Author Archives: Lyle Maxson

[Festival Preview] Mayan Heart Festival -Tikal, Guatamala – 12/20 – 12/23

The first annual Mayan Heart Festival is set to take place this December (20th-23rd) for the Winter Solstice at the Tikal Pyramids at Guatemala, with artists ranging from Desert Dwellers and Kaminanda to soothing sounds from the likes of Deya Dova and Liquid Bloom.

I couldn’t think of a better reason to pack up for Christmas and spend it abroad, enjoying a soulfully curated line up, hotel after parties, workshops, yoga, and a fire ceremony with the local Mayan natives that have been practicing it for millennia. Ahead of our trip, I sat down with Amaya, the founder of this one-of-a-kind festival.

TMN: Amaya, so happy to be talking with you about this unique festival I have heard so much about. I would like to dive into the obvious question, what will people expect for a festival experience at such a unique location as the Tikal Pyramids in Guatemala? Where will the stage production and musicians be?

A: IT IS HARD TO DESCRIBE MAGIC! We are working on creating an experience for the Main Event On the Solstice/Full Moon of December 21st which is the Maya Fire Ceremony. There, you will NOT see multi-million dollar technology, million watt sound systems or robotic lights!! People who are present on December 21st in Tikal will experience the highest of all technologies, the technologies which built the pyramids which “modern” science can’t figure out to this day how it was done!! You will experience The MAYA technology. On December 21st we have a very special alignment which is the Solstice with a full Moon and an alignment of the Star System Pleyades with the Earth. This combination along with our open hearts and intention will open the door for anyone to significantly affect their future and that of the planet.

TMN: With so much intention behind an event like this, what type of audience do you expect? Will there be a large electronic music crowd, or more of a yogi and Burning Man-centric audience?

A: This event will bring the Bird Tribes, the Rainbow Warriors and as we will see, these are peoples from every corner of the planet and all walks of life. We have already people coming from Austria, Brazil, France, Colombia, Costa Rica, Portugal, Australia, Canada, Africa, among other places.

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Lessons for a Lifetime. WORLDZ Was One For The Books

This past month, some of the worlds leaders in business, tech and entertainment gathered for a conference of epic proportions dubbed WORLDZ. Defined as a “cultural marketing summit”, the line up included Kelly Slater, Gary Vaynerchuk,, Deborah Dugan [CEO of (Red)], and Alexis Ohanian [Co Founder of Reddit].

I had heard some amazing rumors about its predecessor PTTOW! years ago, and knew that the evolution of that event was something I must attend. After an early morning flight, a 90 minute cab ride from LAX to Hollwood, and a quick run to the ATM for cash to pay the concierge to check my bag; I had finally arrived to the coveted event within the Dolby Theater.

Flash forward and I am sitting front row as Deepok Chopra presents Shaun White with a ‘Titan Award’, followed by some spectacular 80’s hair metal covers as Lucent Dossier danced in the background. I was dumbfounded, even Shaun White looked a little confused on how this was all happening at once. Lessons from the masters was an understatement, and with over 70 industries represented, the Titans were everywhere.

Uniting the top global leaders on the planet and integrating their stories into one consistent narrative was a brilliant approach to taking the audience right into the Universe of WORLDZ. And with pver 65 master courses taught by CEO’s, CMO’s, and cultural icons, it was set up as a accelerated learning university.

You are able to choose from a variety of classes happening all at once during multiple time slots throughout the day . The options seemed endless, it could be specific to your industry or you can actively avoid it by learning skills you’ve wanted to acquire for years. With the underlying themes being positive social change, cultural disruption, and taking your mission to the next level, you couldn’t go wrong.

From participate in a VANS workshop on experiential marketing and actually building a skateboard with a professional skater, to attending an augmented reality meditation class and having an open discussion on AR integrating into our daily lives; there was no creative ceiling to speak of, ideas was everywhere.

Each day way wrapped up by mingling with cultural idols and rising stars at a catered happy hour. There was an overwhelming feeling of acceptance withing that space, like everyone at the event realized we are all only humans (that all just happen to be up to some really kickass things!)

The sit down with Will.Iam and Gary V is just one of many fusions of industry they set out to intermix. Will has recently started an Artificial Intelligence company and Gary is one of his advisors. Their chemistry in this lecture would be hard to replicate. A feeling of deep, mutual respect and understanding for the amount of time they have both spent honing their completely unique set of skills radiated throughout the room

The energy was remarkable, the classes were intimate, and the speakers were people who all seemed to nonchalantly have 3 TED talks under their belt. It makes you think, when you put that many masters in one confined space, it seems certain to create an alchemical explosion of mass global shift.

To conclude the event you receive a standing ovation from a choir of people as you ascend the staircase to the main ballroom! “Losing site of the shore”, the theme of the second chapter in a 10 chapter series, I will certainly be back for Chapter 3. Elite performers, executives, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, creatives, game changers, and the future of tomorrow; all truly asking the same question, what Legacy do you want to leave?

