(A personal musing from our founder Alexander)
I was so fortunate to have parents that were avid readers. At a very young age, they introduced me to mystery, fantasy, biography and the enchanting art of storytelling. By the age of 5, I was already dragging my mother to the bookstore every month to get the latest edition of the Hardy Boys Case Files, a series of teenage crime capers for kids. I was enthralled by those books, the Hardy boys became my virtual friends and heroes. They enriched my mind, excited my heart and expanded my world.
As I got older I fell in love with science fiction, historical fiction and American classics, especially the work of John Steinbeck, reading his East of Eden no less than three times. During high school I discovered the versatile works of Michael Crichton, and it's difficult to encapsulate the incredible worlds he created for my fertile mind. I used to skip school just to stay in bed and devour his books. How he was able to blend reality and fantasy in so many mind-bending ways, is still a mystery to me. Most authors are thematic, but Crichton was beyond genre. You never knew what he would write about next, you just knew it would be unique, educational and epic. Truly a mark of incredible genius.
However, it was not his fiction, but his biographic book "Travels", which touched...
(Reflections from our first Costa Rica Gathering)
During our gathering in Costa Rica last month, I received a sweet reflection on the nature of our recent metamorphosis. Sound & Silence is a far different gathering now than it was in years past, but how? The answer is really rather simple and so beautiful in its simplicity, and I'm delighted to share it with you here...
There is nothing I contemplate more than Sound & Silence. Since the beginning, a passionate desire to create the world's most unique, transformative and heart opening gathering has driven me to the edges of artistry (and insanity). It has been a healthy obsession which has produced many profound experiences over the years.
Those first few years, I frustrated quite a few artist and organizer friends. They could not understand why a guy with so little experience would not listen to them. And of course they were all right. They had thousands of concerts and hundreds of festivals of knowledge and experience to draw from, while I had none, not as an organizer or as an attendee. In fact, I had never even been to a festival before I created Sound & Silence.
I was so lacking in experience that I didn't even know what a sound engineer was or how to book a venue. I didn't know the first thing about organizing events and what I was attempting to do.
I just knew that I was guided to create something unique and build something beautiful, and I trusted that I would learn everything I needed to know along the way.
Our 21 Points Of Light
Sound & Silence promises we will always:
1) Be a safe place for highly sensitive people
2) Be a small and intimate gathering. We will never sell more than 333 tickets
3) Be a one stage/space event. No FOMO. At S&S, we journey together
4) Honor the land, people and customs of the local places we gather
5) Be environmentally friendly and use clean, sustainable practices
6) Be a pure and sober event. No drugs or alcohol welcome in our event spaces
7) Be a Live Music event. We only have 1-2 dj sets per event. The rest is pure instrumental & vocal
8) Be a VIP FREE zone. You will never hear or see the words VIP. Everyone is equally important!
9) Be in a breathtaking place in nature, far away from city noise and large crowds
10) Be near a healing source of water (sea, lake, river, cenote etc.)
11) End our nights well before midnight (we start our yoga early!)
12) Be an inclusive event, open to everyone, regardless of background and economic situation
13) Have exquisite artistry, profound group workshops, and offer powerful healing arts
14) Have healthy and delicious food at a reasonable price
15) Be a gathering by artists for artists (and everyone is an artist!)
16) Strive to be a transformational gathering based on authenticity, kindness and love
17) Be a family friendly festival
18) Leave plenty of free time to enjoy the local atmosphere
19) Be a playful interplay between sound & silence, movement & stillness
20) Showcase new and incredible artistry
21) Promise to offer magic in abundance…
It is often said that "one should never air their dirty laundry in public", and in many cases this is certainly wise advice. However, when it comes to community, I feel that transparency, discernment and disclosure are vital. And when it comes to me personally, nothing less than radical honesty and vulnerability is acceptable. Above all else, I am here to grow, and that means passing through the fires of truth and transformation, and dancing with my shadows over and over again.
It also means to face the music.
