In Pursuit of Lucid Enchantment…

It’s that time of year again… I have 20+ tabs open, on my browser and my brain. Upgrading my failing hard drive on my five year old laptop felt like breaking through to a new level of existence and a simultaneous brain upgrade and cash hemorrhage. The hustle is ON.

Full steam ahead, two festivals in production, conference calls and projects crammed into every bit of possible off time, plus a part time web design gig and once in a while I even make it to yoga class or take care of the chickens and goats! Yes, busy to the point of slight overwhelm, but what else is new? I thrive on this shit. And there’s not much else to distract me from it.

In November I started my third marketing cycle with Lucidity Festival near Santa Barbara.  Taking place in early April, this unique open-source festival is always a fun chance to see old friends, soak up a little SoCal sunshine, and enjoy beautifully curated music, performances, workshops, and more. Looking forward to the always awesome music lineup, and maybe I’ll actually get my ass in gear and take some workshops this year! Tickets are going quick now that our lineup is out, so hit me up for my discount code & join me in exploring Eudaimonia…

Late last summer & fall I was working on a crowdfunding campaign for their Lucid University project, which is also pretty exciting. Lucid University began as the central workshop / learning space at Lucidity festivals, and last year expanded to offer five immersive 3-day courses that took place the week before the festival, Courseweek. Last year, LU partnered up with a few other aligned folks to collectively purchase a property called Trillium, which had been a retreat & education center, in Southern Oregon. They just recently closed on the land, and a few of my Lucidity co-workers have been spending the winter in cabins up there, learning from the previous stewards and planting the seeds for the new home of a Lucid University education and retreat center and sustainable co-living / co-working community space. The festival, and Courseweek, is still in Santa Barbara, but this opens a whole new chapter of possibilities for this team so that’s really exciting to be a part of! I’ll be checking out the land at the Land-Warming party in May at Trillium.

But first, south to Lucidity in just a little over a month. I am excited to see my friends Pal & Ottie who live in the area and all my Lucidity co-workers and Animal Kingdom campmates! It’s been a long, cold, wet, and stormy winter, and I’m ready for festival season. And some time with old friends. Gonna try to figure out a visit to Idaho somewhere in the madness too…

Once festival season begins, there’s no slowing it down. I am now working year-round for Enchanted Forest Gathering, and we recently announced new dates for 2017 in June. I’m knee-deep in putting content together for the revamped website, and I’m working with an almost entirely new Marketing team this year, which has been really awesome and helped me learn a lot already. Moving to June means even little more overlap between EFG and Lucidity though. The last month or so I have really started to feel the overwhelm, and have gone back into hermit workaholic mode. But with both teams moving along like well-oiled machines and a couple hectic production seasons under my belt now, I feel like I’m finally getting a better handle on this work-life balance thing. Kinda.

The Enchanted lineup is shaping up to be the stuff of legends, and Camp Higher Porpoise is making plans for an even more amazing collaborative Mendoland environment. I am super excited to announce our music lineup this year. OMG. It is SO HARD to keep this one in… but we gotta have a freakin’ website first so let’s just say it will be well worth the wait, and you should definitely BE THERE. Get those tickets meow, and be sure to hit me up for my discount code. You will regret it if you don’t Get Enchanted with us this year.

I am not too sure how many flow arts events I will be able to make it to this year… now that FireDrums is the weekend before Enchanted, it may be a bit hard to go. But I am going to a new event that I’ve been meaning to check out forever, Symbiosis, which will be in Oregon this August on the weekend of a solar eclipse. Badass. A bunch of my festie friends will be there, and it will be nice not to be working at a festival for once, but we’ll see, I may just find a way to work at it yet…

All this work and festivals has been a lovely distraction from the absolute shitshow that is American politics lately, as well as my rather neglected personal life, so I’m just gonna keep my focus there. I have been to some awesome shows the past few months in the Bay, had some yard sales with friends and started cleaning out my storage unit, foraged for edible mushrooms in between rainstorms, got involved in a local activism group called Mobilize Mendo, and marched in the Womens’ March in Fort Bragg, which was super inspiring and uplifting after such a horribly fucked election, and really well attended. I have NEVER seen so many people in one place on the Mendocino coast. And the protest signs—SO CLEVER! Also loved seeing the various National Parks and science / environmental agencies that Twitler has tried to silence and censor rise up on social media with alternate accounts, climate change truth bombs and clever resistance. We need these silver linings in this stormy weather.

