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Written byIndio Friedmann

“In a space of disconnection and reconnection, these fulfilling exchanges people have are often the catalyst of change, even if it is just in your perception” – Cinzia Cioffi (Kunda Valley Organizer)

Moving through the flows, growths and challenges of life, we at some point or other, seem to lose our inner child. This loss is both in its emotional sense but as well as a physical, as we shed our delicate layers in return for our aged and seasoned skin. With a society that is bred for seriousness, it also comes with the loss of our kindred spirit of questioning and playing with our creativity – an indifference of our differences.  And so with events like Kunda Valley, we shed that skin once again to engage with others, the spaces around us and to reunite with our younger self in a celebration of life and community.

The Kunda family (Cinzia Cioffi, Cath Pringle, Connor Phillips, James Cairns, Justin Nel and Miles Robinson), opened up their beautiful space to let me get a closer look at the communal nature of Kunda Valley. Cinzia describes the soul and intention of creating a space that is a little bit different, somewhat silly yet wholly enchanting and mesmerizing. But at the same time, also allowing for a platform for something more than just electronic music – which of course we all love but there are so many other facets of performance – live music, art, ceremonies, talks, sound journeys, live theatre performances that also have a place. She explains, “We tried our best to think out of the box, we did things we didn’t know would work. We thought some ideas were nuts and couldn’t happen but when they did happen, it shows that just with a little energy and effort you can create absolutely anything.

It’s so important to have those spaces because they inspire and motivate people. Facilitating a space for people to be completely and truly free in their own essence, especially after coming out of Covid and losing our time to connect. Kunda was an opportunity to reinvent these spaces so why not make it the most magical place.”

What I can hardly describe as a festival but moreso a celebration of diversity and collection of experiences, Cinzia is adamant on ensuring an array of artists that aren’t in the mainstream, a chance to show off their talents too. “It’s easy to book the big familiar names but we wanted to show our family the things they didn’t even know they would like, something they could never have imagined and to have enjoyed it so deeply.

”Kunda is purposeful in its intention with every part of aligned with a goal; “In a space of disconnection and reconnection, these fulfilling exchanges people have are often the catalyst of change, even if it is just in your perception. Allowing the safe space to try new things and be vulnerable – it lends itself to allow for deep honest connection between people, new and old. With no worries on the dancefloor, people can just truly be themselves. I think there is something so beautiful about meeting someone in a space like that – to see each other for who they are.”

Cath Pringle (now an established improv actress as well as organizer) echoes this;“It has such a spiral effect on an individual and also community. A spiral that never ends, it flows outwards in – through everyone and brings to life something so incredibly magical, it established a base for some people to really feel themselves on a personal level. People were so engaged with everything surrounded by them and were able to push forward their own personality.”

Kunda’s originality, and gentle approach in its use of materials and impact on the earth did not go unnoticed. There was a genuine effort to ensure conscious usage of space, with recycling options to create a semi-future fairy world grounded in the past.

“As an artist’” says Cinzia “everything I see can be turned into art. We didn’t use anything new really, we would source and upcycle things (antiques, old broken windows, keys and door handles from markets).” Cath explained that there is beauty in looking into every day things and seeing that creativity doesn’t die with longevity but can transform into the contemporary by just paying attention to the value of something.

The journey of Kunda Valley was just a seedling a year ago with the process being a long journey of many working hands where friends turned family. “This includes the Porcupine Hills family whom we are so grateful for being able to make use of their space and work collaboratively together, from adding to the farm, building permanent structures, we have built a special relationship.” However, this journey has just begun with a hardworking and energetic team, Cinzia described the team’s incredible cohesion where everyone had their place and added value to it, including teaming up with the Red Telephone Collective renowned for their artistic abilities in bringing together art and pleasure.

And with such creation, in a blink of an eye it is gone… “ It was a fantasy world that existed for only a certain amount of time – within that time you can take such a journey – something so fulfilling about having all the ceremonies and yoga classes, talks, sound journeys – so to also have a space where you are looking after yourself – you are calm or more in tune, also receiving offerings that are adding to your well-being. Instead of going to a festival and getting completely ruined. It’s not about that. The space is created in a way that when you leave you feel better than when you arrived.”  Here Cinzia pauses and giggles, “Well, maybe on Monday you won’t feel that great but at least you leave with your heart being full…”

This resonated with me as our culture’s hedonistic tendencies, we want pleasure that is fast and hard – but why not strive for meaningful genuine pleasure that is deep rooted and lasting?

Cath explains more, “From what I wanted to create was this never ending happiness for people – true testimony to the mysterious ways in which Kunda Valley operate to bring about happiness – it is the small discoveries, the details, also in comparison with details in our life – the more you dive in – the more you experience – the more you discover – what you are willing to put out is what you are going to receive. Core objective was to really dive deeper than anything can find in reality and bring it about in a space that is nurturing.” 

“From what I wanted to create was this never ending happiness for people – true testimony to the mysterious ways in which Kunda Valley operates to bring about happiness – it is the small discoveries, the details, also in comparison to details in our life – the more you dive in – the more you experience, the more you discover.” – Cath Pringle

And for the future of Kunda Valley, well without giving too much away, this has clearly just been a taster from the creators. “We will definitely be staying with our core idea and ethos. But also including a lot more performances, live music etc…Baked Shakespeare was such a cool experience. It gave us and them a chance to grow too – let’s cultivate an art and entertainment space that isn’t just electronic music. Let’s be dynamic and giving a platform to these people allows for that – for the whole scene to grow. Some really crazy plans ahead would be really empahsising and focusing a lot on creative art installations, building more things, interactive artworks, just one huge playground. We are so open to getting in touch with our community – if there’s projects like that, please approach us with your ideas. We have a blank canvas and can use that space and do anything. We want a bit more emphasis on the sanctuary space, having a good relationship with our facilitators, offering ceremonies

With so much of the world escalating into madness, it is these experiences that help us orientate ourselves. Not escapism as much as self discovery. A sense of greater connection if only for a brief moment of time. While the planet may take a terrifying tone from time to time, it is in our connections with one another, the shared experience of living, that we define ourselves and find happiness. It is in these flashes of existence that we find the power to change ourselves, our communities and inveitably the world.

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