We sat down with Alex Joy of Joy Collective, the brains behind the exciting new venue taking over one of our most iconic structures this year. Here’s a little insight into the concept behind the Rainforest Pavilion.
What’s your background and connection with festivals?
I remember going to music festivals since I was a kid with my family. I started getting into electronic music very young, by the time I was 16 I was playing large rave parties. At this time some legendary festivals were developing in B.C. Canada where I am from, Soundwave, Shambala, Diversity and Bass Coast. These festivals are all outside in remote locations and include 3 of my favorite things; music, being out in nature and friends. Playing these venues always felt more special than being in the confines of a club.
When I located to Bali in 2000, I was invited to play in mind-blowingly beautiful places like the cliffs in Uluwatu’s Nyang Nyang, at Suliban, on Dreamland Beach or up in the mountains. I bounced back and forth between Japan, Bali and B.C. playing. It was such a magic time. More recently, I made the trip to Burning Man, one of the ultimate spectacles of human creativity. At the burn I met Jason Swamy and the Robot Heart collective, which led me to Wonderfuit and this interview with you. At my second Burn, I joined the Tree House Art Car. Playing music while rolling through the desert was surreal and felt mythical. Driving an art car at night through all the lights and fire at Burning Man is probably the closest terrestrial experience to having a space ship. My connection to festivals is strong – I love how they give us an opportunity to create our own culture, to live in the moment, to share ideas, and to look at life from a different perspective.
What is Joy Collective, how was it formed, and what’s the connection with Bali Praia ?
I formed Joy Collective to provide a platform to bring together people doing great work in music, the arts, and people doing forward-thinking work in environmental preservation. I actively work in environmental education myself, for example, by leading trips with teenagers who have grown up in cities, to spend up to 10 days in natural environments without electronic their cell phones, iPads, or laptops. With the development of the connection with nature comes the yearning to conserve it. Realizing the extensive network of professionals I have surrounding me doing great work, I thought how great it would be if we could have a platform to openly exchange ideas and embolden each other’s causes. Music brings people together, art inspires, technology offers solutions, and environmental conservation is necessary for human kind’s well-being. Creating a platform for this exchange was the birth of Joy Collective.
Bali Praia joined forces with Joy Collective on the Rainforest Pavilion. The Bali Praia crew are doing great things to elevate Bali’s electronic music scene and infrastructure, with plans for a new music studio, event space, digital video mapping, helping local artists elevate onto a global stage with their label, and hosting international guests in style on the island. One of the founders of Bali Praia, Michaelangelo Moran, otherwise known as Mikey, was with me at Wonderfruit last year and we both loved it so much we wanted to come back and contribute. The Bali Praia founders are all quite diverse – they are all DJs but are also active in very different sectors. For example, Mikey is one of the founders of Go-Jek, the unicorn app of Indonesia.
Can you describe your vision for the Rainforest Pavilion?
I envision this beautiful lush rainforest pavilion filled with ferns, flowers, vines and trees echoing with the sounds of the rainforest where people feel relaxed, encouraged to move their bodies and activate their mind-body systems in a new dynamic way. I say dynamic because unlike a conference or boardroom setting, the pavilion is a creative open space where people can dance, connect and create fresh ideas and solutions to support the ecosystems we live in.
What’s your motivation to bring it to Wonderfruit?
Actually, it was inspired by Wonderfruit; the seed being planted at last year in The Fields. Given the opportunity to contribute this year, I knew it would have to be innovative and to integrate an environmental focus. This idea has grown into the Rainforest Pavilion. Originally we were going to build a rainforest tree stage but we were offered the existing Pavilion, designed by Thai architect Duangrit Bunnag, which is very fortunate for us!
What can Wonderers expect when they visit?
In the mornings, Wonderers may find a tranquil, shaded space filled with lush vegetation and the sounds of field recordings I have taken in the Sumatran Rainforest – a good place to relax. In the afternoon we will start up with some DJs playing more eclectic styles of music. In the late afternoon, there will be speakers from the Scratch Talks series, focusing on regional environmental issues and technical innovations. I’m especially excited to share the work of David Gaveau, who has created an interactive map of Kalimantan, which can tell you exactly what deforestation is taking place, by whom and when. His revolutionary technology gives people the ability to see if a company contributing to illegal deforestation produces the candy bar you are eating, to see the illegal logging taking place, and who is benefiting. This is real consumer power! From 7pm till late, expect great DJs from Indonesia, SE Asia and around the world. There will be dancing.
How has the Rainforest Pavilion been made possible?
Firstly, thanks to a friendly and gracious Wonderfruit team, who have been very open in letting me develop the concept under their banner, and to Jason Swamy for putting my idea forward and helping with it. The Bali Praia crew was with me when we first had the idea to do an installation at Wonderfruit and have stayed with me as partners in the project; without them this wouldn’t be possible. Pro-Motion Events is also supporting by helping to streamline things on the ground and the infamous (re)set crew is sprinkling a bit of their special magic on the project, to ensure that it’s extra awesome. Avani, a start-up from Indonesia, has also stepped into support us with their biodegradable products. People keep hopping in to help, and if you’re reading this and you want to get involved or have some way of contributing to rainforest preservation, please reach out to us at Joy Collective.
Scratch Talks in the Rainforest Pavilion:
How your purchase contributes to deforestation – by David Gaveau
Social empowerment through technology – By Michaelangelo Moran
The scientific benefits of getting outside the classroom – by Kenny Peavy
How your well-being affects the environment – Kartika Alexandra.
The Truth of the Orangutans – Arvid Nicolas
DJs in the Rainforest Pavilion:
DJ Zig Zach
Small and Tall Soundsystem
Look out for Alex in the Rainforest Pavilion and join the Joy Collective community on Facebook.