Kinnection Campout 2018: The East Coast’s Premier Transformational Festival

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Kinection, you done did it again! Sorry, not sorry, for that crazy, heart-opening, mind blowing weekend—let me tell you!

Let’s see… where to start?

First and foremost I was ecstatic to share this experience with my darling partner, Hannah for the first time! This was made possibly by partnering with Alexis Chateau PR for a free ticket. The catch? Have a great time and write this amazing report about all that happened—complete with pictures!

So what happened?

I had the great privilege to fly across the country to surprise my mother for Mother’s Day in Atlanta and participate in one of my favorite events of the year. We had planned for many months to take time away from our busy lives in the foothills of the Sierras, developing and coordinating the California Global Youth Peace Summit. It was totally worth it.

After taking a year off last summer, Kinnection Campout had even more community fervor and excitement going into this 7th installation at a beautiful new location in Tennessee, 2.5 hrs from its previous home in Asheville, NC. It featured large grassy fields nestled in a temperate rainforest. And with all the camping alongside a refreshing river, it was a picturesque destination for this village to build itself for the weekend.

Friday, Day 1

The opening ceremony on Friday evening sparked things off right, with the honoring of the directions and the indigenous land we would be dancing on by passionate local elder, Sangoma Olodoye, and the always charismatic and poignant LEAF Festival’s Performing Arts coordinator, Ehren Cruz.

Participants were encouraged to look out for each other, to seek true connection with one another and as a zero-waste event, to pack out your own trash. There are no waste bins throughout the event—only numerous water stations.

The stages were seamlessly laid out based on the elements. The Earth Stage housed most of the music. The Air Stage hosted talks and many live music groups. There was also the Water Temple and the most important, Sacred Fire. Additionally, a new stage was rolled out this year called The Hive, which had a surprise schedule of some of our favorite artists, including:

  • Colin You Home
  • Mose
  • Suspencer
  • Brian Hartman

They shared their creations in a beautiful tent with a honeycomb stage design, outfitted with plush seating and pillows galore. 

In addition to these spaces, the heart and soul of the gathering are truly the carefully selected workshops happening from 9-5 each day amongst 11 different spaces, including:

  • The Permaculture Plaza, with plant and mushroom walks
  • 3 Earth Skills Village zones, with fork carving and didgeridoo making
  • Healing Dome, with Thai massage intro and council discussions
  • Kids Village, Communication Tent

—and so much more!

Friday morning, Charles Eisenstein, the internationally touring keynote speaker and Asheville local, had shared a talk entitled The Gift Economy and the Commons to a jam-packed room of eager ears, after which Hannah Jermstad, being charmed by the region’s accent, and first time firefly encounter, facilitated a discussion called Awakening Soul Purpose.

During the same class period, as I was helping with the video recording of this talk, I had to pop in to see Asa Dean’s informative Intro to Trauma Education, and got to check out Non-Profit Fundraising and Development to assist in our work currently crowdfunding for lifechanging work with refugee and fostered youth leaders from 20+ different countries (Please help SHARE & SPREAD THE WORD:

The rest of the day was filled with basking in the sun on the river, and getting silly with Asa in from Kauai at his Improv Games playshop. That evening, we enjoyed a delicious dinner with nourishing conversation to gear up for a fun night of dancing to the sounds of Entheogenic and Hibernation.

I had been waiting to even just see them on a festival lineup for years! Erothyme, Manatee Commune, Infinite Geometry, and Hakou were other favorites to get down and muddy with in front of the beautifully decked out stages on just the first night.

Saturday, Day 2

Saturday rolled in with a pleasant cloud cover, as the community woke to the smells of breakfast burritos and cacao infused chocolate wafting through the grounds. Meanwhile, eager Kinnectors engaged in Tai Chi and Kirtan singing.

That morning, Hannah had the unique opportunity to sit in a powerful 4-hour women’s sweat lodge with Sangoma, the African-American elder. Meanwhile, I slept in after a night of dancing, and then went to Steve Torma’s Art of Intimacy for a refresher on non-violent communication.

This was followed by Remaya’s Art of Circling workshop. During this class period, I was again conflicted, struck with FOMO, and wanted to clone myself to be at the Blockchain Panel. But alas, the flow dictated otherwise.

