As people, our want for connection is primal. However generally we’ve to journey to the sides of the Earth to search out it.
We just lately crossed the Pacific for Your Paradise, an idyllic vacation spot music competition on the distant Fijian island of Malolo Lailai, or “The Island of the Resting Solar.” 6,000 miles away from the influencer-infested covens of Los Angeles, we found a neighborhood as vibrant because the island’s crystalline waters.
Roughly 500 folks converged on Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands for the 2022 version of Your Paradise, the primary because the return of reside music within the wake of the pandemic. Nestled in a halcyon shoreline, the competition is what occurs when daydreams shed their idealistic layers and develop into actuality.
“In the event you come to Your Paradise as soon as, you’ll come for the remainder of your life,” stated Harry Duncan, a fan who advised us he’d been on his fifth pilgrimage to the fest.
It is easy to let your thoughts wander to the hellscape of Fyre Competition, which turned hedonism right into a socioeconomic crime. After that dumpster fireplace, you had been a buffoon should you talked about your weeklong plan to jaunt between an oceanfront mainstage, yacht events and a personal bungalow in the midst of a Fiji jungle. However that is unfair to the organizers of Your Paradise, who now have 9 years of expertise beneath their belt—eight greater than felon-in-chief Billy McFarland.
Fyre and the vacation spot festivals toiling via its aftershock will not be mutually unique. And after attending Your Paradise in 2022, one factor grew to become clear: this neighborhood would not look after fraud. That is the great thing about its members, whose priorities lie in shared experiences and collective bonding—not their subsequent Instagram captions.
“A number of components come collectively at Your Paradise to create true connection—the remoteness of the situation means everyone leaves dwelling behind and leaves room to construct new relationships,” stated Ignacio Garcia, Co-Founder and Director of Your Paradise. “The size of the occasion is essential too. Six days on the island permits for relationships to foster and in numerous methods, you may meet somebody on the dancefloor one evening and find yourself doing yoga and having dinner with them a number of days later.”
“As adults, we frequently battle to fulfill likeminded folks,” Garcia provides, “and I really feel Your Paradise actually offers visitors the platform to do exactly that.”
Take, as an illustration, the competition’s legion of Australian attendees, who solely needed to fly roughly 4 hours from the Land Down Beneath. Partying with these heat, gregarious ravers grew to become commonplace, as did bear-hugs with full strangers.
If the Aussies’ infectious personalities did not pull you in like a magnet to a fridge, it was their unbridled love of drum & bass music. Their power enveloped us on an enormous catamaran, the place sun-kissed moshpits rattled the ocean to the sounds of Netsky and Sub Focus.
Once you weren’t exploring Malolo Lailai—and making an attempt to not step on one of many island’s tens of millions of tropical frogs—you had been partying at sea. Your Paradise’s official programming featured a slew of seafaring events with performances from main artists.
Probably the most extraordinary of those events went down at Cloud 9, a stunning dayclub smack dab in the midst of an oceanic nowheresville. The one strategy to get to “Fiji’s Floating Paradise” was through boat switch, and while you disembarked, you stepped foot on a two-level platform surrounded by nothing however turquoise water and breathtaking panoramic views of the archipelago.
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There’s nothing on this planet fairly like Cloud 9, the place it took a crowbar to pry the smile out of your face. We danced nonstop beneath the solar. Ardour fruit mojitos and Blue Curaçao cocktails had been dished out like sweet on Halloween. Individuals dove off the roof and into the ocean beneath. Employees served free Italian wood-fired pizza.
“Skinny persons are straightforward to kidnap. Keep secure, eat pizzas,” reads an indication behind the bar.
In the event you had been fortunate sufficient to catch Ben Böhmer’s DJ set at Cloud 9, you had been on the epicenter of one of the crucial intimate music competition experiences on this planet.
Böhmer’s efficiency was only one instance of Your Paradise’s distinctive infrastructure, which bulldozes the imaginary wall between a competition’s attendees and its headlining artists. On any given morning, you would eat bacon and eggs with Böhmer or take in some solar with Kito.
Over on the oceanfront mainstage, digital music famous person Getter hopped on the mic at one level—after burping into it—and invited the group to skydive with him the following morning.
“Being a competition of solely 600 to 800 folks, you’ve got obtained your attendees, artists and competition employees all staying on the identical island resort for the week. This intimate setting can create a way of exclusivity and permit artists to attach with their followers in a extra private means,” stated Blake Chapman, a member of Your Paradise’s air and floor switch logistics workforce. “Have you ever ever been strolling to dinner and casually stumble upon Netsky, who stops and desires to have a dialog with you about your day? Or been requested to go skydiving with Getter? Or gone browsing with What So Not at Cloudbreak? All of these items have occurred to me at Your Paradise.”
Chapman says many artists booked to carry out at Your Paradise find yourself asking to return again.
“I consider artists love acting at Your Paradise as a result of it is like nothing else they will expertise wherever on this planet,” he provides. “It is primarily a working vacation the place they will loosen up on a tropical island and expertise the native tradition and lifestyle in Fiji, whereas additionally performing and enjoying their music to fairly a various and devoted, intimate viewers. Their crowd is actually there to see them.”
The music competition and its artists had been solely a part of the story. It was powerful to not fall in love with Fijian tradition due to the island’s charismatic locals, who greeted us with a blissed-out “Bula!” at each flip. Their attraction warmed the island simply as a lot because the beating solar.
Your Paradise additionally just lately develop into an official member of the Mamanuca Surroundings Society (MES), a nonprofit based by native companies to help the environmental safety of Fiji’s west coast. All through the week, the competition’s organizers hosted various community-based volunteer applications, like tree-planting periods.
New Yr’s resolutions you by no means requested for are coming to a TikTok close to you, force-fed down your throat like geese for foie gras. Ignore the gymnasium bros making an attempt to sucker you into an Orangetheory membership and as an alternative think about treating your self to a bucket listing journey to Fiji.
Now you can register for Your Paradise 2023 and discover packages here.