September 26, 2023

Lotus Gathering: Part Spiritual Retreat, Part Music & Arts Festival

An Experience for Those Seeking Connection, Community, and Healing

For most music and arts festival-goers, music is the big draw — at least, initially. But festivals are so much more than that. They’re an opportunity to just be — to lose yourself blissfully in the music, the art, and the vibes. Even more than that, music festivals are an opportunity to open yourself up to transformation, surrender to the flow, and invite infinite possibilities into your life. 

Music festivals can be downright transformative. But sometimes, when the goal IS transformation — a different kind of magic happens. When intention is placed on attending to the mind, body, and spirit, festivals can be deeply healing experiences. Perhaps that is why, in a world society where swimming uphill seems to be the most widely shared experience, transformational festivals are on the rise. 

Yet, even most transformational festivals tend to prioritize music and art, while the spirituality and mind-body-soul learning opportunities can seem like after-thoughts. Learning and workshop spaces are often tucked out of the way, with just a few workshops early in the morning, when most attendees are asleep and recovering from a late night. That’s not to say it’s always like this. And, when they’re placed centrally and made a focal offering, workshop spaces are often tightly packed — so much so that it’s not always easy to participate fully, express yourself authentically, or make meaningful connections. 

The Music Festival Model, Flipped on its Head

An body painting and consent workshop.
Body painting and consent workshop.

Enter Lotus Gathering, happening this year Dec. 8–12 at Florida Sand Music Ranch in Brooksville, FL. A new kind of camping festival experience is emerging — a mix of an intensive, small-group retreat and a transformational festival. It’s small — intimate, and it’s meant to be life-altering in the best of ways.  

Except for the downtempo set that accompanies yin yoga each morning, the covered stage is quiet during the daytime hours. Instead, the space is transformed into a giant workshop space. There is carpeting, inflatables, and meditation cushions for participants to sit on. A full workshop lineup includes topics like fostering gratitude, forgiveness, and resilience; healing generational trauma through modalities like family constellations and mirror work; and guided breathwork and meditation journeys. 

Yoga in the morning.
Every day starts with a yoga session at Lotus Gathering.

The space isn’t very crowded. You have room to move, move through your emotions and unprocessed trauma, and grow. The people around you become fast friends. You’re all healing together, becoming more whole together. As you look around, you find yourself among your tribe, with a deep sense of belonging. This is a place of radical inclusion, where recognition that we are all collections of stardust wrapped in bodies of different kinds and colors, reigns. It’s a space where healing is magnified, because when we heal together, the healing is better.

Music as Medicine for the Soul

Person flowing with LED toy.
The flow toys come out at night as Lotus-goers find themselves flowing to the music.

In the evening hours, the stage comes alive with music across a wide variety of genres, but they share one thing in common — a high-vibrational energy. Whether you’re moving to some electronic beats a la psytrance, tribal house, or future bass, going deep with some psychedelic ambient sounds, jamming to some uplifting soul music, or getting down with some dope conscious rap, you’ll find that every musical act on the Lotus Gathering music lineup is there in service of helping to raise the collective frequency. These artists know how to take listeners on a transformative journey into their own heart space.

Our resident DJ\Producer, Dharmadrum, is a long-time staple of the ecstatic and conscious dance scene in the Tampa Bay and St. Pete area. Dharmadrum joins this year’s Lotus Gathering as an event partner. A man who places spirituality and consciousness at the center of all his musical pursuits, Dharmadrum is the perfect anchor for the Lotus Gathering music program. 

This year’s lineup includes some returning electronic music artists, including future bass producer TELOS369 and ambient storyteller Chords & Arrows, taking listeners on distinctly psychedelic journeys. Lotus Gathering welcomes both of these up-and-comers in the electronic music scene as friends and integral members of the Lotus team. TELOS369 is also part of Ananda Embodied, a conscious collective of artists, creators, and spiritual practitioners who are passionate about promoting bliss embodiment; and originator of #PartywithPurpose, a collective movement in the electronic music event scene promoting conscious intention, personal growth, presence, and spirituality.

Another Lotus Gathering music alumni is Türen, a psy-trance artist from Saginaw, Michigan. After moving to Denver, Colorado in 2021, he started collaborating with his brother DJ EYEawake and released their first track on Goa Records that same year. His sound is influenced by music around the world, creating a unique deep, textured, and tribal psychedelic electronic dance experience.

