Cosmic Convergence is a small transformational festival that takes place annually over New Years, on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. I’ve been to many of these types of festivals, but the vibes at this one stand out from the rest. Here are the main reasons why:
At Cosmic Convergence, I met people from every continent (excluding Antarctica) and almost every country in South America. This is something you just don’t get to experience at most North American or European festivals.
It really enforces the fact that this is a global movement, and that the values usually present at these types of events are shared by people all around the world.
Something that helped bring together such a diverse crowd was the fact that the festival makes tickets half price for Latinos, due to the income gap between Latin and Western countries. Although some see this as controversial, it’s an initiative that I fully support. It was great to be able to meet many Guatemalans and South American’s at the festival.
There were also many opportunities to learn about the local Mayan culture, from ceremonies to workshops and other events.
Cosmic Convergence has a jam-packed schedule of workshops. At any given time, there were numerous different events going on, which I thought was quite impressive for a festival of this size.
I also really enjoyed how there was no music during the day (except for New Years Day). This really helped take the focus away from the partying, and more-so on self-development, meaningful conversations, and getting to know others.
The music also ended quite early most nights (once again, with the exception of New Years Eve/Day). In a way, this forced most attendees to get a good night’s rest. I felt this was part of the reason that many people were actually doing things during the day, rather than sleeping off their hangovers. 21-year-old me would’ve been appalled that out of a 4-day festival, there was only one sunrise set. But I’ve definitely matured since then, and I genuinely appreciated the music ending early, and the positive consequences it had.
One of the most influential aspects of any festival is the size. Cosmic Convergence has around 3000 attendees, making it a relatively small festival compared to others. Because of this, the sense of community is very strong.
Unlike at a festival of 50 000+ people, you're bound to see the same people over and over, and thus, are able to make stronger and more meaningful connections.
The grounds itself is also small, which makes it easy to get anywhere in the festival. How annoying is it to have to walk half an hour from your tent to the main stage, and then realize you forgot something and have to go back? This was never an issue, as everything at Cosmic Convergence was within a 10-minute walk or less.
A harm reduction NGO called Programa de Análisis de Sustancias was on-site offering free drug testing and other information. They also told me that a very high percentage of their tests were coming back positive. Less unknown substances going around means less risk of drug-related incidents.
There was also a healing space and a comfortable, warm building, where you could go to chill out, if needing a break from it all.
How many festivals have you been to with a volcano as a backdrop?
There was never a long line for the washrooms or food vendors. There were reasonably priced food options and free water on site. Efficient staff members were at the gate checking people in - no hour long waits. Almost everything about the event was eco-friendly, from the bio-construction of the structures and stages, to the reusing of plates.
The organization that runs the festival is a non-profit and funds generated go back into the local community. As a result, they have a great relationship with the locals. They also run social outreach projects throughout the year in the area.
Each of these points contributed to the unique vibe present at this festival. There's no doubt that I'll be returning. On a personal note, I was a member of the media team, and was able to help capture the festival. Here are a few more of my favorite shots:
My entire album of the festival can be seen on Facebook.