NZ’s Luminate Festival is moving away from reality

November 9, 2020

Categories: Skepticism , Tags: NZ, Luminate

The Luminate festival, held each year outside of Nelson, has always been a little out of touch with science. But, as David Farrier shows (opens new window), things appear to be getting worse. The festival has been flirting with conspiracy theories and woo peddlers, in a list they published on the Luminate website called the "13 Crystal Seeds of Positive Change". The list included the names of people who have inspired the festival’s organisers. You get one point for each of the following names you recognise:

  • Pete Evans - celebrity chef, peddler of bad food ideas
  • David Icke - lizard man
  • Rashid Buttar - friend of Billy TK, US osteopath and vaccine denier
  • Bruce Lipton - DNA denier
  • Tom Cowan - 5G conspiracy theorist
  • Dave Asprey - supplement seller
  • Gerald Pollack - structure of water scientist, winner of Emoto prize
  • Zach Bush - gut supplement seller

Each of those people is dangerous in their own ways, mostly through promoting conspiracies or recommending/selling unproven medical therapies. The organisers of the Luminate festival appear to have taken the list down for now, presumably in response to backlash from the article, and have replaced it with a blog post (opens new window) defending their choice of mentors. They say, in part:

"Our theme for Lunasa is bio-optimise and thrive- enhancing our internal biology, our external environment and power of the mind to achieve optimal health.

The people that we listed under the themes of the 13 Crystal Seeds are a range of doctors, scientists, researchers and others that we hear speak directly on these topics."

I can assure the organisers that the "power of the mind" will not allow them to achieve optimal health, and that most, if not all, of the people they have listed come under the category of "others" and are not actual, trustworthy doctors, scientists or researchers.

David Farrier in his article wonders whether, much like Billy TK, one or both of the organisers of the festival went down the online conspiracy theory rabbit hole over our lockdown period, when they were stuck at home and at a loose end. Although this appears to be guesswork, it at least seems plausible.