By: Cait Deane
Photographs by: Joanne Brown
I eagerly arrived on the 24th of May in Montego Bay, the closest airport to the festival’s location in Negril, Jamaica. After passing through security and meeting up with my traveling partner and photographer, we hopped in a shuttle and were on our way to Tmrw.Tday! Though the rain poured relentlessly during the hour and a half journey to our hotel, the ride was still relaxing and engaging- as the colors of the lush landscape were tremendously enhanced by the precipitation. All of the resorts associated with the event are along Norman Manley Blvd, and they each have adorable decks with restaurants or pools that poke out onto the beach.
Tmrw.Tday was located along the 7-mile beach in Negril, at a resort called Chances. Our hotel was a short and charming walk away. Walking down the beach you can see hoof prints from horses that have run along the sand, tiny seashells, and small fish swimming along the edge of the clear turquoise waters. This was the first festival I have ever attended that I stayed at a hotel for, and any seasoned festival attendee can vouch for me when I say it truly gives you an entirely different perspective of the festival experience when you are staying somewhere luxurious. It made the event genuinely feel like a healing retreat. On our first day, as we walked to Chances, we encountered a gentleman on the beach, who in a deep voice and with a gigantic genuine smile exclaimed “Welcome to Nice-Land!”
All of Tmrw.Tday’s classes were held on the beach at Chances, looking out into the ocean. The first meditation we attended was on Thursday morning, held by Stacy and Anna. Thursday’s theme of the day was “Heart Full.” These two ladies set the tone for absolute tranquility. Soft music played in the background of our class and palo santo burned brightly throughout the experience. The instructors took turns guiding us through our first journey of the week, and an hour passed by so quickly I could barely believe it when I came out of my trance. After our meditation we had our first yoga class with Stacy. While there were many attendees in the class, each of us still got personal attention and adjustment. One of my favorite small trademark’s of Stacy’s classes was always ending with a smile- a positive reminder that we were happy and at peace. (We were in Jamaica, after all!)
Friday, themed a day of “Abundance” we woke up for Gillian B’s 8am meditation. Gillian lead us on a meditation that tapped into returning to remembering that we were born with greatness and magic. I would describe her style of teaching as “flow meditation.” She had us do several different activities in class to get our chi flowing and to focus on the light we have within. We also attended a workshop in the afternoon of Friday, lead by Gillian, titled “Transforming Shadows.” During this workshop, we focused on the things we often judge about people, why we do it, and how to reshape our negative thinking.
“Best Day Eva” was the theme for Saturday, and it was an appropriate title indeed! The day kicked off with a yoga class held by David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe, who is described as “the rock star and Indiana Jones of the superfoods and longevity universe.” He lead a restorative yoga class and helped us with breathing exercises, working through positions slowly, and even assisted me in doing a headstand! David helped remind us that when we practice yoga, it doesn’t always have to be the “yoga olympics” and that it is ok to focus on mastering just a few positions at a time. He is super energetic and hands on with the class, often helping adjust students. Though he had a larger group, he still really made it feel like an intimate experience.
In the afternoon on Friday, Wolfe gave a speech on longevity, the practicalities of activated charcoal, the importance of eating raw and organic and shared his position on science as well as a few conspiracies. He has an excellent speaking voice and the crowd eagerly tuned in as he unleashed his knowledge to us. David also held a farm-to-table dinner at the festival, as well as a cacao ceremony.
Friday evening was the Protoje concert. The concert was held at the Boardwalk Village, a short taxi ride from Chances. Performing with Protoje that evening was also Sevana, Rukus, and Yaadcore, all notable musicians from the island. The concert space was great- when we first arrived they had projections from video clips of earlier in the day, mixed with bright illustrations playing on the screen behind the performers. We watched the sun set behind the live music, giving the night an absolutely enchanting feel. One thing that I found particularly unique and that I really appreciated about Tmrw.Tday was their integration of Jamaica’s culture. The majority of the acts they had booked were from the island. Sure, it was branded as a culture festival, but I have been to international culture festivals before, and I feel like Tmrw.Tday did an extraordinary job of respecting Jamaica’s local talent and community by getting them involved.
Sunday’s theme was “Flow.” All morning long I flowed in the ocean- which is truly a surreal experience. The water is such a crystal blue and the waves are calm, only growing slightly more powerful when a boat is zipping by in the distance. I felt like I was swimming in an image on somebody’s computer screensaver. The salty water is the under-rated healing element of the festival- and offers salvation in the heat of the day. Stacy lead the day’s meditation, and she asked us to concentrate on gratitude. She had us picture ten things in our life that we were grateful for as we sat, and even urged us to surpass the ten. Sage that burned throughout the session, and she smudged the class with it after it came to a close. In the afternoon, the Crew Love beach party had the entire Chances resort bumpin’ on the beach! DJ’s performed from a small hut in the middle of the sand, and food and craft vendors surrounded dancers. There was a smile on everyone’s face, and a hydrating coconut in most attendees’ hands.
“Yardy Tingz” was Monday’s theme, and while I am still not exactly sure what that means, I can vouch that it was a day just as powerful as the others! Angel yoga was the yoga of the morning, and wow did it fix me up! Our instructor, Subhadra Bowman catered the design of our class around the student’s needs. She was lively and fun, and my body felt amazing after just one session with her. In the afternoon I attended a Ganja talk by Ras Iyah V, a Rastafari speaker instrumental in decriminalizing ganja. He spoke about how small a world we live in, and how we need justice before we can achieve peace.
Monday’s sunset yoga was a brilliant way to end the day. The sky was as pink as the inside of a conch shell and it provided us with an astounding backdrop for class. Stacy lead us through an hour of vin yoga. It was an interesting mix, but we could hear the music playing from the DJ booth at the beach party as we did our restorative yoga, and we were encouraged to dance along to the beat as we held our poses.
“Blessings” was the theme of Tuesday, but it was an overarching theme to the entire week as well. During our closing meditation, I had time to reflect on my time in Negril.
For a first year festival, Tmrw.Tday did an unbelieveable job. The classes, culture, food, accommodations, and music were all next level. Every single day there were tons of workshops to participate in, music events to attend, classes to take, and places to travel. (With of course an appropriate amount of time scheduled each day to enjoy the unimaginable landscape of the 7-mile beach!) You would almost have to clone yourself to try to get a taste of each rich experience. Tmrw.Tday 2018 is an event to keep on the lookout for, as I can only see this festival growing more exceptional each year.