Where do I begin? Finding out about this festival was magical enough. Christa Everest, a wonderful human being and kindred spirit, told me about this festival after the free yoga class I took at Long Beach, just before offering up her home for me to stay in. That evening, I took one look at the lineup, list of workshops and description of the performance acts, and purchased my ticket right away. Lucidity and the Rockabilly convention are the only music festivals this summer that I’m not working, so I was more than happy to buy the ticket.
Seeing as I was in LA, I needed to find a ride to the festival.. which was about 2.5 hours north of downtown. I creeped around on the festival Facebook page until I connected with a friendly gentleman who lived in Studio City who was going up on Friday at 8 am. I met him at his place of work and had a wonderful tour of CBS TV studio, seeing the place they shot That 70’s Show, Seinfeld, and New York CSI.. to name a few. Definitely a fun little novelty to see a film studio set just as I’m leaving LA. Check and check.
That night I started to get a little giddy, as I do before a weekend of camping and music.. and it was exaggerated by the fact that it was my driver’s first festival ever! How exciting. We went out that night to have a few drinks to settle the nerves then hit the hay to get a good night’s rest.
The drive was amazing: lush green forests on each side, the road winding further and further up into the Santa Ynez mountains. Although we were accompanied by thunder, rain and lightning, it thankfully petered off a bit just as we arrived to the festival grounds. Front gate volunteers were alert, helpful and cheerful despite the rain. We parked, got our wristbands, and started the small trek up the hill towards festival camping.
As you can see.. the map provided was extremely descriptive and very helpful in determining our campspots. The festival was promoting a very cool concept that was brand new to me. Each camp area (Village) had it’s own theme, characteristics, and unique lineup of events. Attendees were encouraged to camp where they felt most connected to, and participate however they saw fit throughout the weekend.
Renegade Outpost- Separated slightly from the rest this stage housed the rebels, the underground DJ’s and the wandering souls.
Warrior’s Way – A place for active, strong beings, housing mostly workshops, ranging from Capoeira to Primitive Fire Breathing.
Lover’s Nest – Those who were heartfelt, smitten, rambunctious and generally full of love migrated here. Workshops in this area covered many topics from Partner Stretching to Contact Dance
Healing Sanctuary – Among other beautiful healing installations and workshops such as the Conscious Breath Experiment.. this area housed the Dream Dome.. a huge beautiful dome that was provided to encourage group lucid dreaming at night. It was a warm healing space to rest, and share dreams with others.
Although I was originally planning on camping at the Renegade Outpost I ended up finding a great spot right on the edge of Lunatic Fringe and Lover’s Nest. Must be the crazy lover in me I guess.. or the loving clown in me.. who knows.
It would take a whole weekend to describe the awesomeness that was this festival. Experiencing the Southern California style was definitely a top memory. Beautiful crystals, precious stones and handmade everything rocked the party. Unique to SoCal, everyone seemed to have the coolest flat brimmed cap, covered with everything from graffiti to embroidery. I found family everywhere I went, from my neighbours next door, to new friends down the street who fed me at least two hot meals a day. The workshops provided a conscious balance to the party music and the loving vibe got stronger and stronger throughout the weekend.
Every musician had me dancing throughout the weekend, both familiar artists and new. Some sets that stuck out in my memory based on beautiful beats and harmonies were, Rook, Love +Light, Birds of Paradise, Cello Joe, Russ Liquid and Gladkill. The live music stage absolutely killed it the entire weekend, and there was an amazing stage performance by The Wandering Marionettes. There was one musician who hit the right note for every Sunday night crowd member.. the ones carrying on after many people had left.. a crowd filled with breathing, smiling, earth toned energies.. Random Rab. It was the perfect set at the perfect time to wind down the weekend and set the tone for the rest of the night. Beautiful bass lines accompanied by live vocals. My heart opened and love poured in. I shared an incredible energy with others around me as bursts of fire raged into the starry lit from a nearby pirate space ship. The rest of the night was a wonderful dream.
Other honourable mentions:
The Dirty Beetles – Based out of Venice Beach, this black and camo-green party bus represented a crew of local musicians who provided grimy ragga bass beats out of their own sound system most of the weekend. They reminded me a lot of the Kootenay bass crews.
Nature’s Nest – A gorgeous flower altar installation that was done by a fellow named Nature and lovely lady named KK (Pictures below). They travel all over to festivals and other gatherings such as weddings to create beautiful spaces of love and worship.. adorned with flowers! So adorable.