The first Symbiosis Gathering came from seemingly nowhere, the product of a previously unknown crew with ambitious ideas about how music, art, and education could come together to trasform and inspire, with redwood trees and spongy-soft terrain, a turquoise pond, a pool, and camping in sun and shade.
The people were colorful and vibrant; they danced at three stages, visited dozens of workshops and guest speakers , and bought handmade clothing and artisan creations from community vendors . The musical performances were diverse in scope yet alike in their exceptional quality, including locals and upcoming internationals, with the debut of several new producers and projects.
The visual art was abundant, with spontaneous installations dotting the trails and full-scale live creations from body-painting to glassblowing filling every available space. All these things merged and somehow the end result was vastly more than the sum of its parts ... A true symbiotic relationship between artists, producers and guests was created, embraced by the community, and urged to continue.
Guided by an elaborate organic visual aesthetic and a passion for integrating educational opportunities with music and performing arts, the Symbiosis Gathering events in 2005 and 2006 developed a new standard for interdisciplinary entertainment. Inspired to produce and participate in more local community projects to further refine these concepts, the Symbiosis crew found Yuri's Night Bay Area in 2007 to be the ideal first step toward expression of this vision.
Yuri's Night, hosted by NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA, was created to celebrate the anniversary of man's entry into space by astronaut Yuri Gagarin. The concept was to design an event to educate an audience of all ages about science and space in a multimedia experience. From its inception in 2007, Yuri's Night Bay Area has met and exceeded its ideals and continues to grow. World class musicians including The Black Keys , N.E.R.D., Common, Les Claypool, PLAID, Phil Lesh and many more have graced the tarmac stage, surrounded by massive scale art installations and costumed performers. Apple's Steve Wozniak, SimCity creator Will Wright, female astronaut Anousheh Ansari , and numerous NASA experts have been counted among the annual all-star roster of guest speakers . In 2010, the event was expanded into two days, with the first day composed of educational workshops and experiences (free to Bay Area students and educators) and the second day open to the public, with a full panorama of science, sound and art.
Over 4000 people from over two dozen countries streamed into California's historical Camp Mather, just outside Yosemite National Park, for a five-day experience that would bring together an astonishing collaboration of West Coast visionaries and globally renowned innovators. Musical acts ranged from Brazil's legendary psychedelic rock group, Os Mutantes, to American bands CocoRosie, Les Claypool and the Yard Dogs Road Show, to electronic artists Bassnectar, Pretty Lights and Shpongle, and literally hundreds more. Live performers from aerial acrobats to puppeteers to costumed stiltwalkers roamed the forested grounds. Massive visionary structures and installations created a surreal environment, with a giant metal treehouse, a temple made entirely of found objects, and the signature Symbiosis stage design and geometric shade covers. Sunny days were spent splashing in a teal blue lake, and nights were passed dancing and camping under the stars. Reviews were overwhelmingly positive; in comments posted online, numerous people said it was the best festival they'd ever attended.
The Symbiosis atmospheric style has been in such demand that Symbiotic Creations, a new division of the crew, was formally established in late 2009 in order to facilitate a modular presence at other events in the form of large scale spatial installations. Symbiotic Creations has been providing the stage and atmosphere design for parties at the DEFCON conference series in Las Vegas for the last several years, and made the official debut at Lightning in a Bottle 2010, in Irvine, CA, with an interactive art gallery and chill space known as The Temple of Reflections.