Sisters that Stray

How Envision Has Evolved into the Most Important Festival in Latin America and Worldwide

Envision logoBy Manda and Meleah Manning of Sisters That Stray

Luigi Jiménez of Santos & Zurdo has been with Envision Festival since its inception 10 years ago. He manages all the music bookings and communications for the festival in Latin America.

He recalls how much the festival has grown not only in size, but also in impact, over the last 10 years.

“The first Envision was 700 people. Last year, more than 6,000 people attended from all over the world, making Envision one of the most important festivals not only in Costa Rica, but in Latin America and worldwide. No matter where you are in the world, there’s someone who knows about Envision.”

Volunteers preparing to plant treesJust like any project of its size, it’s been a learning process for everyone involved—the team, the crew, the family—who have formed to create this change in their community and on our planet.

“It was a journey for sure. There was no road. We made the road when we started walking,” says Luigi, looking back on the process.

“In the beginning, it started as a party. But it has evolved into something that gives you so much more than that. It’s more than an experience. It’s a place for people to come together and share thoughts and ideas of how we can live in a better place and learn from each other and be better people. It’s something really magical that not all festivals have. It gives you the opportunity to learn from the other people that come to contribute to this community. All together, we build an experience that each one of us can carry with us back to our homes.”

Young woman planting a treeThe community in Uvita and across Costa Rica have been a part of this learning experience, as well.

“Costa Rica is conservative, and Envision is quite avant garde,” says Luigi. “In the beginning, it was complicated with the community because not everyone understood. They thought we were just making a party with really loud music and a lot of hippie-style people pouring in from all over the world.”

“So, we started by creating a conversation and an alliance with the community to take what Envision is doing inside the festival and share it with the people, building a community in Uvita. We were creating and learning from each other, and they realized that we are not just crazy hippies—we are creating something that can inspire change for a much better world.”

Group cleaning a beach“Now, we have a great alliance with the community and government and they fully support the festival. They understand what Envision is for the community of Uvita. We do a beach clean-up before and after Envision every year. It has changed their perspective—they realize we are not what they were thinking.”

“During all these 10 years we have been giving the same value and experience to the community that we give inside the festival. In the end, it has become part of a movement that affects the community in a really positive way.”

The beautiful country of Costa Rica is at the heart of what makes Envision so special.

Luigi explains, “How can Envision be possible within a country that doesn’t have an army? This is something that impresses the foreigners that attend. And how green the country is, how healthy the food is—we are sharing this wellness and gratitude of our home country with the festival. That makes us grow.”

“At the beginning, we knew we wanted to share nature, a really great lineup of music, hold workshops and help people learn, and to build with bamboo and natural architecture. Those small details are still at the core of what Envision is. The principles have remained, but now they’re stronger than ever.”

“Now each one of Envision’s seven pillars (music, art, sustainability, education, health, movement and spirituality) has space. You can go to the beach and meet new people. You can do yoga. You can see great music and art. You can attend an educational workshop and learn a new way of being and living.”

Group tree plantingWhen asked how he sees the festival evolving in the future, he says, “It will be a worldwide movement made up of people who are conscious of what we need more of in the world—how, from a place centered around music, wellness, spirituality, sustainability and art, we can make our world better.”

“And I’ve seen it for myself. I saw the first year, and I’m part of that evolution. I can see how the people who come for the first time are those who keep coming back. They have also seen this evolution of the festival and seen it inside themselves too.”

Envision is leading the example not only for festivals, but for all events and movements around the world. Envision is a festival of the future.
“In the moment from when you come to Envision, seeing your favorite artist and everyone dancing—and there is no garbage on the ground. Something so simple. Don’t waste. Let’s start talking about the easy things.”

Bamboo structure“It is what’s in the heart of Envision. For example, how can you learn from others? You start seeing everything differently. It becomes a way of living. It makes an impact on us individually and collectively, to change for the better and to be a better neighbor.”

“You leave the festival with a responsibility. You leave Envision with a learning, and that learning must be shared with everyone.”