My political activism is re-awakening, after getting a bit complacent and wrapped up in my own stuff for quite a while, it’s time to wake up & rage against the machine again. Reminds me of my college days of turning every art class project into a political statement. I never thought I would actually miss George Dubya & his cronies, but I admit it, I do. There is no reasoning with the current batch of fearmongers and I am legitimately terrified for my country. But mostly for anyone who is not a rich white male, and for the planet, for immigrants and our oppressed populations whose already inadequate protections now don’t stand a chance. I can’t even pay attention to the news lately, it’s too much. The rise of fascism is too real and too fast. But I’m bracing for a fight. And I’m focusing on building and supporting the communities who are our only hope. It’s about time to start planting more seeds and growing more food, too…

There is good happening. I am surrounded by amazing and inspiring people, but I can see through the safe walls of my bubble. I know it’s dark out there, and there’s much work to be done. But I won’t let that shit dull my shine, and I sure as hell won’t let it keep me from building the better future I know is possible, because I glimpse it every time I arrive at a festival and see people working together, building community, creating amazing art and celebrating the good we still have.

So I’ll just be here, working, dreaming, dancing, and resisting until the clouds part and the sun returns… Spring is coming. So I gather my strength and look forward.

The Enchanted Life

Photo by Jacob Avanzato

Eeeeeeeeeeek! Where has 2016 gone? How is it mid-July already? Oh, and by the way, will I see you next weekend at Enchanted Forest Gathering? I better. For the last few months, my life has basically been consumed with producing and marketing my favorite festival.

6DaysCountdown

This post sat blank as a draft for weeks as it grew closer and closer, and somehow it just never got done, with all of my jobs, attempting to pull off a garden this summer, and getting ready to move. Again. (More on that later…) So here we are, less than a week until gates open, and still far from our ticket sales goal, and I am hoping for a miracle as I write my annual love letter to my enchanted family.

The past few months have taught me more than I can really wrap my head around. This entire year has been a roller coaster. Through it all I have been working on Lucidity and Enchanted Forest. I have taken on more than ever before in these roles, doing everything I can to help my team succeed and learning from amazing collaborators in the process. It blows me away that in the span of two years, I have gone from attending and volunteering at festivals to helping create them. I never thought my hobby would turn into my dream job.

My favorite thing about working at these events has been getting to pull my friends into roles in the organizations I work with, giving them a chance to shine, and watching them completely amaze me with their brilliance. I am inspired by the people I have the pleasure of working with every day, and at my friends’ capabilities when given a platform and a purpose. The plans have been in the works for months. Our team has been working our asses off, and this precious child we’ve incubated together over the past six months (honestly, more like six years, as this will mark year six of EFG) is about to be born, ready or not, into a world that may or may not be prepared for it.

I never feel ready. No matter how early we start planning and marketing, the event itself sneaks up on me. But I jump anyway, trusting the hard work I’ve put in, the team that surrounds me, and my community.

EF2016-Lineup-Poster-FINAL-web-4

Listening to our amazing music lineup, checking out the weather forecast, and planning our camp full of locals and collected friends from near and far have left me buzzing with excitement.

Last weekend I traveled to Seattle and back to my little sister’s wedding. I feel like being so busy working on festivals has left me with way less time than I’d like to help her plan her wedding, but luckily, she is superhuman, and the entire thing was meticulously planned and went beautifully. We even managed to avoid the rain that was on the forecast. In SEATTLE.

I hated that I had to take my laptop on a wedding trip and spend down time working. But alas, with this labor of love, I can’t give enough. EFG, you have my heart.

I am not only the Marketing Operations Manager, helping keep the marketing machine moving along, but this year I once again co-coordinated the Flow Zone workshop space. This time I got to share that honor with my partner in flow, James, and we are super excited about the talented roster of teachers & performers we’ve put together.

EF16-Yoga-Movement-lineup-poster-Final-Web

This year boasts our most epic lineup yet, with some exciting new micro-environments, a HUGE variety of workshops, and all kinds of magic in the making. This year our team, our website and branding, and our systems all got a major upgrade. We’re finally growing into our new venue, Black Oak Ranch, and collaborating with some of the people we could only dream about working with even a year ago. I am truly excited to see where this YUM train goes… I just hope we get enough people there to make this dream viable.

It’s become a very tough and oversaturated market in the last few years, and with so many festivals it has been hard to draw the crowd we need to sustain the ridiculously epic production we’re putting on. The intention is on point, the team is amazing, our lineup is strong, and now as we set sail on this adventure, we can only hope for the best. I believe. I always have. I always will. There is no place like home. And for me, home is among my friends in the Enchanted Forest.

I hope you’ll join me in the dream… We’re building it. Who will come be a part of it?