That night, after a short rain intermission, we returned to get funky to more of our favorite carefully crafted tones of Earthcry (Anthony- Guitarist for Papadosio), Yaima, Kaya Project, and Merkaba all the way from Australia! I had hoped to go to sleep and wake up for the Feverkin auditory blessing of the sunrise, but instead just enjoyed what I could hear in the distance from the comfort of my bed alongside the river.

Sunday, Day 3

Waking to a cold water river dip meditation just steps outside our tent door, Sunday started by polishing coconut waters in lieu of our morning smoothie, as we headed to Hannah’s final workshop—Integrating the Experience, an all too rare offering: resourcing individuals with action steps and musings on how to walk our festival experience in our daily lives with our families and home community.

We then stayed for Jahsun’s Fatherhood as an Initiation and Spiritual Practice Panel with inspiring dialogue, where couples and individuals shared experiences on how raising children naturally “mans you up”.  Talk about real talk and doing “the work” at a festival!

To close the workshop afternoon, we were invited by good friend, Dr. Nick Atlas, to the Visionary Council on Collective Intelligence and Social Change. This curated a roundtable dialogue on the intersection of festivals and the default world.

Sunday wrapped up with lots of hugs and gratitudes shared with old and new friends alike to the sweet tunes of Mose, Numatik, Moon Frog, and Kalya Scintilla. It ended in a similar manner to how it started—with a beautiful closing ceremony.

This sealed the energy of the event and sent everyone home with bundles full of inspiration and rejuvenation, showing what is possible when people come together and give of themselves and strengthen the feeling of interconnectedness.

A big thanks to all that made this possible! See ya next year! ❤

Full Gallery

About the Author

Dima and Hannah
Dima & Hannah

Dima Abelsky is a philanthropy coordinator at California Global Youth Peace Summit and sponsor liasion at Sudden Hospitality. His attendance at the Kinnection Campout event was sponsored by Alexis Chateau PR.

About Kinnection Campout

What began years ago as a community campout has maintained the close-knit feel and inclusive and active ethos that positions it in a rare breed of events, called Transformational Festivals. In this day and age of corporate and fiasco festivals, it is critical to highlight the difference, in that a Transformational Festival is a “counterculture festival that espouses a community-building ethic, and a value system that celebrates life, personal growth, social responsibility, healthy living, and creative expression.”

Kinnection really stands out as an event focused on holistic lifestyle, weaving ancestral wisdom urging its patrons to be participants and practice right and regenerative relations and engagements throughout and beyond the weekend. In the downloadable program, the gathering describes its intention to “inspire each of us to play our part in The Great Turning, empowering each of us with the tools to carry this out in our lives. We seek to foster a community of bright individuals who dream big, think critically and act compassionately.”

Kinnection Campout’s talented staff, crew and volunteers built the framework to host 75+ internationally renowned musical acts, 100+ distinguished workshops, and talks along with 25 different visual artists on display in the multi medium art gallery, plus live painting to the music by the Earth Stage each night.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. I enjoyed reading your column. It sounds like everyone had a wonderful time. It’s always great to see current friends and make new ones. I have a few questions for you. How long does it take you to write an column? I am like the slowest writer. Typing is definitely not my strong suit. I prefer writing on my blog using my cellphone as opposed to using my computer. When writing should I write a little bit every day until I am finished writing a story? Or should I map out a schedule? Your advice would be greatly helpful. Thank you.


    1. Hi Robert. Thanks for dropping by! We’re glad you enjoyed the blog post about the trip to Kinnection Campout.

      The questions you ask, the answer differs per writer. Everyone has their own writing routine and styles. It also depends on the material we’re writing, and our daily schedules, which may vary. Some content takes 20 minutes and some takes days. So ultimately, it’s up to you.

      We would not recommend blogging from your phone unless the posts are really short and mostly pictures, or if you have a Bluetooth keyboard for your phone. Most of the phone-bloggers we know have websites riddled with typos that they miss on a smaller screen. We type a lot of things via a Bluetooth keyboard and a phone, but we edit and format on a PC—always.

      Hope this helps. If you ever need editors or a hands-on coach, you know how to find us. 😉

      All the best!


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