RAD Review: Xstatic Sunsets 2019

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Joining the movement for healthy parties

The beginning of April marked the launch of an ultimate musical journey. Australia’s largest sober dance party Xstatic Sunsets kicked off on Shark Island in Sydney Harbour with a day of epic entertainment and natural highs.

The party kicked off on the boat, with Samba Ninja performing in the main area of the boat. There was no shortage of good vibes from the second everyone stepped on the boat, with visitors getting their dance on long before arrival.

Arriving at Shark Island, a number of loudly dressed performers greeted visitors along the path to the main event. The entrance of the event featured a range of food vendors such as Eat Falafel, Sacred Cacao Drink, Mad Dog Kitchen and Kombucha by Tonicka.

The Tribal Beats & 60’s by DJ Sohm immediately drew me to the middle of the island where the dance floor began to fill up with people of all ages. Continuing to explore the island, I stumbled upon the first workshop. Dressed in a bright pink, polka dot onesie, Tommy Franklin drew in a crowd as he shared his story of sobriety; before revealing the movement workshop. The crowd gathered around and followed his at first glance, questionable dance moves; to the beat of the music in the background. What seemed kind of odd and embarrassing eventually turned into a few minutes of pure enjoyment and self-expression.

Following the movement workshop was intuitive body art with Irene Emily. The quick exercise involved pairing up and painting each other. Each participant had a couple of minutes to dance to the music while the partner observed their energy before creating a visual representation of it through paint.

More workshops continued to the sound of 70’s and 80’s classics and 90’s house. Workshops included flow dance circus skills, contact improv dance and African drumming. Over on the other side of the island, a number of unique and inspiring talks and presentations took place. Louise Walker presented a ‘set yourself free’ workshop before Dr Kaushik Ram explained the science behind the natural high. Anita Tomeki followed with ‘waking up to purpose’ before Dan Koch finally presented Cacao – a substitute for drugs and alcohol.

Over on the beach, sound-healing workshops took place, hosted by Curt Hannagan and Hayley Milano. The crowd gathered on the sand as the sun went down and learnt to connect to their deeper selves.

After gathering along the island to watch an absolutely breathtaking sunset, the party continued to the sounds of Electric Zeus. The entire dance floor was filled with happy humans, naturally high from an epic day. The event concluded with the biggest group hug I’ve ever seen; as everyone sang along to The Beatles’ ‘All You Need Is Love’, which closed out the event perfectly.

The launch of Xstatic Sunsets was definitely a memorable one! Heading towards the island, I had no idea what to expect. I quickly gathered that this was not the type of event I would normally go to; however, only minutes into the festival, I realised it was about to be an epic event filled with happy people. Being surrounded by people of all ages and backgrounds and watching everyone getting along and creating genuine connections is definitely something that is lacking in the festival scene. It was absolutely refreshing to see it at this event.

The breathtaking location, inclusive environment and range of stimulating activities and entertainment, combined with an active role in helping improve mental health and supporting local charities make this event impossible to fault. The launch of Xstatic Sunsets just goes to show that it is, in fact, possible to get high naturally and enjoy a festival without drugs and alcohol. I can only imagine how much this event will continue to grow.

Join the sober dance tribe today and inspire change!

Photo credit: Yvan Fournier

Accommodation near Shark Island, NSW

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Katarina Cvetko

Katarina is an international journalist and photographer from Sydney, Australia with a strong passion for music festivals. Since her first solo adventure in 2015, Katarina has travelled to over 30 countries in 5 continents and has attended over 100 music festivals worldwide. After conquering a bucket list journey of 52 music festivals in 52 weeks in 2018, Katarina continues to live a digital nomad lifestyle, travelling to festivals in a different country every week and sharing her experiences on social media.

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