As the brilliant creator of the Gene Keys, Richard Rudd, always says - "Every shadow contains a gift." And why keep that gift to yourself, when it can be shared and used as a manna and medicine to heal yourself and others?
Season’s Greetings dear friends!
I hope you don’t mind me sharing a long love note with you here, with some announcements about the future of Sound & Silence and a little embellishing of some of the details of my inner journey these last couple of months. So nice to come out of a prolonged silence with the sun shining on my face, pregnant with ideas, brimming with creativity and delighted to share with soul family! 😊 For the past 22 days I did not lay eyes on another human being, no contact at all. In fact, since December 1st, I have not left this property here by the lake in Hungary. No sound, only silence. And in the absence of all distraction, the gifts of gratitude, clarity, insight and simple joys returned to my now overjoyed being.
I arrived here back in late October as if lost and shrouded in a dense fog. But it didn’t take long for that fog to lift. This mystical land, the playground of my ancestors with its rich volcanic earth and abundant thermal waters, immediately began to sooth and heal my soul.
I have something I would like to share with you, you who are waiting for The Call. You know who you are. Four years ago I stepped out of my fearful little shoes and created Sound & Silence with one focused intention - to create something beautiful, unique and pure in this world. An offering of Love, something that speaks directly to the heart and soul of those resonant, selfless and loving beings who are meant to gather in unity consciousness together. Yes, you know who you are. You can feel it in your inner most being, in every cell of your body, in the voice of your deepest yearnings, in the ancient blood coursing through your veins - You know that there is a beautiful new world waiting to be birthed and that YOU have a significant part to play in midwifing this process.
You also understand that Sound & Silence is not a festival. At it's core, it is a mystery school, an alchemical process. We are not here for the music. The music is only a powerful tool we use to support our own transformational process. We are not here to simply enjoy a good party either, although we will certainly enjoy this celebration very much. You know deep in your heart that we are gathering here to bring our own ecstatic joy, love, light, artistry, mastery and magic into this transformational pot, because you believe that together we will radiate enough love and light to heal the most wounded parts of this planet.
Yes, you know who you are, and I am asking you to come forth now. I am asking you to come home.
I know you are out there, I can feel you. Many of you are hurting inside, you are desperately wanting to come so much it pains you, but you can't see how. It is too expensive, it is too difficult, it is too much you say...
The time is now.
Your presence is needed.
Please do NOT let money be your obstacle. I will make sure it won't be. If it is, I invite you to write to me now. Share with me your story, and we will find a way together. Having our tribe here is more important than any financial considerations on my side.
If you are meant to be here, you will not be denied passage.
I love you. You are my soul family. You are my reason for being here. Together we will create the more beautiful world we all know is possible. It will take courage, faith and resolution. It will take fierce love. But first it will need you to say yes and make the long journey to Corfu.
I wait for you with open arms and a wide open heart.
In Love May We Trust,
Sarvaan ((( <3 )))
7 years ago, I walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostella, starting in a small village in the French Pyrenees and ending near the Spanish Atlantic Ocean 6 weeks and more than 800kms later. It was the greatest (outer and inner) journey of my life, and to this day leaves a deep imprint on my soul.
But one day in particular stands out above the rest, an experience I will never forget. Like all previous days, I woke up early with the intention to walk the usual 30kms. On this day however, after only 7kms I came across a small village with a cute little church with inviting energy. As I approached the door I was greeted by the shining eyes of the volunteer host who was stewarding that “Donativo” (a donation based church hostel).
He welcomed me inside and gave me a short tour. When we reached the large dining hall, the first thing I noticed was the donation box, a small and humble wooden container which was wide open and filled with cash. What touched me the most was not the openness of the box and the trust of the volunteer, but the beautiful note written on it –
“Give What You Can, Take What You Need”
This message deeply touched me and I knew I was in the right place, so I dropped my backpack and settled in. Not long after, I was in the kitchen joyously making dinner with about 15 other pilgrims, making new friends and soaking in the beautiful energy of that loving place. I learned that all the food we were preparing that evening was paid by the pilgrims who passed through the previous night. That when I too continued my journey, the next group of pilgrims would be eating from my donation. That some nights they have a huge feast and some nights a very modest one. Everything depends on the generosity of those who walk before us. Powerful!