The Joys of Moving in an El Niño Winter

Long time no blog… it must be festival production season or something. My role as Marketing Operations Lead with Lucidity Festival started in December and the workload has been steadily increasing as we approach the event in April.  In addition, Enchanted Forest Gathering production is just starting up, and I’ve been promoted! I am now the Marketing Manager, and super excited to help co-create year five, Crossroads, at Lucidity and year six at Enchanted Forest. Having similar roles and some overlap in teams makes the jobs a little easier to balance with my other jobs and projects.

We spent Thanksgiving with James’s mom and her family in La Quinta, way down south by Palm Springs. It was awesome finally getting to meet his beautiful mama, stepdad, grandma & grandpa, and we actually went out to eat on Thanksgiving, so not having to cook or do dishes all day was a wonderful vacation.  We came home with all kinds of gifts grandma insisted we take, bags full of citrus from the trees in their yards, and fun memories of card games and palm trees.

Thanksgiving Family Time
Thanksgiving Family Time

In between Thanksgiving and Christmas, our Mendo friends like to do a little thing called Friendsgiving. This year, we gathered at our friend Krista’s house in Albion, so we got extra spoiled with a wood-fired sauna and a hot tub soak after feasting our faces off on way too many desserts. We also went to a show in Arcata in mid-December to see Giraffage and Slow Magic. Such a good show, complete with emojis, 90s throwbacks, and a giraffe and a zebra jamming out to sick beats together.

For Christmas we traveled up to Idaho to spend about a week with my parents, my sister and her fiancé, my auntie & cousins, and two Haitian exchange students from University of Portland (both of whom are recipients of a scholarship Rachel started at her alma mater specifically for Haitian orphans).  On the drive there and back, we got to experience some serious snow in Tahoe, where we stayed with friends. We even got to go sledding in it and hang out with their wolf pack. Four wolves and a pitbull howling in unison is quite hilarious, in case you were wondering.

Our holidays were spent decorating sugar cookies, going on a trolley tour of Christmas lights, midnight mass, cheersing at folks walking down the snowy streets through a bar window, delicious food (I made a vegducken!!!) and lots of presents—basically, festive as fuck. 😉 We got to see a few friends and see Star Wars—woohoo! Having so many of the people that mean the most to me under one roof was the best Christmas gift I could’ve asked for and well worth the loooooong drives in winter weather. We even had a white Christmas and James got to experience shoveling snow for the first time in his life! Haha!

Silliness Runs in the Family...
Silliness Runs in the Family…

We started off 2016 by celebrating with our Enchanted Forest family at their “Loungerie and Lace” party at Isis Oasis in Geyserville, a quirky little retreat center and animal sanctuary with Egyptian temples and a pool & hot tub. Super plush party with lots of squish, silly birds that heckled you as you walked by, and really cute cats. What would an Egyptian temple be without kitties to worship?

I can’t believe it’s nearing mid-February already, because this year has flown by! PETA, Lucidity, and Enchanted Forest keep me stupid busy. Plus I help Amae Love Designs with her etsy orders and social media. Lucidity’s lineup is getting me all excited for our trip down to Santa Barbara this April. And I’m working on my sister’s wedding invitations and helping plan her bachelorette weekend in Whistler, BC.

Lucidity: Crossroads Music Lineup
Lucidity: Crossroads Music Lineup

And then there’s this moving thing that’s happening.

James got a pretty stellar opportunity working as a caretaker on a local guy’s land. He’s a bit of a homesteader with something like 40 acres, chickens & goats & gardens & a greenhouse. James has been working out there for a few weeks now and there is a house on the property that has opened up. It’s a bit of a fixer upper, but it is bigger than where we’re at now, with an extra room for an office, a more open floor plan and a bunch of fenced land around it that would make a great garden. We looked at it about a month ago and decided that a little change in scenery was long overdue. And so, this week we pack up our lives in the house I’ve lived in longer than anywhere since I left my parents’ place in Idaho and move a few miles south to a new home that’s a little more off the beaten path.

I am excited and really looking forward to more space and the fact that both James and I will now be working from home. But this is a really busy time of year for me with Lucidity two months away and Enchanted Forest tickets going on sale, so juggling it all has been a bit stressful. The weather has been wet and not cooperative at all until just this last weekend, when we lucked out with gorgeous sunshine and highs in the 60s for our yard sale at our friends’ place.