Four new electronic acts joining this year’s Lotus Gathering are: 

  1. Hiburu, which means “language of light,” and whose music is a representation of his life’s purpose — helping listeners along their journeys of self-realization with infinite love through sound journeys that are simultaneously meditative, psychedelic, and primal. 
  2. Meeshy, who brings the divine feminine to the dancefloor with eclectic soundscapes of electrifying beats, ambient melodies, female vocals, and a connection to the spiritual word, empowering self-expression, and allowing her audience to surrender into this cosmic dance of life.
  3. ReCycledChyld, a long-time regular of the Florida underground electronic scene previously known as Ikonoklazm, melds sounds from across a variety of electronic subgenres including breaks, trance, progressive, psy, and drum and bass into surprisingly smooth sets full of uplifting energy and psychedelic undertones to elevate your heart while facilitating a smooth glide into the world beyond the matrix.
  4. Moonbeam, a newer arrival to the electronic scene, brings a mix of bass, dubstep, tribal beats, and downtempo sounds to induce a state of flow and create energy that’s good for the soul.

Stage music doesn’t go on all night, but when the stage gets quiet, you can find a drum circle gathered around the sacred fire. A silent disco ecstatic dance with some of the area’s best electronic DJ/producers also starts up once the stage gets quiet. Attendees can be seen dancing away into the late-night hours while surrounded by visionary art by the likes of TELOS369 and

Check out the 2023 Official Lotus Gathering Spotify Playlist!

A Transformational Festival Rooted in Personal Growth

Personal growth and connection at Lotus Gathering.
Personal growth and connection at Lotus Gathering.

Lotus Gathering is a labor of love — a co-creation between three friends and spiritual entrepreneurs — Dharmadrum (otherwise known as David DiBernardinis, Jr.), The Easy Yogi (Helen Blaaker), and The Gaia Revolution (Cynthia Gomez), along with a large group of artists of all kinds, healers, teachers, and builders who resonated with the Lotus Gathering vision — to provide a deeply healing reprieve from daily life, a weekend away in the woods with art and music and tons of mind-body-spirit healing experiences. 

With zero budget in 2022, its first year, and nearly zero budget again, Lotus Gathering isn’t a flashy production. It’s an event rooted in building community, paying careful attention to the details that matter most, and providing a thoughtfully curated experience to those called to walk this path, to dive deeply within to be the change they wish to see in the world. Perhaps that’s why nearly every artist who performed last year asked to be invited back this year. 

We called it Lotus Gathering in honor of Thích Nhất Hạnh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, peace activist, and so-called “father of mindfulness,” who had died a couple of months before the idea for the event was born in early 2022. Having lost one of its brightest lights, the world suddenly felt a little darker without him. But from this emerged the realization that it’s more important than ever to step up and shine brighter, to walk in the footsteps of our spiritual elders. Lotus Gathering is for those seeking to find their way out of Māyā, the Sanskrit word for the Matrix. It’s the illusion that the world is as we perceive it through the lens of our senses, beliefs, programming, and upbringing. In transcending Māyā, we find deeper truths, enlightenment, and a return to our highest selves. 

One of Hạnh’s books, No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering,” is about transforming the pain that life inevitably throws at us into happiness by leaning into the challenging things with curiosity and compassion rather than running from them. Because we live in a world of duality, happiness and suffering cannot exist without each other, and where there is one, we can find the other. 

Lotus Gathering is a nourishing soil in which like the lotus flower, we can bloom together. It is a sacred container to be present with the entirety of ourselves, to heal that which pains us surrounded by beauty on all levels. It is about tapping into a bliss of our own making, regardless of whatever else may be going on in our lives. A uniquely immersive experience, Lotus Gathering is a place to get lost in yourself, in nature, in sound, and in art. It is fertile soil for growth, for connection and reconnection, and for finding your purpose and passion. It’s a place where music is not just entertainment, but also one of many vehicles for transformation. 

If big festivals leave you feeling burnt out — perhaps happy but needing a month-long coma to recover, and you’re seeking more than the typical music and arts offerings, Lotus Gathering may be just what you need. Buy your tickets now at

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