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OM Festival

The OM Festival was a community-based summer solstice festival that ran annually in southern Ontario for 7 years beginning in 1998 and ending in 2005. The festival, organized by Sumkidz, featured music, dance and art, and encouraged its attendees to participate by volunteering. The event promoted free-expression and a no spectator, leave-no-trace philosophy. Om drew in 3000+ participants from all over the world. The event had mutiple stages, a giant community kitchen which produced thousands of meals throughout the weekend, a healing area, and an educational hub where people shared ideas and offered 100s of workshops on everything from knitting to indy media. The festival supported many artists from across Canada as well as local collectives, offering the opportunity and funds to produce and showcase their own work and skills.

The annual gathering attracted people who enjoyed electronic music, considered themselves knowledge-seekers, environmentalists, spiritual travelers and other individuals who sought the enlightenment of the human spirit.

Ideals espoused by the core group of festival organizers and participants were togetherness, freedom, volunteering and spiritual tolerance and exploration.

Former festival attendees or current Message Board members sometimes call themselves OMIEs.

Sumkidz

The Festival was organized and maintained by Sumkidz, a group of artists and activists living in and around Toronto, Ontario. http://www.sumkidz.org The Om Festival ended in 2004 as increasing politics and false media surrounding electronic music made it even more difficult to produce outdoor gatherings of that magnitude. Sumkidz however continues to be active participants in the proliferation of consciousness-raising, community-based arts events around Toronto and beyond. View a Vider Collage of Reunion 2006 at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7437221034614954043

Community

The organizers of the festival relied on volunteers to make everything happen. Volunteers would attend meetings in Toronto several weeks prior to the festivities, and roles would be assigned, thus cultivating deeper and more meaningful relationships and community connections. The festival itself was an amazing opportunity for networking and knowledge-sharing of like-minded individuals.

Volunteers chose to work in the Kind Kitchen, on foot patrol (security and first aid), in the child care areas, on clean up, or in several other positions. Those who gave their time and effort to sustain the festival received a free ticket, although they were required to purchase a t-shirt identifying them as OM crew.

Om Reunion Project

After the final Om Festival in 2004, Sumkidz, alongside many new coordinators who cared deeply about the Om Community, formed the OM Reunion Project (ORP) and began to coordinate a smaller more intimate and intentional summer solstice gathering. The first being Re:union in 2005, followed by In:tent in 2006, Re:treat in 2007 and In:sight in 2008. The intention of the Om Reunion Project was to facilitate a more intentional community event, beyond the "party" where all participants register for the gathering in advance. Every attendee is required to volunteer, and everyone is encouraged to share their art, whether it be music, dance, art, food, education etc...

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