IlluminEra Studios-Cosmic Cavern 2016 Review

by Elisha Gud

photos by EMG Photography

Imagine walking into a bar that you frequently go to for local shows and in just a few days it was transformed from a plain bar into a secret planet off in space where costumes are required and out of this world behavior is enforced. That is exactly what Cosmic Cavern is—an out of this world experience and place where you can feel free to get weird, dress up all crazy, and dance like no one is watching. The theme is spacey but people dress in nearly anything. I saw space faeries, space unicorns and robots; people dressed up like hippies and even someone wearing what you could explain as a piñata of a radio on their head. The costumes were “out there,” but that’s part of what makes this event so much fun. The event which used to be held at Woodlands Tavern transforms local bar Park Street Saloon in Columbus, Ohio (operated by Woodlands Productions) into a space cavern, with stalagmites sticking up out of the floor, art hanging all over the walls, interactive wall and ceiling installations, streamers everywhere,  and people all around painting each other’s faces and bodies.

Headlining band Future Rock from Chicago, Illinois has been with the team for three out of the four years Cosmic Cavern has been going on. Bringing excitement and funkadelic tunes to the event. With their eccentric style and rock-jam-tronica tunes I find it difficult not to put on my dancing shoes every time I see them. They have an incredible way of making the audience feel as if they are part of the show. They capture the audience’s attention and pull them in as if they are getting ready to take a ride on a space ship to another realm.

Cosmic Cavern isn’t the only event this team throws; every year IlluminEra Studios hosts at least four other events in Columbus as well as traveling to different music festivals to help share in the fun of art and installations. Events include Cosmic Cavern and are typically held at Park Street Saloon, including The Frequinox which is a spring awakening equinox celebration, Ethereal which Gregg Ignasiak Founder and director of IlluminEra stated is probably his favorite event that they host—Ignasiak described it as, “it is a mystical accent into the ether. There is an indescribable sensation of bliss and inter-connective-ness, amplified by Random Rab’s ability to turn a beautiful sunrise/set into sound. “

The World Naked Bike Ride which takes place in downtown Columbus this year will be the 6th annual bike ride and it takes place on June 11th. As over 1000 bicycle riders parade through downtown Columbus wearing anything from as little as they please or as much as they feel comfortable in and sometimes often in costume. They express the susceptibility of sharing the roads, freedom from dependency of oil while celebrating the magnificence of the human body. IlluminEra hosts a huge party in a warehouse downtown after the bike ride and I’ve heard it’s a party not to be missed.

IlluminEra doesn’t only host events for adults, although we do love being able to let out our inner child.  Sometimes it is nice to focus on kids these days and helping them learn and grow. MiniFest is like other events it is just typically geared towards children and families. Ignasiak stated that “the kids really benefit from a unique, interactive atmosphere where playfulness, dancing, and connecting are encouraged with activities, games, music, and crafts.”

IlluminEra Studios which has just recently changed their name from Kickin it Productions due to a vision that was once created at Burning Man in Black Rock City, Nevada has now transformed from what was a camp created for people to simply just kick it to something so much bigger–where relaxation is still a focus but the art is more of a priority. So, that is where IlluminEra comes from; “The new age of light.”

These types of parties don’t just happen overnight, they take time, dignity, and dedication. As Gregg Ignasiak puts it, “The time put in is almost unfathomable but with a solid group of homies sharing the same vision all the work becomes not only achievable, but enjoyable. These Gatherings would not be possible without the dedication and support of all the incredible team members.”

“By far the most gratifying aspect is the inspiration it has on others. It helps bring out that inner child screaming to play and with the right environment, at the right time, with the right people—something happens and the effects can be monumental. Helping people break out of their comfort zone to feel themselves and each other in a more loving, vibrant and playful form is the greatest pleasure!”

-Gregg Ignasiak

If you haven’t already heard about IlluminEra Studios, you could recognize them from many different music festivals as well as their famous Jelly Dome. Currently looking to grow and expand within the 2016 festival season, you can find them at Hulaween, Sumer Camp, The Werk Out, LEAF, and Burning Man.