Grateful Generation: The “Festival In A Box” that Brought the Burn to Hollywood Clubbing

It would be a stretch to start rattling off all the ways that The Burn has changed the festival culture on the West Coast of America and beyond, and we certainly wouldn’t be the first ones to start beating that old horse. But it’s rarely remarked how much of an effect the Playa has had on club culture. While the panpipe tech house sound has traveled to dancefloors far and wide, the heady party vibes and carnival environment doesn’t typically fit that well inside a building. Unless of course, you’re at Grateful Generation party.

 

Founded around six years as a means of bringing the infectious subculture of Burning Man and other transformational festivals to a wider audience, Grateful Generation’s core mission was to throw amazing events with beautiful people that truly celebrated wellness, community, and love. The crew took the bold step of muscling into the often seedy bottle service vibes of Hollywood, identifying the need there for an event that did away with all that business and embraced the human contact.

 

“We saw a gap in the market in Hollywood especially, as an opportunity to provide this kind of experience where people didn’t have to drive seven or eight hours to get to Burning Man,” GG’s founder Christopher Jackson told Boogaloo. “We did a weekly event called Grateful Fridays for a whole year. it was like a mini festival in a box!. The reason we chose Hollywood initially was because we saw it as the throat chakra of the planet. We thought that if we could affect the culture in Hollywood, we believed we had the opportunity to affect it on a global scale.’

 

It took a “Herculean effort” to maintain the dizzying levels of production that the Grateful Generation crew had set for themselves on a monthly rate, so they stepped back and opted for fewer but better events, and in turn, hone their idea of creating a “festival in a box”.

 

“We’ve got performers, we’ve got great music, we’ve got the live artists, the painters, we bring in people that do massage and tarot and astrology and healing, and then we have local merchants and artists that are fashion designers and they’re making jewelry or whatever. That’s a lot of energy,” explains Christopher. “We wanted to focus on the art of really building that intense experience so that when you walk into a club, which, the night before might have looked like an average club, today looks completely different and it almost teleports you into the center of Burning Man!”

 

This unique philosophy to clubbing caught the attention and the imagination of the SoCal scene, and was of huge interest to Lightning in a Bottle, who have brought the GG team in to do the official LiB pre-party—under their well-known ABunDance banner—for the last several years and give the audience a taste of the Thunder and Wookie stages at the iconic transformational festival.

 

“We created a new event called ABunDance, because,“ starts Christopher, “one: there’s a play on words, A-Bun-Dance, like shaking our buns on the dancefloor, you know. And two: we are bringing in a new paradigm of abundant philosophy, which is that we all have abundance and community when we celebrate each other. It’s a win-win situation. It’s not one person trying to get ahead at the cost of someone else, but really everybody getting ahead by elevating each other. Finding ways that we can collaborate and serve one another.”

 

At the Boog this year, we’re delighted to be deploying Grateful Generation as our vendor village production wizards and curators, and we’re certain it’s going to be one of the highlights of the whole festival. “When you walk into that vendor village,” starts fellow GG conspirator Reza “you’re going to be transformed into the world. You’re not just walking past rows of white 10×10 tents, you’re actually walking into an experience, in and of itself, inside a larger experience that’s fully integrated, that has its own vision and mission that is aligned with the greater mission of Boogaloo.”

 

“I think Boogaloo positions itself uniquely in the community space without so much of an emphasis on the transformational aspect,” Christopher adds. “I think they really emphasize just having a great time and bringing a bunch of camps together, and that’s what it is: community and fun.”
“I’d agree,” said Reza. ”It’s been truly nice to see a festival that isn’t overly heavy, overly built around a syllabus or a curriculum. It’s a really free flowing, freeform opportunity to come out, meet people, connect with music, connect with friends, and have fun, and I think that’s really beautiful.”