Cosmic Reunion is set on a 230 acre farm a hour outside of St. Louis, on the remnants of an old 1800s village. The descriptions sound so dreamy as is, but the theme and the mission of Astral Valley goes far beyond the weekend festival culture.
Founder Sheena Cox and Booking Agent/Partner Sean Anthony talked with FestivalsForLife about the mission statement of the festival.
“I like to explain it as a sculpture park slash music venue with a community of artists,” said Sean Anthony. “We have a pretty large garden, and we are developing fruit trees, grape vines and we have an amazing live spring.”
This is the next evolution of the festival culture. To be able to take the “leave no trace principle,” and employ different themes from different types of gatherings. Like Rainbow Gathering’s ideal of bringing people together in a collaborative effort to make a difference and build one another up or the Burning Man principles of bringing amazing art and mutant vehicles, and then endless workshops put on by sound and theme camps. Having that longevity employed by the Oregon Country Fair, where booths are kind of owned and used each year.
“It’s the ultimate Cosmic Reunion, it’s neat to see other people in our area catch on. Last year we have over 100 free workshops and activities that were put on by attendees, theme camps and performers,” said Cox. “We reached out and asked what do you want to share?”
“And we have had 100’s of responses about holding workshops, some for mutant vehicles, and there is more art that can be erected this year,” Cox mentioned.
“Having the space as our own has given us a different sense of what we can do there. We have hundred of workshops from people in the community coming to this year’s event. These workshops aren’t put on by us or organized by us, these are people sending in applications with skills to share,” said Cox.
“Each year they hope that the property will be made better and people will leave having grown in the community.”
“For instance, last year there were a group that made a small pool to swim in. No one told them to do it, they just thought it would be cool, and made it happen, and we left it, and enjoyed it all summer,” said Cox.
“There is a group out of St. Louis that teaches perma-culture and natural building skills, and they come each year and build cob ovens. This year there is a plan for a herb garden, a water catchment system, and more vegetable gardens,” said Cox.
“The workshops are broad ranging, making for a full experience, access to great music, atmosphere and education.”
Each sound and theme camp can bring whatever they chose, and with the ticket price comes free artist vending. FREE ARTIST VENDING!
Astral Gypsies, a puppet troupe that was comprised of artists that shared a common vision in taking art wherever they went and sharing the principles they learned along the way. They performed at small venues like farmers’ markets, to huge venues like EDC, that attracts a few hundred thousand people.
They collaborated together and found a living space which they call Astral Valley, and begun the process of building the venue space as an ever growing and evolving space.
“It’s been a learning experience getting all these people that worked and traveled together one event, and now we live together and have a space to always be creating and moving forward,” said Cox.