A love letter

Companheiras e Companheiros,

We know that times are strange. Often confusing. Sometimes scary. But these times are also unique, you can feel that History is being written in real time. As the shadow of dystopia drifts by, there is also unprecedented global attunement. Emotional. Spiritual. Virtual. So we decided to write you a love letter.

Even though now it feels like we are worlds apart, we still believe in our joint trip. We love sharing and creating with you, and the idea of summer nights filled with music, dance and sweet, human contact is something we have all been longing for. But that idea seems less and less likely. This has triggered two main responses in us. Deep gratitude for treasured memories and the things we took for granted, and a deep reevaluation of what our role in all this is. As ravers, festival organisers, curators, musicians, performers, cooks, photographers, gardeners, alchemists, builders, painters, designers, writers, dreamers, what is our niche in a pandemic? Well, the same as it was pre-pandemic. Festivals are melting pots of possibility where future forms of community and consciousness can be imagined. They nourish the primal human need for ecstatic experiences, rituals and connection. We are the torch-bearers of a long, rich and particularly crazy lineage – strange humans that worship art, sound, and experimentation, who come together to play and explore the frontiers of the human spirit.

As a community, we are spread across the globe. While this is something we treasure, as it stands now, it would not be responsible to bring us all together in the same physical space. The wellbeing of our local hosts, the people of Crato and Alentejo, as well as every participants’ health and safety is paramount. Therefore we will not be gathering around the lake in Crato in 2020. This doesn’t mean we are calling things off till next year. That wouldn’t make sense, since we need to be here for each other, now more than ever. Waking Life exists to explore the unknown and imagine the (im)possible, and the community spirit is certainly not limited to the idea of a gathering around the lake. It lives inside each of us.

We understand that some of you might be wishing that things could just go back to normal, but in the words of Indian author Arundhati Roy – “Nothing could be worse than a return to normality. Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world.”

While the hard truth of our summer dreams has begun to unfold, we found a spacetime glitch granting us passage to an alternate 2020 where Waking Life by the lake was still in full swing. We tried our best to merge this reality to our own, but something went wrong… everything fragmented and scattered across worlds and we were left stranded in another dimension. We are now embarking upon a rescue mission and we need your help to collect all the pieces and put them back together.

We might not be meeting on the lakeside dancefloor, but the whole Waking Life team is transitioning to a Parallel Edition that will take place beyond merely the virtual realm, starting as you read and evolving over time… We will be involving many of the artists, performers, workshop leaders, activists, collectives, and you, should you decide to join us on this wild, off-road quest. 

Our goal was never to find a recipe that works, and then constantly repeat it, but to reinvent ourselves at every edition, always evolving, ever surprising. We couldn’t foresee a pandemic, but together we can choose how to respond to it. This is a chance to flip the script on how we connect, how we find meaning, how we heal our home, how we create, share and experience art. We can learn to travel with our eyes closed and be with one another in ways we haven’t yet imagined.

We can’t help but lift this line from Linklater’s film, with which we share our name.

“Things have been tough lately for dreamers. They say dreaming is dead, no one does it anymore. It’s not dead, it’s just that it’s been forgotten, removed from our language. Nobody teaches it so nobody knows it exists. And the dreamer is banished to obscurity. Well, we’re trying to change all that, and we hope you are too. By dreaming, every day. Dreaming with our hands and dreaming with our minds. Our planet is facing the greatest problems it’s ever faced, ever. So whatever you do, don’t be bored. This is absolutely the most exciting time we could have possibly hoped to be alive. And things are just starting.”

Lovingly yours,

A famĂ­lia do Waking Life

*As a ticket holder, you will have the option to participate in the WL 2020 Parallel Edition – The Space Between, and / or transfer your ticket (or a part of it) to next year’s edition. All ticket holders will receive an email within 7 days with more information and the next steps. Make sure to also check your spam folder.

*The financial consequences for the Waking Life project are real. If you’re not a 2020 ticket holder but you feel part of the Waking Life family and want to support us in any way, or if you’re curious about our Parallel trip, please write to us directly at thespacebetween@wakinglife.pt.