This move has been a long time coming, and now that it’s happening so soon I am really excited for a fresh start, and glad that I’m not going too far. But moving adds a LOT to my already overflowing plate. I’m calling on our community to help us out if possible. There is SO much potential at this new place and my head is swimming with garden plans, to-do lists and layout & decor ideas, but I barely have time to think about any of it with meetings, multiple jobs, emails,  tasks, newsletters to design, posts to schedule, graphics to create, phone calls and tickets to sell. I got a Lucidity intern to help me with social media stuff a few weeks ago, he started off strong and then had to back out this week. While I’m moving… Fun! 😛

There’s been a lot going on, plus a couple of dinners, birthdays, and parties, but mostly work and planning. Scheming and hustling. Grinding and hoping. Dreaming and doing. 2016 is starting off with big changes and I have a good feeling about it all. But I am also realizing just how much STUFF I own that now has to be moved and how much work the next few days will be. My Valentine’s Day Weekend won’t be spent with relaxing bubble baths and romantic dinners, but moving boxes and scrubbing walls… But I’m looking forward to it for sure. And by looking at the recent weather, maybe the universe is smiling upon us. My last move was in the winter as well, it’s never easy, but this time I have more help, and James and I will soon be moving into our first place that is OURS – rather than him moving into my place and having to keep most of his stuff in storage because it was already packed full enough. As I’m dealing with packing & moving stress, I just close my eyes and picture my new OFFICE and all that glorious wall space I get to fill up with art and smile. Thanks, 2016, I think I’ll keep you…

Sweet September Summertime Magic

It’s hard for me to believe that it’s late September already. This year has truly flown by… I suppose that happens when you’re living the dream!

This weekend James and I embark on our last festival adventure of the year, and our second flow arts retreat this year, Pacific Fire Gathering. We went for the first time last year and it was one of our favorite weekends ever. I am so ready to finish up a packed festival season with one final family reunion ~ an intimate, flow arts focused retreat of our spinnerd flowmies on the beautiful Oregon coast. We can’t wait!

We are still recovering from Enchanted Forest… Wow. My heart swells with the memories made, the hard work and little sleep, the bonds cemented and the family found. I am so ridiculously grateful that even thinking about it brings me to tears… Just… Wow. Thank you.

Flower of Life at the Dance Temple

I have truly busted my ass this year, but it doesn’t always feel like work, even when I’m going from one job to the next to the next and staying up late working. Some of it has been familiar territory, but most of it has been completely new to me. It’s been a steep learning curve and I still have so much more to learn and explore. Thankfully I have been able to work with inspiring people and branch out to social media marketing and event production while keeping my part-time web design contract with PETA, providing some stability while I expand my skill set in new areas after hours. But quite honestly, I’m ready to hibernate for the winter and catch up on my web design training and flow arts practice again! After a decade of doing design work, getting into a new field and getting involved with producing some of my favorite events has been a breath of fresh air to my life and I am so excited to keep doing ALL THE THINGS!

Enchanted Forest marked the culmination of working on three consecutive festival production cycles with three (somewhat overlapping) really amazing teams. In addition to social media and marketing support, I also helped co-coordinate the Flow Zone at EF this year, one of eight workshop areas focused on flow arts and spinning. We had a small workshop area near the main stage shaded by beautiful oak trees, and every time I walked by, the area was full of happy people learning new moves and props. I was SO proud to see so much play and joy happening in that space, well attended workshops and lots of beginners trying flow arts for the first time.

EF Flow Zone

 

There was a moment on Sunday afternoon that completely made my weekend… I was hanging out with friends dancing to Chali 2na and behind us, in the flow zone, we saw a toddler wearing nothing but a diaper and ear protection rocking out with his dad, both with shiny new flow wands they’d gotten from Aileen Lawlor’s workshop. The dad was practicing his flow to the music while the little guy held his wand in the middle, dancing around clumsily and waving it in his hand with a huge grin on his face. They rocked out together all afternoon in blissful moments of the most adorable flow magic. Just one of many magical memories…

We were posting to social media throughout the event, but since the wifi hot spots onsite were painfully slow, Jonah and I had to drive into Laytonville each day to get posts scheduled, check messages, and update our networks to rally the family to our gates. We still have quite a bit of space at Black Oak Ranch to fill, but we had a bunch of on-site ticket sales especially on Sunday. We had a huge media team, a big expansion of offerings with 8 different workshop areas, 4 stages and a variety of music programming, awesome performance artists, a sexy sauna and bathhouse, and a brand new beautiful venue to enjoy as the fruits of our months of work and organization, so there was a LOT going on and I was running all over the place working on a little of everything (and playing too – one can never be too busy for an impromptu photo shoot).

Photo by Edward Clynes
Photo by Edward Clynes

Though our fire spinning performance time was cut short, I got to fire hoop on the main stage with Liquid Stranger and James and I even got to meet him afterwards. We also got to watch Koan Sound from backstage, get our minds melted by Ott, get serenaded to sleep from the nearby Dance Temple, and we had sound in our camp with Acacia Beats and all kinds of guest DJs playing throughout the weekend. The performances were top notch, the music was amazing, but it was the people I shared the weekend with that really made this one memorable.

