On Friday July 14th, East Coast lovers and friends will descend upon Keansburg, New Jersey for three days of music, art, community, and connection in the spirit of Gratitude Migration. So, what happens when you take NYC born, Brooklyn based, and Burning Man bred visionaries and let them converge together for a new kind of festival movement? Well, we're heading to Gratitude Migration this weekend and we've got the insight for you below. We were lucky enough to chat with the creators behind the experience to learn everything we needed before heading out. From their driving ethos of igniting positive global change through human connection to the connection between music and wellness. We're thankful for the amazing humans behind Gratitude Migration and you can see why through our interview below.
This is our first year at Gratitude Migration as new faces could you tell us what we can expect this year compared to last?
Gratitude Migration is always an exceptional experience and one we’ve seen grow each year not only in size, but in the way we go about doing things to be more seamless, more intentional and more community-driven. We’re working on bringing higher production value to create an enhanced experience for our participants, with lots of smiling, devoted staff and an incredible volunteer community. One particular enhancement we’ve made is in encouraging large-scale collective experiences for the entire community, such as a group sunrise meditation with the Dawn of the Burning Sun, incredible performances for our Friday night Opening Ceremony, and a ritualistic Burn on Saturday night filled with intention and meaning. We’ve taken a lot of care to improve the physical experience for participants, from adding substantially more shade and misting facilities to providing shuttle service from parking to the beach.
What's the main ethos driving Gratitude Migration?
Our goal is to build a sustainable movement that ignites positive global change through human connection.
We work together as a team to make the festival more sustainable year after year, and we bring in the inspiration of living life as art to make it happen. We use the power of gratitude to unleash our individual and collective potential, which is our currency for exchanging appreciation in society that will get us to the paradigm we all want to live in. All it takes is counting your blessings and being in the moment!
Our principles including positive transformation, human connection, mindful living and creative expression. We build environments that give people a container to transform by connecting with others, expanding their horizons, and expressing themselves completely creatively and openly. This happens in so many ways on the beach, from sustainable food choices and a focus on Leave No Trace modeling our principle of mindful living, to the incredible art, music and performances that enable creative expression for all participants, from those on stage to the people who create an improvisational jam or wear beautiful costumes. Our theme camps and community living are focused on bringing people into connection with one another, and their highest selves, and that enables us to all come into our power and purpose as human beings and truly transform.
You mention that GM is a fusion of Burning Man principles with a city vibe? What do you mean by this?
As Burners ourselves, we’re deeply inspired to adapt and spread the Burning Man principles into more accessible locations and to people who would otherwise never be exposed to them. We love the principles of Burning Man and acknowledge that not everybody can make those travel commitments across the coast. For those who work the city life, we offer the beauty of those principles closer to home. We also feel that by being so close to the city, it offers a spirit of integration. As you sit on the beach and watch the sun rise on the NYC skyline, it becomes apparent that it’s not that far away, and we can take those ideals we experience at festivals and bring them into our daily lives.
Let's talk about music, what went into curating this year’s lineup?
Music is the universal language that connects us all! We’ve curated a world-class lineup, bringing you selectors and musicians from all over the world and from our own backyard. With four stages, and music genres ranging from Deep House, to Global Bass, Jazz, Disco, and Ambient music; we’ve got your beach vibes covered. The Gratitude Stage will feature dance music from the genres of House, Global Bass, Disco, and Tribal music, with an extended set on Saturday night by headliner Moon Boots! JunXion Stage, curated by Myk 2melo, will present that trademark JunXion mix of Bass, Global Bass, World Music, and Tribal Drums. The Lightning Society Stage will feature the best Deep House and Tech House our LS friends have to offer. We present the Biergarten Live Stage with a mix of local and international musicians, playing Jazz, live electronica, Funk, World music, Folk, and even a mashup of Dark Side Of The Moon and the Wizard Of Oz. Come to our open mic on Sunday and share what you’ve got!” - from David Kiss, Music curator
Our music lineup is inspired by the vibes of being on a beach, it’s the kind of music you’d want to hear at an afternoon beach party, or while you’re dancing with the sand under your toes. This year, our curator David Kiss did a great job bringing together up-and-coming local talent that may be familiar to some in the Brooklyn scene but rarely present all in one place, on a beach, for an entire weekend. There’s some new sounds, like global bass and tribal music, and a lot of house and disco music for nighttime. Our theme camp stages represent variations in sounds so people can travel around late at night and find their own experience. We’re also experimenting with some acts who fuse live sounds in with their DJ sets, like Blu deTiger, a young rising talent who plays bass along with her live sets.
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Where do you find the intersection of wellness and music, and how do you work to make this come to life at GM?
Wellness and music intersect within the bodies of individuals, and create community through shared experience. We aim to enable attendees to find their unique experience through a wide variety of wellness and movement programming, in addition to a diverse music lineup. This spectrum of programming invites attendees to unlock their unique stories and discover deep connections within our community, and to the communities beyond after the end of the festival. - Ophra Werde, director of Mind/Body/Spirit
What are some things we absolutely can't miss this year?
We’re kicking off the whole shebang with an opening ceremony on Friday evening, followed by the most insane dance party of your life headlined by Tasha Blank & The Get Down Crew (The Get Down is a local NYC-based weekly event for dancing with no drinks, no phones, and lots of getting down!). On Saturday, we’ll have Burn night at sunset featuring incredible performances and then an all-night sculptural bonfire… and at sunrise, we’ll gather together as a community for the Dawn of the Burning Sun, a highlight from last year including live music, guided meditation, movement and the most beautiful rising sun. On Sunday afternoon, we bring back our popular Junxion Beach Party. Throughout the event, we have an incredible selection of mind/body/spirit workshops, Ecstatic Dance at the Temple of Gratitude, and talks and panels all day at the School of Dreams. We also have partnered with The WOOM Center for sound healings and yoga; Junxion for tribal dance, drums and bass all night, and Lightning Society for deep house all night, so there’s really something for everyone. But may I suggest some of the best moments happen when they’re completely unplanned - it could be bumping into a friend from years back in the line for the portapotties! Be open to anything!
Self-expression and creativity are big calls to action for GM, and all the beautiful, colorful outfits, installations and tents of festival goers are all testaments to that. What are some ways participants can tap into their creativity and self-expression after the festival, and take these learnings into their daily lives?
We’ve had so many people come up to us after the festival about how their lives have changed, from starting to sing publicly after experiencing our open mic to being more accepting of their bodies after dressing in costume with no judgement. One of our goals is to bring together community so these moments can continue, and we’ve had dance party productions, DJ duos, festival organization companies and even married couples come out of our event! It’s all about believing in yourself and the reality you want to create, and stepping into the potential of your wildest dreams.
If you feel called to attend this year, we hope to see you there! Full details over on http://www.migratewith.us