20 August 2019
The the other face, the ‘other’ side of Rototom Sunsplash. From the moment the festival area opens until the music kicks off, even as an alternative to the concerts. What can you do between concerts in the reggae festival area?
Voices can be heard. They seem to be coming from the Pachamama tent. It’s one of the bio-development dance therapy classes, or the technique that helps us connect with life through music and dance. A few hours earlier, under the same dome, a new day at Rototom Sunsplash started with a class of dance yoga. There are a few hours till the concerts start, but the area has opened its doors. One of the main attractions was clear; the hammocks. Well, the shady areas are a great place to rest as well.
The first smells of food start to float through the air and it’s not surprising given that the food areas are the closest thing you can get to travelling the world, literally, without leaving Benicàssim. Europe, Asia, America, Africa… The smell of pizza in the Artesano Market, the clouds of smoke from pad thai, the rice of a paella that’s just been left to stand, the delicious combinations of food from Ethiopia and Jamaica, a freshly cooked crêpe… Afternoons at Rototom also allow you to explore new and refreshing flavours. One example is that of Pura Vida, the new space dedicated to alternative drinks at the festival. From cocktails with organic ingredients to African juices like ginger and bissap to freshly pressed cane sugar smoothies. In Pura Vida is Luis, from Vitae Kombucha. It’s a probiotics drinks stand that uses kombucha as a base for its drinks; a fungus that is said to improve gut flora, aid digestion and increase absorption of nutrients, to name a few of its benefits. Luis combines it with mashed fruits and natural spring water. He explained how to prepare an alcohol-free mojito in front of a TV crew that broadcasted live from Pura Vida.
Other attractions include the journey through the tastes (and smells) as well as a journey that connects body and soul as an excuse for us to find ourselves and connect to Mother Earth. It’s the serenity that is breathed around Pachamama. Next door, the sensorial garden can be found; an opportunity to stimulate your senses (and remember, you have to enter barefoot to feel it). Nearby, next to Magico Mundo, where the kids get fully involved in the reggae festival, is the Social Art Gallery, which continues to come to life. Artists have been working on murals since the start of the festival, this year using our motto, Stand up for Earth, as inspiration; a green and engaging vision.
In the African Village the tea ceremony Ataya starts in order to kick off the talks at the area of the festival representing the African continent. It’s followed by an exhibition of African percussion, Rototom vibrates! Yet the festival doesn’t only drink from here, very close by is one of the rest areas, an improvised slackline exhibition; the best way to test your balance.
The first few hours of the afternoon or even between concerts are usually the best chance to get lost in the Open-air Market; almost literally, as every stand forms part of an authentic labyrinth where you can find almost everything. Important note: check out the stands at the Artesano Market and their DIY workshops, take a wander around the No Profit zone, where you can meet different NGOs and associations in person, and why not even lend them a hand.
While all this happens, the lion’s mane of Rototom transforms into tentacles of an octopus that reaches out as far as the beach. The festival doesn’t stop and extends its programming to the Solé Rototom Beach, its beach bar at Gurugú beach (Grau de Castelló). It’s a local hotspot and the week of Rototom makes taking a trip there practically mandatory. Here the sea dances on the waves, feet touch the sand and a sound system accopanies evert day of the festival at Solé, it’s even a great place to take a dancehall class. Rototom vibes.
Asun Pérez (Translated by Finn Darco)