Camp Higher Porpoise Peeps

In between running around everywhere and working, I did get to enjoy some of the festival. It was awesome getting to hang out with friends from Lucidity, Once Upon a Festival and other festivals, flowmies from flow fests, local friends, our Enchanted Forest and Camp Mendoland families… but seeing us all coming all together and creating Camp Higher Porpoise this year was simply mind-blowing and heartwarming. James’s DJ crew Acacia Beats and a bunch of our Mendo friends joined forces with the fine folks we camp with at Raindance (which was canceled this year) to create the most amazing glampfest I have ever been lucky enough to be a part of. We rented a huge tent, had power and sound, a yoga swing, carpet and squish, lights and a badass lounge area in our camp just behind the Dance Temple. So many friends from various parts of our lives collaborated on a theme camp that was so plush, we had people asking what part of the festival we were and producers and musicians coming back again and again to hang out, play music, or get buffed with the car buffer on the massage table. SO GOOD. My friends are such badasses and DAMN do we know how to have a good time. Camp Higher Porpoise / Mendoland, we fucking rock!

The Raising of the Porpoise

The weekend went pretty smoothly but of course it flew by way too fast. As we worked, played, learned, connected, and danced, my heart swelled. This is where I was meant to be. These are my people. And I actually helped make this magic happen! Like I said, WOW.

But Enchanted Forest was not the last of our summer adventures. For Labor Day weekend, James and I drove up to Boise, Idaho to hang out with my family. We stayed at the family cabin in the beautiful mountains of McCall with my grandparents, parents, aunt, and my sister, her fiancé, and their adorable dog Bisbee.

We ate well, caught up, did a little planning for my sister’s wedding next summer (!!!!!), took a boat ride around Payette Lake and rode bikes in Ponderosa State Park. It was a long overdue and really nice visit, but I’m glad we’ll be going back for Christmas because it wasn’t quite enough family time. James got to meet more of my family and he really bonded with our fur-niece, he and Bis are SUPER tight now. 😉 She was a bit terrified of the boat though…

Family Time in McCall

As we’ve been decompressing and preparing for one last hurrah this weekend, I have enjoyed being home, cooking delicious food from my garden, and playing catch up after a whirlwind production season. I am SO looking forward to this fall, when I can stay home for a while, catch up on design and flow training, clean and purge our house so we can look for a new one, hibernate with my babycakes and just RELAX for a bit. Thankfully the next trip after PacFire will be for Thanksgiving, when I finally get to meet James’s mom in Southern California.

Whew! Life sure has been amazing lately. Sometimes I can’t believe how lucky I am to be living it. Thank you all so much for being a part of this magical journey!

And now I leave you with some inspiring words from Prince Ea, whose videos I’ve been digging lately:

 

 

 

Under the Spell of Enchanted Forest

EF Family

Having been to so many gatherings and festivals of all types and sizes over the past dozen or so years, I would think it would be more difficult for me to choose a favorite. A few years ago I probably would’ve said Burning Man was my favorite, and it is truly amazing and unique, for sure… but the event that’s had my heart the past few years is my favorite for many different reasons. Let me tell you the tale…

In 2011, a seed was planted here in Mendocino County. In 2012, I discovered and attended my first Enchanted Forest Gathering in the beautiful redwoods of Camp Navarro about 45 minutes down the coast from my house. Not sure what to expect but lured by the most delicious of bass music lineups, I set up camp with two of my best burner buddies, Fern and Koji, in a towering redwood grove. We watched as the Boy Scout camp was transformed into a glittering wonderland of art, music, beautiful people, sweet little environments and altars, silly play and lots of color. We danced in the glow of a giant flower of life that changed colors as it lit up the crowd and stayed up all night because the music was just too good, Random Rab played at sunrise and I had a flow wand dancing partner that just wouldn’t quit!

Megan and Fern at Enchanted Forest 2012

Being at Enchanted Forest my first year, I felt like I had stumbled into a secret coven of magical fairy folk. Everyone I met and encountered simply radiated love and positive energy. There was an element of ceremony, of holding sacred space, more so than other events I had been to, but it wasn’t pretentious or overly woo-woo, simply in the background was an understanding that we were engaging in something meaningful, more than just a party. Though it was also one of the sauciest parties I’d ever witnessed, without any of the sloppy sauce due to its alcohol-free status. I have never seen dancers so in sync with each other, a dance floor so full of smiles, or reluctantly dragged my tired ass to bed with a bigger smile on my face as I have at Enchanted Forest Gatherings… And this reaction is not uncommon, our community quickly become family and everyone who has been simply gushes about the top-notch production, over the top decor and ambiance, amazingly epic stage design, lighting, music, and performance, but most of all… the smiles, the joy, the LOVE. Be still, my heart… it’s coming up again soon!

