Conscious party: Harmonia by the River

SAFE SPACE: Providing a place of respite away from thumping music, bright lights and festival crowds, Harmonia aims to equip individuals with tools for inner calm and self-betterment. Meditation, intentional decision-making and tactful communication skills are among the practices that Harmonia representatives discuss with those who wander into the nonprofit's tent.
SAFE SPACE: Providing a place of respite away from thumping music, bright lights and festival crowds, Harmonia aims to equip individuals with tools for inner calm and self-betterment. Meditation, intentional decision-making and tactful communication skills are among the practices that Harmonia representatives discuss with those who wander into the nonprofit's tent. Photo by Nomakin Photography

WHAT: A festival fundraiser hosted by Harmonia

WHERE: Salvage Station

WHEN: Sunday, April 9, beginning at 2 p.m.

WHY: Though their nonprofit is often misconstrued as a “trip sitting” service for high festival-goers, the co-founders of Harmonia have a greater vision for their organization. “We set up sanctuary and decompression spaces at festivals,” says Maegan Coral, who started Harmonia with Alexia Locklear. “Our overarching mission is empowerment through education, self-awareness and self-care.”

Tucked away from the main action, the duo’s 20-foot tent is designed to help guests wind down. Fabrics accentuate the walls, and carpet and cushions line the floor. Even the interior color scheme conveys an earthy tranquility.

As individuals enter the space, Harmonia representatives start conversations to learn what a better festival experience might entail for each person. For some, relief is as easy as a bottle of water, sunscreen or a tampon. Others experiencing mental or emotional distress — whether from a nonviolent argument, sensory overstimulation or yes, drug use — get a place to regroup with support from festival veterans trained in de-escalation and patron safety. Harmonia’s personnel may also facilitate rejuvenating practices like meditation or smelling essential oils to improve mood — self-help tools that Coral and Locklear hope visitors will take back to their community afterward. For event producers, these peaceful interventions stand to reduce certain burdens on security and medical teams.

Just as Harmonia’s sanctuary setups focus on holistic wellness, so will the organization’s own third annual fundraiser, Harmonia by the River. In addition to indoor and outdoor performances by acts like Third Nature, ElectroChemical, Natural Born Leaders, Sacred Sound and additional electronic producers, the event will feature workshops on topics like foraging, herbs, flow arts and laughing yoga plus a donation-based healing garden with practitioners of massage, acupuncture, acupressure and other modalities. “There will always be two to three healers in the space, but they will alternate every hour or so,” Locklear explains.

For kids, the festival offers a multitude of activities, including crafting, juggling lessons, games, balloons and an interactive music-making workshop on DJ gear. Several mission-driven organizations will be present to showcase their work, as will local artists and crafters. And rounding out the entertainment will be a raffle, art auction, poetry readings and after sunset, a fire performance. “There’s a little something for everybody,” Locklear says.

Admission is by donation. For more information, visit facebook.com/safeinharmonia

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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