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Supercharge Your Music Festival Experience at FestForums

Curating a powerhouse merger of festival and music leadership, FestForums® is the new zero point of music festival culture. November 16-18, experts at the forefront of dominant organizations such as Superfly, Goldenvoice / AEG, Insomniac, SXSW, Ultra, and more converge in Santa Barbara for a synergistic weekend exploring the next wave of festival development.

Defined by live music performances exclusive panels, emmy-nominated film screenings, and cutting-edge technology, this event is a multi-day mastermind group of music, food, beverage, and cinema festival industry thought leadership. With panels revolving around topics like branding your festival and monetizing your event’s social capital, event experts will explore how to sharpen the edge of your event’s experience from the bottom up. When it comes to branding, it’s recommended that you contact one of the top media agencies in Toronto.

Past FestForums® peak panel curation has featured inspired discussions from the likes of icons such as Quentin Tarantino, Bruce Dern, and The Weinstein Company’s Head of Music Richard Glasser. The talks will also feature a capable-yet-diverse set of hosts ranging from the CEO & Founder of Rhino Media: C R Capers, to leading entertainment lawyer William Hochberg.

FestForums® will also be partnering with Cinetransformer’s mobile theater for a special screening of the Emmy Award Nominated film series American Epic. The film focuses on contemporary music culture and interviews iconic artists from the last several decades over many genres. With Jack White as one of a core group of executive producers, this is for the music enthusiast in everyone.

Anyone interested in being a part of the conversation can find registration for FestForums® here. Be on watch for updates as the November 16th – 18th event date approaches and the next wave of music festival culture!

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Random Rab – Formless Edge [Album Review]

More than just a DJ or producer, Random Rab is a powerful figure head in the rapidly growing Transformational Festival scene. His sets have blurred the boundaries between genres, immersing his audience in music as a way of ceremony and deep connection to the cultures that surround.

Often a festival headliner, his patient, provocative journeys – for both sunrise and sunset – have become the rite of passage for festival goers from Lightning in a Bottle, to Boom, to Northern Nights, to Shambhala, to his seven consecutive Costa Rican sunrises at Envision Festival. His musical ceremonies in Black Rock City have become a Burning Man staple.

A luminary of the West Coast’s psychedelic-bass music scene, Random Rab rises to occasion with Formless Edge, his eleventh full-length solo opus, released on June 16, 2017 and available now.

Featuring 15 songs that unveil an ever-evolving transcendence of styles, each encoded with his unique eclectic vibration. Placing a focus on fidelity, and the delicate dance between the organic and electronic, Formless Edge transmits a bold frontier in sound design that incorporates over 30 unique instruments and collaborations with Lapa, Rigzin, Kyrstyn Pixton, Jason Kalidas, and Peia.

Rab’s album is a storied songbook and an amalgam of deftly blended instrumentation over organic electronics, the sonics of nature, and a mystical healing element that will leave you fixated on each track as they progress.

I’ve been approaching my electronic sound in a new way, focusing on analog frequencies and fidelity. As opposed to simply computer generated tones, I treat electronic sound like an instrument. I pull digital sounds into the analog realm to bring up the resolution and bring it back in so it’s actually a pristine analog recording

Formless Edge has all the elements of introspection and a journey to an ethereal world. His First single “Gimme That Hope” is the embarkation point, and Rab captains a patient and spirited build. “A Little More Free” is a mantra for self-empowerment, mined from a personal journey inward.

My favorite track is a song featuring the divine Tibetan Buddhist co-creator Rigzin called “Bodhicitta”, weaving together electronic beats with a captivating, powerful voice that takes your breath away and leaves you wanting more.

Amid the minimalist programming and signature electro his experimentalism truely shines as the album progress through “Outpost Aurora” and arrives at “Parallels”, One of three collaborations with Lapa, the songs are something you will want to continue to venture back to time and time again.

He truly is a magician, creating songs of faith and devotion, and inspiring a generation of dreamers to go deeper.

Formless Edge is available via major digital outlets including Bandcamp and iTunes. Special edition audiophile 24-bit flash drive and Formless Edge 6×6 8-page book of artwork is also available via Bandcamp.

In support of the new album, Random Rab is touring this summer with ten cities across North America and Hungary. His next stop being Northern Nights Festival July 14th-16th, followed by a stop in Hungary’s O.Z.O.R.A festival only to come back to North America for 4 of the top festivals in the world. Beloved, Shambala, Global Eclipse, and Burning Man.

I know I will be at 3 of those festivals and can not wait to witness these new tracks in person.

