11 days. 4 stages. 140 artists. 1 island. 10,000 lovers, movers, and shakers. Epizode is not just a music festival; it is a celebration of life. Set on the idyllic island of Phú Quốc in Vietnam, guests will be completely immersed in music, local culture, and unmatched energies.
24 hour dance parties, gong meditations, and unforgettable sunsets kick off December 27th and go until January 7th. A killer lineup of talented artists from across the globe, both well-known and up and coming, will keep you dancing through dusk and dawn.
Electric Soul caught up with Natasha Rogal, CEO of Epizode to get some insider information about the festival. She paints a colorful picture of what festivalgoers can expect, discusses what Epizode is doing to keep their carbon footprint minimal, and explains why this is a festival you don’t want to miss.
Electric Soul: Can you give us a quick run-through of what a day in the life of an Epizode festivalgoer would look like, from sun-up to sundown?
Natasha Rogal: I don’t want to limit myself to sun-up hours from the dawn to dusk. Epizode is an 11-day festival that opens its doors on the first day and doesn’t close them until 11 days later. Festival guests can practically live on the territory of the festival. Every corner provides its own unique content: a chill-out zone away from the music, four dance floors, and a lifestyle zone with a market. Those who need a break from the rave are welcome at meditation and yoga. There are eco-activities and arts and crafts. In fact, the activities of the 4th edition will be very, very diverse.
Electric Soul: In addition to the music, what activities do festivalgoers have to look forward to?
Natasha Rogal: I personally love and attend many festivals so for me, the festival begins with sunset, opens to the full at dawn, and continues all day after. This year we will have many special sunsets. We will welcome the first sunset of 2020 with the absolutely magicalSatori. We have a separate day to showcase of Gardens of Babylon, who are famous for their parties filled with ceremonies and meditations that gradually turn into a harmonious dance party. Moreover, if someone needs a break from the music they can always go to sunset yoga or gong meditation. We expanded the festival grounds and this allowed us to build a separate market, increase and diversify the food court. We work with local environmental activists and want to engage festival guests in various collaborative activities, like beach cleanup.
ES: In recent years, there has been a collective effort from festivals and festivalgoers to create as little of a carbon footprint as possible. Would you consider Epizode a ‘green festival’? What steps are being taken to have as little of an impact on the environment?
NR: You know, one of the highlights of this year was precisely the eco-initiative. The first thing I noticed when I was traveling in Asia was a rather careless attitude to garbage, specifically plastic. Thankfully, the plastic problem is not (yet) obvious in this region (Phú Quốc Island). Because of that, it was extremely important for me to launch initiatives within the framework of the festival that would reduce the negative aftermath of holding such a large-scale event. This year, you won’t see plastic straws or disposable plastic utensils. We are working on the possibility of organizing separate garbage collection with the ability to track its trail. It’s in the early stages, but I do not plan on limiting myself to just the festival in terms of the eco-initiative. I started negotiations on investing in garbage processing plants in Vietnam and I hope that this will also be successfully implemented in the near future.
ES: Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Island is bursting with local culture. How does Epizode pay tribute to this vibrant island community?
NR: I’m always on the lookout for any communication opportunities with the island’s communities. I am working with local restaurateurs to organize food courts. I’m planning beach cleanups. We are seeking locals to work the festival in a variety of positions. If we have the opportunity to use local resources, we will always pursue those.
ES: Day 5 of Epizode will ring in the New Year. Are there some special celebrations in place?
NR: New Year’s Eve is always very intense. It seems as though guests are radiating some special energy as if everyone is focused on the same thing: celebration. It permeates incredible vibes that are passed from one to another. On New Year’s Eve, three dance parties will run simultaneously and a fourth (after-hours oriented) will start up later. We will greet the magical first dawn of the new year on the main dance floor with Satori. On the Frisbee dancefloor, there will be a whole showcase from the endlessly talented guys of Giegling.
ES: Epizode is in its 4th successful year. What has your team learned (perhaps the hard way) from previous seasons that has led to this year’s being the best yet?
NR: We are learning every year and every day. In fact, Vietnam is different from any European country. We are learning to communicate, immerse ourselves in a particular mentality, recognizing the local culture, and navigate infrastructural differences. Vietnam is a big undertaking – and we’re definitely on our way.
ES: With over 140 musical acts, curating the lineup must be no easy feat. Can you tell us what kind of strategic planning goes into creating Epizode’s lineup? Do different stages have different vibes or kinds of parties?
NR: The number 140 simply by itself may look like something quite ambitious, but 11 festival days and 4 stages require content. The festival is growing from year to year and the line-up is developing organically. These 11 days allow us to invite a variety of artists and include new names that are not yet so widely represented in Asia. This year, again, we are happy to welcome Jamie Jones and Ricardo Villalobos. Artists like Moodyman, Carl Craig, and many others will perform at the festival for the first time. I am really looking forward to Gardens of Babylon and Modernity showcase. This year will have a lot of new acts, in particular, young artists from Europe and Asia. I believe that performances such as the sunset sessions with Satori and HVOB will be especially memorable.
ES: If someone was on the fence about whether or not they are going to attend Epizode, what tidbit of insider information could you give them that would definitely have them hitting that ‘Attending’ button?
NR: Epizode is something special, it is not just another festival. It is a musical journey that creates opportunity to immerse oneself in different cultures while meeting new people. You’ll live the island life, experiencing daily celebrations and complete relaxation all at once. Think of the 11 days as a complete life cycle. We are preparing everything so that guests will be completely detached from daily routine and return to themselves and the energies that charge them. Get lost in music and dance, vibrate during daytime yoga practices, laugh at sunsets, hug after meditation, and truly experience that sense of community. We are all one big family.
Tickets are on sale now! Head over to Epizode to get yours before they sell out!