginning of something special.