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[Event Preview] Symbiosis Gathering – Sept 22 – 25

There are types of festivals that help me get out of bed in the morning. They serve as anchors and living reminders of the parts of life that make us essentially human in an increasingly chaotic world. These high vibrational events are happening as a form of communion with the gods of dance, music, ceremony, native culture, and natural elements all around us. With the embers of this year’s Burning Man still glowing in people’s hearts, a younger more focused transformational gathering is right around the corner. Coming off if it’s first ever sold out festival Symbiosis Gathering returns to California’s Woodward Reservoir September 22-25 for its 2016 event ‘Family Tree’.

The theme this year says it all. A true combination of everything positive this world has to offer, centered around the tree that makes up all of life. The microcosm that blends all the energy on the planet is gathered here to be experienced for a few days. Wether it be spent on an Art Boat at the Swimbiosis Stage, or watching Amy Goodman speak while eating an Acai Bowl; there is no time wasted when everything is an experience waiting to be fulfilled.

Symbiosis really is on par with the top festivals in the world.. and they know it. With their artistry, timing, and setting they are able to create one of a kind moments. With morning ceremonies and sunset sets over a pristine landscape that satisfy every urge a human can possible conceive, it makes sense why they pride themselves on this unique ability. Hundreds of talks and workshops that touch on permaculture action, yoga and arts. Centered around its Hub space on-site, immersive programming ranged from cacao tasting to sacred leadership, hosted by cultural luminaries and academics from around the globe.

Oh and the music! Offering 6 individually crafted music stages nestled into a naturally occurring 5-pointed peninsula surrounded on all sides by the pristine swimmable water of the Reservoir, there is no better place to step out of the Matrix. RL Grime and Gramatik will be on the top of my list. Along with San Fransisco’s most sought after Dj An-ten-nae, who had a love set at the Swimbiosis stage at sunset last year that elevated the dance floor to another dimension. Unless I want to seduce a goddess listening to Hundred Waters or rock out to Santigold, I will be following the bass-heavy dance music at night like a mosquito to a porch light. It doesn’t stop there the Symbiosis’s all star family also includes Beats Antique, Claude Vonstroke, WarPaint, FKA Twigs, Justin Martin, Shiba San, Gaslamp Killer, Oh Wonder, and many more.

Make sure to Secure your ticket here. If you can’t make Symbiosis, this year don’t stress. This festivals serves as a precursor for what may be the burgeoning brand’s most important event to date: Symbiosis Gathering Oregon Eclipse 2017. On August 21st, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible over a small strip of land in the United States. Having secured a beautiful site situated in the direct path of the eclipse, Symbiosis will partner with revered international festival organizers to co-create an event unlike any in the world.

’Ta ku & Wafia – Meet In The Middle (Ekali Remix)’
’Cruel (Ta
ku Remix)’
’Gramatik – Anima Mundi Feat. Russ Liquid’
’FKJ – Lying Together’
’Lianne La Havas – Unstoppable (FKJ Remix)’
’The Gaslamp Killer – Nissim (with Amir Yaghmai)’
’Beats Antique – Beauty Beats’
’Seth Troxler – Junkyard Tool’
’Lee Foss – The Gift’
’Justin Martin & Ardalan Ft. PartyPatty
’Justin Martin
Don’t Go (Vip)’
’Claude VonStroke – The Rain Break’
’Claude VonStroke & Jesse Rose ‘Bare Mountain”
’Kaskade & Cid – Us (Ardalan Remix)’
’Shiba San – I Like Your Booty (Original Mix)’
’Nicole Moudaber & Skin – These Walls are Made of Water (Pan
Pot Remix)’
’Curses – Trouble Feat. SYF(Shiba San Remix)’
’Kanye West – Mercy (RL Grime & Salva Remix)’
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The Mystical Music of the Islamic Sufis arrives at Enchanted Forest [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

For some, the gathering of like-minded, free-spirited individuals in the forest for 4 days of non-stop music, workshops, speakers, and art is enough to transform the soul. To show you another way to live, a more enriched, fulfilled way of seeing the possibilities all around us. But for others, this is not enough. To satisfy the desires of a diverse crowd, Enchanted Forest doesn’t stop there. They bring some of the most unique attributes of the festival scene into play, including a liberating #freethenipple campaign, 24-hour shower parties, a 100 percent alcohol-free experience, and a “Save The Planet” charity initiative with Cadence & Cause, where you can win 2 all-inclusive tickets to the festival simply by donating.

To top it off, Enchanted Forest brings with them some of the most well know and carefully selected musicians the festival space has to offer. Including a fascinating 8 member Qawwali group called Fanna Fi Allah.

Qawwali music is something that most of us from the festival world have never heard of. It is a cultural phenomenon in South Asia and has been around for almost a thousand years, so why are we introduced to it now?

We sat down with their founder Tahir to ask a few questions of this uniquely inspiring band before heading into the forest.

TMN: So, how long have you guys been around and where do you play most of your music?

Tahir: We have been touring for 16 years and actually only play about 5% of our music at American festivals. Most is spent in Pakistan, India, and the Punjabi cultures in South Asia and the Middle East.
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