While some meals were meager, what was never in short supply in that little haven was love, caring, support, devotion and someone to share food and a good story with. I also learned on that day that there is a lot of abundance in living simply, walking slowly and giving what you can.
This experience is coming up for me a lot lately, as I organize these gatherings that many judge as being too expensive, too inaccessible, only for the rich etc. I hear all these complaints and each of them leaves a bruise in my little ego. I never wanted to create something expensive and exclusive. Like all artists, I wanted to create something unique and pure, something extraordinary to be enjoyed by all, regardless of financial situation.
Not many people know the incredibly high costs of creating something like Sound & Silence. I have not spoken about it much, as I’m always advised to avoid this topic of money. But I don’t agree. I believe in transparency. I believe in honesty, openness and authenticity above all else, and I don’t feel that financial matters should be hidden in the dark and whispered about in secrecy.
The truth is, I also feel Sound & Silence is too expensive. I have not yet figured out a way to make it cheaper. I have not figured out how to offer a high-quality program with exceptional artistry, on a Greek island paradise and with a limited number of tickets (300) to keep it small and intimate.
We are not like other festivals with huge sponsors and deep pockets selling thousands upon thousands of tickets for an event near a big city with millions of potential guests. Unfortunately, for us to offer such high quality (we are not willing to lower it) in such a small and beautiful space (we will never be big or near a city) and to be sustainable we have to have higher ticket costs. Either that, or we need to find donors, benefactors and patrons who do have money and resources and want to support our mission and vision.
But maybe there is another way. I would love for all tickets of Sound & Silence to be donation based. I believe we can live in a world and operate in a way where “Give What You Can and Take What You Need” is our new sacred economy.
In order for this to work, however, in order for anything to work, we need to find balance. We need to be sustainable.
Yesterday a friend contacted me after reading a recent post I wrote similar to this topic. Without being asked, she opened her heart and her wallet to support this vision that she deeply resonates with. Not only did this move me to tears but it created a spark in me.
Yes, there is another way.
I know there are people out there, people with more abundance than most, people looking for a reason to give, searching for an honorable and pure project to support with money they are not using. If you are one of them, please contact me, I ask for your support to help me build this tribe into the transformative force I know it will be. That it already is.
And please know that I am not an ambitious man. I am no business man. I am not interested in fame or fortune and I do not covet material things. I am a man driven by Art and Beauty and with a mission to connect extraordinary souls who share a loving heart resonance. I don’t want your money, I ask for your love, essence, purity, passion, purpose and generosity. I have learned that I can build beautiful things, that I can manifest my dreams. But I also know that I can’t do any of this alone. And while I do not feel comfortable asking for it, I need your help.
This year we had almost 200 volunteer requests, 200 people who wished to offer their skills, talents and hearts to this vision. 200 people who could not afford the price of admission…. Unfortunately, we can only welcome 25 volunteers. We offered huge discounts to the rest, and a handful will come, but for more than 150 people it was still too much.
It is too late for most of them now, but there is still time for some. Is there anyone out there who is resonating with this message and wanting to sponsor some of these rejected volunteers? Anyone ready to “Give What You Can” so that 1, 5 or 25 of these selfless souls can make the trip to Corfu and experience the wonderment of Sound & Silence with us?
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter, thank you for taking the time to breathe all this in. Thank you for waiting in the wings and providing a lift for those of us who want to fly higher. Thank you for being the Dreamcatcher for a thousand splendid suns who do not yet know the power and radiance of their light. Thank you for Being.
May you be blessed where you are, and in Love may we all Trust.
Alexander is the founder and creative director of S&S Gatherings, and he loves to write! Here is a collection of some of his writings, musings and sharings. Feel free to leave a comment, we would love to hear from you!