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Gratitude Migration

Gratitude Migration : A Personal Journey


Never in a million years would I have believed that I would be living in a major city (Philadelphia), be a global journalist (Tanzgemeinschaft), a festival or resident DJ playing in the same booths and at the same clubs and festivals as musical legends (donnerstag). Or how about teaching human movement (TRAIN Philadelphia), let alone returning to my hometown and doing all the above 20 years later for Gratitude Migration – on the same exact beach I grew up on for three amazing days in July. (JULY 15-17, 2016, hELLO Beach, Keansburg, NJ)

Now, when I was approached with these opportunities from the producers of Gratitude Migration: Summer Dream 2016, my jaw dropped.

What is Gratitude Migration?

For the past six years Gratitude NYC has brought together theme camps, interactive artists, stunning performances, amazing DJs and VJs and live bands along with consciousness expanding workshops, speakers and activities. In 2015, Gratitude evolved into something new and different, bringing their transformative experiences out of Brooklyn warehouses and into beautiful natural surroundings for a three-day weekend campout, accessible just an hour from New York City. Gratitude Migration is also a ”Leave a Positive Trace” event committed to leaving the environment and local community better then before they arrive. That means working with the local community in Keansburg, NJ – where I grew up as a child – to create a collaborative experience between artists and creatives in the city as well as down on the shore.

How is it possible that thousands of my fellow artists, musicians, performers, friends, and fellow fans are getting together on a beach in North Jersey to celebrate Life, Art, Music and each other – with the wonderful theme of migrating to be grateful – on the same exact beach that I walked as a child?

Festival goers from Gratitude Migration 2015 get down on the beach.

Gratitude Migration will take place in the same town I saw destroyed by fire in the 1980s. In the same town I witnessed being destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, with water levels reaching second story windows – across from the same beach and boardwalk where this festival takes place. These beaches and homes were so devastated by Sandy that Governor Chris Christie gave his initial recovery address from the shores of Keansburg, New Jersey. The destruction to the homes of my family and friends, as well as local businesses was immeasurable.

In 2001, I sat on this exact same beach and watched New York City burn to the ground for two weeks, located only seven and a half miles away across the bay. Those images after the attacks of 9/11 will live with me forever.

A post-apocalyptic look at the Keansburg Boardwalk from 2012 via Hurricane Sandy.      .


Keansburg is the same town where I’ve seen people die, struggle and fight against rough local social and economic factors for the last 40 years. The borough is roughly one square mile yet the local EMS team responds to almost 1400 calls per years. On top of challenging social issues and natural disasters, the local economy is struggling: This year I found out that my grade school and church were both recently shut down by the diocese of Trenton due to lack of funding. They were both institutions in my hometown for almost a century

Enter: Gratitude Migration

This is the second year that Gratitude is descending upon this New Jersey, Bayshore town. And it has been truly amazing. Last year, 1400+ people, including world-class DJs, artists, musicians, performers, yoga instructors, dancers, dance instructors, music fans, and spiritual seekers – from technologists to environmental enthusiasts – came together to infuse this local economy with tens of thousands of dollars doing business at local restaurants, hotels and motels and on the boardwalk. Additionally, the producers of Gratitude Migration sourced equipment rentals, printing and construction materials from Keansburg and Monmouth County area businesses as much as possible, showing Gratitude to their local hosts in line with the festival’s ethos.

This is year two of a five-year deal with the Borough; and 2016 promises to be another home run for Gratitude Migration, the local economy, and the Borough and people of Keansburg – as well as musicians, artists, performers and fans!

In their own words…”Unleash your wildest dreams and let the sea bring them to life…You’re invited to enter a world where life becomes art and dreams become reality, set on an idyllic, undiscovered beach remarkably close to New York City. A seaside oasis where dreams turn into reality, with others who share the same vision of creativity, culture and connection. A gathering of open-minded spirits communing in music, dance, art, performance, technology, environmentalism, yoga, spirituality, family, and… connection. “

With New York City as a backdrop, I will be writing, interviewing and blogging about my experience at Gratitude Migration. I will also be DJing at some theme camps and teaching human movement at my own seminar entitled “Movement is Medicine” on the beach on Saturday, July 16th.

This journalist/DJ/yogi/music fan can’t wait to return home and be grateful on the beaches of my birthplace with thousands of like-minded people.


Here’s the video from last year (OMG) :

Follow me on this journey as I take you behind the scenes as a journalist, creative writer, DJ, music fan, yoga instructor and most of all, a grateful human being.

Stay Tuned. Namaste…

It matters little whether you are an artist or a visitor, the love for music is the unifying factor.

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