Random Rab EF Sunrise 2012

Wanting to be more involved with such a stellar local festival, in 2013 I signed up to volunteer. My job was to help decorate the teahouse stage and to paint and put up signs all over the venue, and I got to meet more of the amazing people involved with organizing the festival. But what made that year most special for me was that Enchanted Forest was the first music festival that James and I attended together, shortly after we started dating.  It was also the first time I’d seen him DJ or perform at a festival, so I got to see the audience in awe and think “that’s MY boyfriend up there on that stage. Clearly I am WINNING at life!”

Blissed Out

I have so many beautiful memories of that weekend but what stands out most is getting to see Flicker absolutely crush it on stage DJing with Acacia Beats. He shared a set with his homies on Friday evening, on the most epic stage I had ever seen, a beautiful work of art nestled in a fairy ring of redwood trees with a waterfall and crystal altar underneath it. (Audiowaska knows what is up with stage design, and has been involved with Enchanted Forest ever since).  He was SO pumped to be up there, he was dancing harder than anyone in the crowd below, and I got to hoop to the whole set, sneak up to the stage to get a few photos, and watch in awe as my sexy new man did his thing. I still have a photo of him DJing on that stage as my desktop background; it is almost the sexiest thing I have ever seen (second only to him spinning fire, of course).

Flicker Gettin' It

We got to spin in the fire circle and on the performance platform to some pretty amazing music that year, had a great time goofing around with all our friends in camp, and become part of the Enchanted Forest family.

Last year Enchanted Forest was faced with quite the logistical challenge when it had to move venues just a week or two before the event. But this gathering just HAD to happen, and so the crew found a new venue last minute and it was held at Stone Bear near Tahoe on the beautiful (and cold) Yuba River. Even with having to move the entire festival hundreds of miles away, the weekend went off without a hitch. This family is resilient, creative, and capable!

Get Frisky Kitty!

Acacia Beats got to DJ again on another mind-blowing stage, and once again I volunteered as an assistant to the production team, this time brought in by Tulku himself, who James and I had gotten to know a bit better since we’d been involved with some of his parties and I’d started helping his lovely lady Amae with her Amae-zing clothing line, Amae Love Designs. I helped prepare the cabins for artists, check in artists and staff at the box office, and ran errands for artist relations. And I got to wear the ‘Saucy Squad’ laminate like a real part of the team!

Mr. Bill and Opiuo melted our faces, we spun fire and snuggled to stay warm in the crisp mountain air, and we danced down by the river and on top of the hill overlooking the Sierra Nevadas. It wasn’t our usual redwood home in Mendocino, but 2014 proved that it wasn’t the forest we gathered in that mattered, it was the community that made Enchanted Forest home. No matter where we danced together, with this crew, there was always magic in store… the air sparkled with it as the beats echoed through the trees. Everywhere I looked, people were smiling, hugging, connecting, creating, expressing, and most of all DANCING.

EF Family

Even though I didn’t officially begin working in festival production as a staff member until a few months later when Tulku brought me on to the Foreverland (now Once Upon a Festival) marketing team last summer, I consider Enchanted Forest to be the festival where I got my start in event production. I started as an attendee and got more involved each year. A lot of my friends are involved, whether performing, volunteering, staff, or playing the ever so crucial role of attendee, and it’s about an hour from our house. I have learned and grown so much because of my experiences at this event and connected with some truly amazing people. If there is one transformational festival I could encourage everyone I know and love to attend, one closest to my heart, it would without a doubt be Enchanted Forest Gathering.

Night Time at EF

This year marks 5 years of Enchanted Forest, and my fourth and most involved year yet. In the span of less than a year I have gone from scrambling to save or volunteer or street team for events such as this just so I could afford to attend, to this year being a part of the production crew that makes it happen as a production and marketing assistant. It’s almost too good to be true, and I still can’t believe this is my life and I get to work with such a superstar team of jedis!

And speaking of almost too good to be true, Enchanted Forest will not only be returning home to Mendocino County this year, but we’ll be dancing under the beautiful ancient oak trees of the legendary Black Oak Ranch, the old home of Earthdance, my former favorite local festival that ended in 2010. This means our community has some room to grow, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about this family, it’s that EF will always be true to our roots.  This move also opens up more possibilities and allows us to expand Enchanted Forest’s offerings to include a wider variety of music, eight different workshop areas, and all kinds of sanctuaries and environments to explore.

