Reflecting on an Amazing End to Festival Season

Almost a month has passed already since Foreverland, which marked the end to our festival season this year. Since we started off early with Envision in February, it felt like a really LONG season. We only went to seven festivals, but with a couple back to back festival weekends and street teaming, volunteering, and working at over half of them, it was a very busy festy season. And a seriously amazing year in general… wow.

It has been hard to come up with the words to describe the past couple of months – they have flown by and the only way to summarize is to say that I’ve been overwhelmed (in a good way), extremely busy, and of course, overflowing with inspiration and ideas to keep me very very busy through the winter and into 2015.

One thing I must say is that I am in complete and utter AWE at some of the people I have been working with and surrounded by lately. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming because of how amazing life is. The transformational festival community, and especially the flow arts community, have recently opened up even further to me, filling me with a massive dose of inspiration, creative energy, and motivation to hustle my ass off and share this magic light we are co-creating with the world.

It’s kinda blowing my mind that I don’t just go to festivals any more, I help create them. As someone who has been going to barter faires, festivals, gatherings, burns, etc. etc. for about a dozen years now, this represents a pretty massive shift for me. And makes me ridiculously excited.

I am now helping the marketing & media teams for Enchanted Forest and Foreverland, wearing many hats and assisting however I can, but mostly maintaining social media accounts, creating marketing materials, and working with some very talented people to get the word out about these beautiful events. I have learned a LOT from some of the masterminds involved in events like Envision and Lucidity, and it has been a great way to gain experience in marketing and social media management. I get to build upon my design skills and learn new ones, all while helping the production team and getting a peek at how some of my favorite festivals are created. But I don’t just see events being created here, this community is building a new paradigm, testing out new ways of life, creating an amazing variety of art, circulating ideas, and bringing many divergent communities together to create something beautiful. This experience has made it even more clear to me that the transformational festival community can and is changing the world and shaping a more healthy and whole way of being. It’s electrifying watching this all take shape, and even more amazing playing a small role in making it happen. Like I said, wow.

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We finished off festival season with our only flow festival this year, Pacific Fire Gathering, on the Oregon coast, followed by Foreverland the very next weekend. We got to have a fun little flowmily sleep over at our friends’ house in Eugene before and after PacFire, and in addition to getting to spend time with friends we haven’t seen much of lately, we met many more spinner friends. Oregon was good to us and we didn’t want to leave! We worked at the fuel depot, took tons of workshops (I got to take two from the very inspiring Mary Jane Schroeder – such a badass!), watched all kinds of mind-blowing performances (and a very silly renegade show), spun fire all night, brought mega hoop out to play on the beach, got some new toys, learned a lot, and laughed so much our faces hurt. So much silliness, spinning, and love!

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I have never felt more at home among a group of people as I have at flow arts festivals. FireDrums and PacFire are definitely both on the must do list next year. These are our people and we were so tickled to be welcomed into our Oregon spinner crew at Camp Lookout at PacFire. FLOWMILY!!!

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The above poster was in the lodge at PacFire. It was my favorite. ONE OF US! If by “us” you mean this crazy family of circus freaks, fire benders, ninjas, jugglers, spinners, dancers, performers, object manipulators, and clowns that I am lucky enough to have stumbled into – then yes, I am in the cult. Sign me up. PacFire was one of those life-affirming weekends that will be fueling my flow practice all winter and then some. Lots to work on!

We were home for a couple of days, just enough time to do laundry but not enough to catch up on sleep, before it was time to head to Foreverland. After working on the event for six weeks, I was really excited to see everything we’d been envisioning manifest. Plus we had a pretty awesome crew gathered to camp with,  friends from our various summer adventures all setting up camp together for one last hurrah of the summer.

I headed to Foreverland with our friend Kolby, and we found a spot to camp and got situated before James and a bunch more friends rolled in. We arrived just in time to catch a beautiful sunset Thursday evening over the lake, and witnessed domes going up, stages being built, and a dusty lakeside being transformed into a pirate’s playground. It was quite an impressive collaboration, and the vibe and atmosphere reminded me a lot of Burning Man, though on a much smaller first-year-event scale, and with a lake, albeit a depressingly low and muddy one due to severe drought.

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We enjoyed perfect weather at Foreverland, hot days good for chilling and floating on the lake, and mild cool nights perfect for dancing and taking in all kinds of art and magic. I worked a bit over the weekend, posting updates to our Instagram and Facebook pages, participating in media team meetings and taking photos. We got to see some great music and performances, hang out with friends, spin some fire on stage, and even go up in the Space Wench pirate ship stage at the lake’s edge. It was an epic weekend and really satisfying to see the event we worked so hard on go so smoothly.

James and his buddies played an Acacia Beats set on a floating stage on the lake Saturday during the day. Their tunes brought out plenty of people to dance on the lake’s edge or float and swim in the water. I rode a floaty out to the stage, carefully taking my camera with me to get some photos during their set.

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Foreverland is a collaborative effort put on by various production companies, Burning Man camps, and other groups such as Enchanted Forest, Fractal Planet, Hookahdome, Sacred Spaces and more. It was a mix of the spiritual new-age hippie crowd, the rowdy pirate party people, local first timers and festival regulars, folks from all over and all walks of life, who came together to celebrate art, music and life harmoniously and beautifully. By the end of the weekend, the local cops were partying with the attendees on the dance floor and holding “Give Thanks” signs for photos at the top of the pirate ship stage… mind blowing stuff and a wonderful way to break new ground for the festival community. It is an absolute honor to be involved with such an inspiring group of people at Foreverland!

We have been slowly winding down over the past month as we clean up and pack away the festival gear, get back into a regular spin jam schedule, and make the most of the autumn abundance here in Mendocino.

I started canning with a friend in Comptche recently, and have been spending afternoons and long nights out there making jam, picking grapes and apples, sharing homegrown food, trying new jelly recipes, and even making salsa and pickles. I’m keeping up with the fermented foods swap group and just started taking belly dance classes again.

James and I have had plenty to practice after PacFire, and hosting regular spin jams and fire practice sessions. James made a Facebook page for his fire and DJ performance and got fire performer insurance. He’s been practicing with his new fire staff and recently got hired for his first professional gig as an insured performer at a birthday party last weekend. I am following suit with insurance soon and we will both be performing on Halloween at a local street party event. Super excited to be leveling up our involvement in flow arts and performing, and I am so proud of my amazingly talented man for taking big steps towards making a living from spinning fire. Wow.

Lots of good things to come as the rains return and our social schedule slows down. I have been enjoying the time at home to work, save money, make delicious food, and go out and about locally. Hibernation  & work made: engaged!

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