In a hidden creative space, high above Sydney’s Central Train Station, a cultural movement is underway. Equal parts yoga, rave culture, and “conscious community networking,” the drug-and-alcohol-free Conscious Warehouse Party by Buddha Bar combines cutting edge movement (yoga and dance), music, meditation and neuroscience with a specific emphasis on mental health and wellness.
It’s set to become a monthly event on the Sydney party circuit, offering a much needed alternative to the drug-and-alcohol saturated mainstream pub and club circuit.
The event’s mastermind, Marc Tomkinson, combined his love of yoga, music and meditation with a professional background in events and marketing to come up with the concept. He tells us they focus on curating different health modalities for mental health and wellness.
“The movement therapy helps, energetically,” he says. “The sound frequencies, which is proven by neuroscience, helps with depression and evolves the brain.”
Time Out went along to the first event, following the smell of incense into a large room where we find 50-or-so people sitting cross-legged on a timber floor listening to an acoustic trio play an Amazonian folk song. There are equal numbers of men and women, ranging in age from 20-somethings to 50-somethings. After the set, the audience is invited to partake in a full-body “chakra opening,” involving yoga stretches and a massage of the body’s meridian points. Then it’s time to dance.
Tomkinson takes over the decks, surrounded by cosmic, spiritual and religious imagery and sculptures. Expert dancers in exotic costumes and face paint take centre stage, and the rest of us dance and mingle toward the back.
Kirsten Lord, a psychologist and harm-minimisation worker from the Royal North Shore Drug and Alcohol Service in Sydney, says this is exactly what the city needs.
“Everything is based around drugs and alcohol,” she says. “If you like dancing, the only events you can go to for free form dance are at clubs or pubs and are alcohol fuelled.”
After three hours of ecstatic dance and hits of cacao from the event’s Cacao Bar, the party winds down with another acoustic performance then a group meditation.
“It’s genuinely really beautiful,” says Aimee, an attendee on her first visit to the booze-free warehouse party. “Everyone is sober. Everyone is mingling. Everyone is interacting. You don’t feel the need to block out what it is your doing. You’re present, being loose and letting go without feeling the need to put heaps of substances in your body.”
Tickets for the next Conscious Warehouse Party are available now.