Enchanted Forest 2015 Lineup

One of the things I am most excited about this year, besides this amazing music lineup of course, is the addition of the Flow Zone at Enchanted. Kandice of Holistic Hooping and I are co-coordinating the space this year, and we are super excited to be bringing in about 10 amazingly talented flow arts instructors and performers. We’ll have workshops during all three days of the festival covering a variety of flow arts props and disciplines — it will be like a mini flow fest within my favorite festival! There will be a few flow vendors and a specific space in the back of the main concert bowl set aside for spinning things, practice, and play. It’s truly a dream come true and coordinating the workshops has been really exciting! I am so incredibly grateful to be on this team.

Clearly I could go on and on about this gathering, but I’ve written more than enough to share my experience, and this event is truly something you must experience for yourself, because words and photos simply can’t do it justice.  There is just something about being at Enchanted Forest, surrounded by the colorful forest critters on the dance floor, soaking up all the love being shared, moving your body to incredible music and witnessing masterpieces unfolding before your eyes… it’s more than just another transformational festival. I always say being with my festy family is going home, but Enchanted Forest is like Grandma’s house, all smiles and fresh baked pumpkin pie and more love than could ever be contained. I hope you’ll come home with me this year. It’ll be the most enchanting yet…

Take the LEAP! <3 We got you.

The Next Adventure Awaits, Once Upon a Festival

I have been far too busy finishing up with Lucidity and then jumping right into my new role with Once Upon a Festival to post an update as of late, oh festival season problems!

This past weekend I got to return to FireDrums for my third time. This year was an amazing experience at a beautiful intimate little venue. I took lots of excellent workshops and learned so much from awesome instructors. The talent in the Flowcase was jaw-dropping (OMG WES PEDEN, HOLY SHIT!) and I got to spend time with my flowmily. It was so good to be back after missing last year. But more on that later…

Once Upon a Festival Lineup
Pretty excited about the Once Upon a Festival music lineup!

In less than two weeks I’ll be at Once Upon a Festival, which was called Foreverland last year and was the event that really got me started working behind the scenes in festival production and marketing. This epic event will be a creative collaboration between several of my favorite festivals, sound camps, and production companies (like Envision, Raindance, Enchanted Forest and Lucidity) and once again we’ll be gathering at the beautiful East Park Reservoir in Colusa County, CA. Except this year the lake is FULL and we’ll have even more magic in store for you! Year two will most definitely be a level up!

I am stoked to be a marketing assistant this year, as well as the street team coordinator and the on-site media team coordinator for Once Upon a Fest. As usual, I am wearing lots of hats at once and enjoying the variety. It’s been exciting seeing this event take shape over the past couple of months. We are making some awesome improvements this year and there are a lot of talented, dedicated, and brilliant people involved in producing this event. It is certainly an honor to be a part of this team, and especially to have been a part of its fruition since the beginning. To say that I’m excited to see what adventures and shenanigans await us on our journey this year is an understatement! I hope you’ll check it out and help spread the word!

Once Upon a Festival will feature a variety of workshops covering all kinds of topics like movement, yoga, permaculture, and flow arts. A treehouse stage, pirate ship stage, and floating stage on the lake will provide 24 hour music in a variety of genres and quality sound. Branches Mobile Gallery of Lucidity fame will be setting up a display of inspiring visual art, and several art installations, performance artists and live painters will be in attendance. Lots of shaded chill spaces, a nectar healing temple for self-care, interesting vendors, and colorful characters are sure to make an appearance. Theme camps and creative costumes are highly encouraged – and I may even get to help award prizes for the most clever costumes I spot on site! Fun!

Live Your Own Fairy Tale at Once Upon a Festival

Hope you can join me at Once Upon a Fest! Message me for a discount code good for $10 off your tickets – 3-day, 2-day, and 1-day passes are currently on sale, as are meal passes, early arrival passes, and car camping passes. This festival is on the rise and definitely one to watch. Jump on board and Live Your Own Fairy Tale!

Happy Birthday to Me, Indeed!

D’awwww… I feel like I’ve been adopted into this awesome loving family of brilliant creative jedis of compassion and light and change. Hearing their gratitude totally made me cry at our Lucidity​ marketing debrief meeting last night. My team is just so wonderful! And I’m a total sap.

As the marketing team discussed what worked and what didn’t about our work and Lucidity this year, it became apparent that I have really stumbled into something special here. It has been such an honor to work with you all and I have learned so much in so many ways from this experience.

Working at Lucidity: This is my job. Amazing!
Working at Lucidity: This is my job. Amazing!

