Once a year in a remote tropical beach side of Bahia state in Brazil, an alternative community creates a liminal state; a so called ‘free society’, or a ‘parallel universe’. Some people would prefer to call it a rave (or in Brazil a ‘haivee‘) festival. The participants and promoters of the festival are part of a global movement of people who long for alternative communities, organic food, fitness, mate tea and electronic music. These people travel the world over attending festivals with all of these elements. Some of the most famous ones are on the beaches of Southern Thailand, in Goa and Karnataka in Southern India, the Boom Festival in Portugal, the Ozora festival in Hungary and, of course, Universo Paralelo in Brazil.
Like all good festivals in beautiful natural settings, a good deal of planning and vison are required. Forget the stereotyped vison of what you expect a rave to be like, trance festivals are a whole other ball game. Beyond electronic music, there are workshops in everything from sport, health, art & theater, there are communal food areas for people who want to try new, mostly vegetarian, meals, and of course there is plenty of beach. An organized mini-city of tents and stalls is planned based on a few solid principles that all participants have to adhere to. In fact this is one of the main aspects of these festivals: One is not simply a patron who buys a ticket for a show, but rather, everyone is a participant. Everyone cleans up, takes care of the space and treats others with respect.
There are 10 rules that festival goers (dubbed “Planetary Citizens”) are expected to follow:
1. Fires are explicitly forbidden on the site.
2. All waste in the garbage!
3. Say no to disposable items, like plates and throw away cameras.
4. Water is the source of life. There is enough for all if we respect and conserve our use.
5. The ground we dance on is sacred. Allow us all to dance barefoot. Keep our dancefloor clean, it is noble to do so.
6. Your tent is your home, keep it clean and don’t throw waste in your backyard.
7. Preserve the local flora and fauna. Leave no trace of your presence.
8. Separate your garbage into organic, recyclables and disposables.
9. Respect & celebrate each others differences. We are at an alternative festival and planetary citizens respect each other!
10. Don’t exaggerate! Your body is an ecosystem, respect it. Drink enough water, use sunscreen and know your limits.
Those are the ten commandments of Universo Paralelo. I know you might think it’s a little hippy, but seriously, would not our world be a better place if all of us followed these tenets? So… if you want an alternative experience, a big party, trance music, and lots of beautiful half naked people, go to Universo Paralelo in December 2011 through January 2012. You won’t be disappointed. Bring some iced mate.
Here is a posting from a message board on the website isratrance.com:
The Universo Paralello spaceship has already started getting prepared for yet another new adventure in the amazingly psychedelic tropics of the state of Bahia, taking off from all corners of the world to disembark in its forests and paradisiacal beaches. Such as in the previous editions, the UP tribe and its peaceful crew will reserve for the next UP 11 even more surprises, more attractions, and mainly more attention to a number of mishaps that caught us off guard during the last edition, UP 10. We will no longer be so reliant on sheer fortune and the weather nor will we tolerate certain acts of vandalism.* Despite the worst drought on the shores of the Northeast in the last 30 years, we managed to overcome a number of last-minute mishaps and secure the event professionally up to the last moment. We have weighed all the positive and negative aspects that took place and we look optimistically and with faith that a parallel life, away from the chaotic beat of the modern world, can indeed exist: a world free of wars, without so much haste and surrounded by beauty. We also acknowledge the figures of the services rendered: more than 500 shows and presentations, 1200 artists, food-court and bars working 24/7, highly equipped medical post, effective security, and no serious incidents during the 8 days of the festival.
The Festival has gained such a dimension that we have stopped to ponder and we now understand that we need more than one year to prepare for such a massive gathering. Therefore, as of now, UP will take place every two years. We shall meet again in a new paradise in 2011/2012: the new year of a new era.
The next Universo Paralello, with new and thrilling surprises, starts its new work schedule with a lot of support, celebration and presence of a number of people scattered throughout the world. We are ready to bring it on, focusing on all previous mistakes, doubling our attention to all mishaps. There will be many surprises in 2011/2012. Prepare to take off with the greatest UP of all times.