Date: May 17th-21st 2012
Location: Pyramid Lake, Nevada
Years Running: 1st at this location
Crowd: The crowd for Symbiosis was my favorite part of the festival. This was the Burner crowd from top to bottom. Everyone at Symbiosis were well seasoned festival goers and super easy to get to know. The vibe was really good considering what a tough festival this was physically.
Organization: Symbiosis was hit with a HUGE wind storm two days before the festival began and it destroyed a lot of their structures so I give them a bit of a pass on the organization. With that being said, the organization was pretty horrible at Symbiosis. Thousands of festival goers who purchased car camping passes were told that the lot was full and they had to carry their gear…. for nearly a mile each way. This would be ok if there was a shuttle offered… there wasn’t. I volunteered to work the info booth and was given no info to relay to people. Bathrooms also needed more attention as it was not uncommon for the out houses to be out of toilet paper.
Stages: The stages at Symbiosis were amazing considering we were all the way out in the middle of the desert. The Sun Stage was my favorite and whoever designed it should get a big gold star for sheer awesomeness. The sound was clear but they could do to turn it up a few notches.
Landscape: The landscape was essentially dirt with tons of rocks. This made walking around a little difficult. Over four days it definitely took its toll on you. With all of the people walking around, it loosened the dirt and made it as dusty as Burning Man was last year. The saving grace was the absolutely beautiful Lake Pyramid which we were allowed to swim in. This was one of my favorite parts of the festival.
Food: The food at Symbiosis was good. It offered a decent variety of dishes and did offer a couple options with meat which is not to be taken for granted at transformational festivals.
What makes this festival special? This festival is basically Burning Man minus the art cars and theme camps but with music being the main focus. This is an absolute dream for people like me who LOVE music as well as all the shenanigans associated with Burning Man. There were even a couple moments when I ventured out to go see the art installations that I felt like I was on the Playa.
What could be improved? Getting people to their campsite must be improved for next year. The crowd was totally dead the first night because everyone was so exhausted from moving. Adding shuttles to help move the attendees gear would have made a big difference at this festival.
Overall Rating: 3.5 stars. If you are looking to get your Burning Man fix in May this is your festival. I feel like this year was a big learning experience for the organizers and they will be in a position to throw an unbelievable festival next year and for years to come.