I left my first Lucidity Festival feeling very proud of my involvement and my hard work the past few months, but also just simply awestruck and inspired and blissed out by the people, the stories, and the energy that create the event and the community surrounding it. Just WOW. I left saying “yeah, this is something I can feel good about promoting/selling/blabbing all over social media and to all my friends about/dedicating my time to/staying up late working on/etc.” and so very aligned with everything Lucidity is creating.

This is big for me, as this whole marketing / promotion thing is pretty new to me and I refuse to work with organizations I can’t align with and believe in. I invest myself very heavily into my work and everything I am involved in, my inner artist and workaholic just can’t help but pour every ounce of creative energy, heart, and soul into my projects and my work – especially when the project is particularly inspiring or meaningful to me. This one must have struck an artery…

Scenes of Lucidity 2015: Kindred Quest
Scenes of Lucidity 2015: Kindred Quest

I feel like I just went to jedi superhuman badass training camp or something. You are all AMAZING humans. Thank you for trusting me, pushing me, inspiring me, collaborating and sharing and welcoming me into your family. Thank you for your patience, your understanding, for reading all my unnecessarily wordy e-mails and for adapting along with me to new processes. Thank you for spoiling me rotten the moment I arrived on site, a warm place to work, cold pressed coffee on tap, sweet Lucidiswag, and OMG the FOOD!!! Thank you for making it possible for my sweetie to join me for the weekend at Lucidity – I felt like my life was utterly complete getting to spend time with him, some of my good friends, my amazing team, and so many new friends all at once in such a beautiful place. Wait, and I got paid for this?! I must be dreaming… oh wait, we all are… co-creating a stunningly beautiful future that I have only begun to glimpse and am SO excited to help reveal…

I must give a few shout outs in gratitude… Reuben Smith – THANK YOU for contacting me about openings in the marketing department at Lucidity the end of last year and recommending me for a position. I owe you a beer, a bottle of kombucha, and/or a really huge hug! Hope to see you at Once Upon a Festival!

To James ‘Jaymo’ Barnard, who I worked very closely with the past few months – you are a rock star and I’m not sure how you do it all! You were an absolute joy to work with, always easy to talk to, kind, supportive, and brilliant. To Jonah Haas, Noah Crowe, Wolfbear, Sabrina Calderon, Matt (Rodriguez and Rideout), Victory, Meow, and WAY too many other people to finish this list… Thank you for welcoming me into the fold, showing me the ropes, and being your amazingly badass, hard working, inspiring and superhuman selves! I am so impressed and awed by everyone I encountered at Lucidity. I have found a home in the transformational festival community and especially a few small, like-minded and inspiring events that I am lucky enough to work with on a regular basis now. Lucky me!!!

To my partner James, thank you for being so supportive, flexible, and for putting up with my utter failure to cook a proper meal for weeks on end and all my late nights of work and going to bed before me. And I am SO grateful that you got to join me for the weekend at Lucidity last minute and make my week even  more complete! And to all my friends who I have not seen much of these past few months, I miss you! My campmates at Lucidity also helped make it an amazing weekend I’ll never forget… so much gratitude!

Beautiful Lucidity Memories - So Much Love!
Beautiful Lucidity Memories – So Much Love!

I’m here as long as you’ll have me, Lucidity family, and that goes for the larger transformational festival community as well. I thought going to these events for a decade plus would change my life, but WOW does being part of the team producing them do so even more…

On the horizon for work (and play) is Once Upon a Festival in June, which is the same crew as Foreverland last year, with a few new additions and a new name. I will be assisting with the marketing team and doing some street team and media team management this year; I just got up to speed and activated for my new role! And then Northern Nights in July, a local festival in the redwoods on the Mendo/Humboldt county line that I am street teaming for. And my home sweet Mendo favorite, Enchanted Forest, will be returning to Mendocino county this year and I am thrilled to have been offered a position as a Production Assistant for this year. It’s gonna be a busy summer! Hope to see you at one of these stellar events!

As I close in on my 32nd birthday, I feel like this entire year, maybe this entire life, has been one great big beautiful birthday gift. I always was a late bloomer, and I feel like I’m finally starting to create a balance amidst the chaos and variety that is all of my jobs, my projects, my relationships and connections and my dreams. I have been blessed in countless ways over the years, but damn! Life is REALLY starting to get juicy as of late and I feel like I’m hitting my stride!

We are going out dancing Saturday night and meeting friends for brunch with a view on Sunday at Little River Inn to celebrate my birthday this year. I’m looking forward to keeping it simple and having fun with my Mendo friends and celebrating life this weekend. There is certainly much to celebrate this spring!

Boy is this getting good or what?! I can’t wait to see what’s around the next bend…